In 2016, your company and employees ought to be using social media tools consistently to communicate with your existing clients, and get involved in online conversations with the wider world. Why? Because your business’s fortunes – and your employees’ livelihoods – depend on it.
More than 2 billion people use social media tools on a daily basis. Nowadays, even a small, independent startup is locked in intense competition with enterprises of all sizes worldwide. After all, the Internet knows no regional or national boundaries. Ergo, all businesses are international businesses, and the ones that are using social media effectively, have a competitive edge over those that are not.
Furthermore, companies that use social media tools regularly and smartly can generate more sales or potential sales. An integral part of the sales process involves developing relationships, and some social channels can help you and your sales team cultivate new leads or prospects, and find out what people are saying about your brand as well as your competition.
Why Your Business Needs to Embrace Social Media
There are five valuable points to consider as you transition your business to become a social business:
- Facebook at Work. Not only is Facebook the English-speaking world’s most popular social platform, but it’s also continuing to grow at a healthy clip. Facebook at Work is the platform’s soon-to-be-released tool that will allow companies to create internal social networks among employees. That pits Facebook against the likes of Slack, Socialcast, Yammer and countless others eager to lead the enterprise social space. Will this be the so-called “killer app” that rings the death knell for our reliance on email? Time will tell. In any event, it’s likely to induce Facebook holdouts on your team to become more familiar with the network, and over time, turn them on to engaging with the world outside the office walls in a responsible manner.
- Transform your employees into brand ambassadors. When it comes to promoting your business organically, there are no greater influencers in the world than the people who work with and for you. You may already have a social media team or coordinator and a public relations professional doing much of the heavy lifting, but garnering good online or public relations should be every employees’ responsibility.
- Social media drives analytics. Each social network provides analytics tools, and the data these provide can be weighed alongside your website’s performance that’s tracked by Google Analytics. Plus, you can plug your social channels into Google Analytics for additional insights. It’s not a secret that smart business decisions are based on quantifiable data. Social data can help you identify new potential clients, provide insight into the content you’re sharing, and if/how it resonates with your intended audience.
- Understand the role of social pay-per-click. Advertising via social media isn’t taboo provided you’re doing it properly. Regarding social pay-per-click (PPC), it’s simply a matter of advertising on a social network be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other platform. Different social networks provide different click-thru percentages depending on the nature of the ad, and the audience you’re targeting (e.g. if you’re selling to teenagers, don’t advertise on LinkedIn). Social PPC is unique from search engine PPC in that social PPC is tailored directly to users based on their interests, not solely on what they have searched for. It’s estimated social ad spending will grow in 2016 to US$24.2 billion, up from $19.8 billion in 2015.
- Social-based video is exploding. In 2015, Facebook doubled its daily video views to approximately 8 billion, surpassing the hits YouTube got. Other social networks from Twitter to Snapchat have also rolled out video-sharing features. Clearly, the future of social and digital marketing is branded video content, and its influence will continue to grow year-over-year. While many companies balk at paying for professional video production, there are more cost-effective alternatives cropping up all the time.
“All businesses are international businesses, and the ones that are using social media effectively, have a competitive edge over those that are not.”
Never Forget Your Audience
What’s critical to remember when using any social channel is your audience – both your existing clients and the general public. Here’s a simple rule of thumb for using social media: be helpful, be genuine, and create value. In other words, transform your company’s marketing messages by focusing more on being human to connect effectively with others intellectually or emotionally.
Personalize your social posts to create genuine, long-lasting relationships or connections with existing and prospective clients. Understand the way your audience wants to be spoken to, and the topics they care most about. Moreover, use different content and different tones of conversation for each social platform that you’re sharing content on.
The tsunami of random or relentless marketing messages that people are swamped by on a daily basis simply encourages people to tune out. If you’re producing engaging content that is truly helpful and adds value to other people’s lives in some way, then they won’t dismiss your content as an annoying interruption. Your social content should always be educational or entertaining. We recommend spending one-third of your time on social channels doing promotions, one-third providing value-added content, and one-third engaging with others. Most importantly, as part of your overall digital ecosystem, your social content needs to mesh with your company’s website messaging, and help to support overall business growth.
We’ve got the people, the expertise, and the technologies to help you achieve your strategic goals using social media.