The Importance of Social Media Marketing
The Importance of Social Media Marketing and Advertising for Web Traffic
The Importance of Social Media Marketing
1. Social media posts drive targeted traffic.
Whatever your industry, segment and audience, a substantial portion of your customers and leads are on social. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 68% of American adults are Facebook users. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 78% use Instagram and 45% are on Twitter. Even among Americans 65 and older, 37% are social media users.
Having access to all those customers helps you boost traffic, particularly for new site content. When you post a new blog or update your homepage, it can take a while to get traction with Google. That means very few customers will know the new content is there until the next time they’re searching for your product or service.
Social media posts provide an opportunity for the public to find your new web content and click through to your site.
And because those posts will primarily show up in the feeds of followers and people interested in your product, that traffic is typically very targeted. It won’t just boost your traffic numbers — it will bring in the type of visitors you want to attract.
The traffic benefits of social media marketing can be dramatic. We’ve seen a single link on Reddit drive over 20,000 visitors in one weekend, and StumbleUpon links (R.I.P.) increase daily page views from single digits to hundreds. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that?
2. Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO.
Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. Although your killer content strategy is the most important factor in your search rankings, driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster.
A lot of times, this can be as simple as re-sharing evergreen content (of course, in addition to sharing your new content when it goes live). We recommend each post be re-shared once a month — a task that doesn’t have to be as time-intensive as you might think. With Facebook’s scheduling tool or Hootsuite (for Twitter), you can set the entire month all at once and you’re done.
3. Social media can increase your reach via quoted experts.
This is one of our very favorite benefits of social media marketing. Let’s say you used HARO to find relevant experts for your latest blog post. Perhaps you quoted someone with a killer social media presence. Of course, you’re going to email them a link to the post when it goes live and encourage them to share it, but leveraging your own social media channels will help you go the extra mile here.
In your tweet and Facebook post sharing your new content, be sure to tag the experts you quoted so they see it pop up in their notifications.
Doing so makes it far more likely your source will share or retweet the link to their thousands (or tens of thousands) of followers, which drives traffic back to your website. It’s a win-win all around.
4. Social media marketing helps you understand your audience.
Part of what makes social channels like Twitter and Instagram effective marketing tools is the interaction you have with your customer base. By reading their tweets and status updates, you’ll gain insights into their daily lives and consumer behaviors, and answer questions such as:
What products are they buying and why?
What hobbies do they have?
What kinds of posts do they love to share?
What websites do they visit?
These insights have obvious marketing benefits. When you understand your customers, you can write better content and more compelling posts, which leads to more traffic. But the benefits can sometimes go far beyond marketing, helping you identify customer pain points, improve sales conversions and even refine your product strategy.
5. An active social media presence builds relationships with your audience.
Consumers see Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as social networks, not marketing machines.
That can be a challenge when you’re first developing your social media marketing strategy. A lot of companies instinctively take a hard sell approach, inundating their followers with discount offer codes, new product announcements and customer reviews. Then, when the account only brings in modest traffic gains, they assume social just isn’t a good fit for their brand.
But customers don’t want to be pitched to — they want authentic engagement.
When you stop seeing social as a way to pitch your customers and start seeing it as a way to connect with them, it can transform your brand. You help customers by answering their questions, entertaining and informing them with relevant content and even forming bonds over shared interests.
"In #SMM, remember that customers don’t want to be pitched to — they want authentic engagement." - The Content Factory
You’ll build connections with industry leaders and influencers, providing great stories for reporters, top notch products for promoters and interesting topics for experts to share with their followers. Over time, you’ll become more than a brand — you’ll become a part of a community.
And that comes with serious ROI. If you're following social media marketing best practices, you'll get a ton of exposure. That exposure brings in new leads. Over time, those leads become followers, followers become customers and customers become dedicated brand promoters, continuing the cycle.
6. Social media ads allow targeting and retargeting.
Why advertise on social media?
Because social media platforms offer highly targeted ads, which can be customized around your customers’ needs. Facebook ads, for example, can target customers by factors like age, location, education level, industry and even user behavior — e.g. the pages a user has liked. Using an ads management tool like HubSpot will give you even more insights into your ad campaigns. Connecting your ads to a CRM will allow you to see exactly which ads are turning prospects into customers.
Pro Tip: Install a Facebook pixel on your website to track how your ads affect customer behavior and retarget your ads accordingly. Over time, Facebook will learn which users are more likely to click your link or buy a product, delivering your ads to the people most likely to convert into solid leads and sales.
7. Social media can help you get noticed at events and earn media coverage.
Whatever metric you use to measure the success of an event, will always demand effective promotion. And that promotion always benefits from an active social media presence.
Measuring signups for a new expert webinar series? Facebook and LinkedIn will help spread the word.
Working to maximize donations at a charity fundraiser? Good social targeting will help you reach the big donors.
Attending a trade show to collect high-quality leads? A mature social media strategy will enable you to leverage influencers to amplify your message and bring attendees to your booth.
8. Social media is key to customer service
Quick customer response time isn’t optional anymore. If there’s a problem with your product or service, your customers expect you to solve it right away.
Few companies are meeting those expectations.
A Sprout Social study found that customers want responses to social media companies within four hours, yet the average response time is 10 hours.
"A @SproutSocial study found that customers want #socialmedia responses within 4 hours, but average response time is 10 hours. #SMM" - The Content Factory
This isn’t just a minor irritation for your customers — it directly affects your profits. A Twitter study showed that customers are willing to pay almost $20 more for future tickets when airlines respond to their tweets within 6 minutes.
And that isn’t just an isolated data point, either. Study after study has shown that consumers reward companies that respond to customer requests and complaints. A strong and engaged social media marketing presence will help you keep customers happy, and keep your public image positive.
9. A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty.
A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers.
It’s easy to understand why: when you’re engaging the public on social media, you’re building connection and rapport. You’re taking the time to provide your followers with useful information, help and entertainment, without asking for anything in return.
That shows customers you value them, not just as a source of revenue, but as people. Customers will begin to see you as an entity that cares about them, and has values, personality and vision. And in a competitive market, that can make a huge difference.
10. Social media is the perfect addition to your PR strategy.
Press releases are an important part of any marketing strategy, especially when you’re launching a new product or making a huge change in your company, but most people get the distribution part terribly wrong. If what you’re accustomed to is writing a press release and sending it out on PRWeb, you’re wasting your money.
Traditional press release distribution services are incredibly overrated.
Social media, on the other hand, provides you with a space where you can reach your target audience in a more personal, conversational way. And if your customers have questions, they can ask you right then and there.
11. Your competition is already social.
The crowded world of social media branding can feel very intimidating. Most brands have at least a token social media presence, and in some industries, multiple channels is the norm. For example, 91% of retail brands are using at least two social media platforms. So, what hope do you have of getting your brand noticed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?
It’s a lot easier than you think, because most brands aren’t doing it right.
Bigger brands may have sophisticated social media presences, but SMEs rarely do.
They start a few social media channels because it’s cheap, and it’s what everyone else does. Without investing in social media strategy, however, they rarely make a big impact. They post irregularly, rarely engage with followers and don’t develop a sophisticated voice. Social media remains essentially just a way for them to throw ads at customers now and then. And when that strategy doesn’t yield results, they put even less effort into it.
The truth is, posting to social media because you think you’re supposed to post will get you nowhere.
You’re better off with one really good social media channel than your competitor is with four semi-abandoned ones. If you take the time to develop your voice and strategy, post regularly and respond to messages and comments promptly, you can build a following your lazy competitors can’t possibly match — even if they’ve been on social for years longer than you have.
12. The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field.
Everyone can start a social media account for free, and most SMEs can dedicate either the time to maintain a social media channel or the budget to outsource social media marketing.
Big brands do have some obvious advantages: better name recognition, bigger budgets that let them put together slick posts across multiple channels, and (in general) more influencers who already want to engage with their brand.
But SMEs have one big built-in social media advantage most big brands don’t: authenticity.
If you’re an entrepreneur with an inspiring story, a local company with ties to your community or an underground brand offering something new and exciting to early adopters, that can resonate with consumers — even if you don’t have a massive ad budget.
Ultimately, you don’t have to beat all your competitors at their own game to win on social media. You just need to find a way to connect with your own market in a way that builds your own brand. If you’ve got a good team and a strong brand voice, backed up by a solid product, that’s something you can do.
13. When it comes to newsjacking, social media is king.
In our media-saturated culture, it’s hard to tell when fate will throw a great opportunity at your brand. Sometimes your brand gets mentioned on a cable TV show or tweeted about by an influencer. Other times, there’s a news story, meme, or pop-culture phenomenon that fits perfectly with your branding.
If you can jump in and engage with the story while everyone is paying attention, it can lead to viral posts, traffic boosts, press coverage and greater visibility for your brand. This strategy, known as newsjacking, works best if you get your voice out there while it’s still breaking news. If you join in too late, you’ll just look like another company trying to ride the trend.
To be one of the first voices out there, you need an active social media team.
Not only will that enable you to track and react quickly to current events, it will also ensure your message gets out, so that reporters, influencers and followers see your take while the story is still hot.
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