Social media marketing: Will it bring results for my company?
It is clear that social media has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past few years. With more than 800,000,000 active users, Facebook is more than twice as large as the US population!
It has seen a tremendous growth and millions of people now post more business and personal information online than ever before. This is happening at lightning speed, with thousands of tweets, posts and uploads every hour.
Sensis Pty Ltd commissioned recent research from the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association. (May 2011 p. 10). It found that 62% of Australian Internet users visit a variety social media sites. Many of them visit every day, while others only visit a few times per week. With millions of potential customers using these sites every day, it’s not surprising that many businesses have included social media marketing in their marketing plans. It is important to understand how these sites work and what it takes to maintain or resource your business presence. You can leave an online footprint that lasts a lifetime so be aware of how it can impact the perception of your brand. Consider whether social media is the right choice for you business.
1. Understand first – Understanding how social media works and its uses is crucial. What is the social media strategy of businesses and individuals? What gives them success? You may be wondering, “How do I get this done?” You could try it yourself by creating a personal account and then testing the features. Or you could ask a friend to show you their account so you can follow along. You could also search Google for a topic you are interested in and view the videos tutorials.
2. Understanding your purpose – What’s your purpose for using social media? What are you hoping to accomplish for your company by using social media? It is crucial that you clearly identify the purpose of social media participation (or any other marketing activity). It is important to understand why you are participating in social media. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, connect with customers, or find new sales opportunities? Be realistic about your expectations and what you can achieve.
3. Which social media sites are the best for you if you’re going to be active on social media? There are many social media platforms available. Which one is best for your company? Consider where your target audience might socialize online. Then consider how much time and resources you can devote to managing and maintaining your site. Which one is right for you? Some might be better suited than others.
4. Quality Content – Before you decide to use social media for your business, you should carefully consider how much and what quality information you will be sharing online. It will likely stay there for a while so make sure you are providing accurate, reliable and valuable information. It must be pertinent, or people won’t read it.
Engaging in social media is a great way to meet new people.
It’s cost-effective. You can set up many accounts on different social media sites for free.
Huge global audience.
This allows you to get feedback and communicate with customers instantly.
This marketing channel provides your business with additional channels to market your products, brands, or organisations.
Businesses need to understand that social media can present certain obstacles.
Resources You must be willing and able to dedicate the time required to create new content. It is crucial to assess whether you have the resources and time to manage your social media accounts effectively.
You give control of your brand and marketing to your target audience by handing it over You should be ready for both positive as well as negative comments. Even if your company does not have a Facebook page, you should remember that customers can comment on your product or service pages and other public forums.
Measuring ROI – With the introduction of web tracking tools and analytics tools, it was possible to measure the success of specific online advertising campaigns. You might not be able see the results of your social media campaign immediately due to the nature of the medium. Although your social media efforts may allow consumers to ask more questions and engage with your brand, it is unlikely that they will have an immediate effect on sales. There might be a delay.
How is social media being used?
The growth in social networking sites by consumers has been rapid. However, more research on site usage and consumer behavior will allow us to gain insight into the tasks and transactions that people do when they visit social media sites. The top three reasons for using social media sites were, according to the Sensis Social Media Report:
1. To catch up on family and friends.
2. To share photos and videos.
3. To coordinate parties and other activities.
Based on responses from 490 Australian telephone respondents who claimed to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the Sensis Social Media Report, Sensis Pty Ltd (May 2011 p. 18). These survey results show that people still use many of these sites because they are fundamentally useful. I.e. To socially interact with their friends, family, and peers. While I don’t deny that 15% of respondents used social networking sites to learn about brands and businesses, and there are many excellent case studies of social media campaigns that have been launched using Twitter and Facebook, I believe it is important to remember that social media marketing, just like traditional marketing and advertising, must include the essential elements for any campaign to succeed. Remember that online marketing follows many of the same rules as offline.
Research suggests that consumers still look at company websites more often than ‘fan pages’ when making purchasing decisions. Additionally, a company’s website is a more reliable source of information. Only a third of respondents admitted to being influenced by fan pages in their buying decision, while nearly half said they prefer company websites.
Social media seems to be here to stay. The Web 2.0 revolution and the Internet are expected to continue evolving, changing the way we communicate, do business, and interact with each other. It is clear that consumers have more power online to voice their opinions, preferences, and needs. Businesses need to find ways to address these changing customer relationships to capitalize on these markets and opportunities.