Social media is an incredibly powerful tool, and the businesses that do not use it to market their company, its products, and its services will get left behind by their competitors that do. The potential for businesses to grow through social media is huge, but like anything, it is not what you do but how you do it. Here are seven ways that your business, regardless of its size or the industry you operate in, can leverage social media to increase its sales and its customer base.
Learn More, Earn More
The key to leveraging social media is to gain a better understanding of it and the advantages it has to offer you and your business. By educating yourself and other members of your term you can harness the power of social media in all its forms and use it to help you develop products, engage with your customer base, and market your services. Developing your skill set and understanding how to use the data the social media sites generate can give you an edge over your competitors.
A Digital Marketing Analytics online short course from the MIT Sloan School of Management, can help you better understand digital marketing analytics, the social media marketplace, and techniques that yield real-world results. Their course uses interactive videos, presentations, assignments, and discussion forums to help you develop your social media marketing skills. This can be a huge advantage to you and your business in the age of the digital revolution.
Optimize Content For Each Platform
Many different platforms are grouped together under the social media umbrella, but each social media site has its own quirks and features. Content should be unique to each platform and optimized to take advantage of its algorithms and how users interact with each individual social media application or website. Trending on Facebook, for example, requires a different style of post and presentation than it takes for content to trend on Instagram even though they are both Meta-owned companies.
It is not just the style of content that needs to be tailored to each platform, timing is important too. When forming digital marketing strategies to be implemented across various social media platforms a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. Long form video content is more successful on Facebook, whereas success on sites like Twitter and Instagram requires shorter videos or images backed with text to trend. To get more from social media you have to curate and customize unique content for each platform.
Work With The Existing Ecosystem
The most powerful players in social media are the influencers. Their role on social media has grown organically within the ecosystems online to make them not just influential to their followers, but also to the businesses looking to make an impact using social media. Endorsements and collaborations with popular influencers can make or break a business. These social media influencers can elevate a small business to the highest heights or bury a product or service that lets them down.
Working with these influencers to market products or increase awareness has consistent and tangible results. Creating connections with influencers and engaging with their audience can not only lead to sales but can also turn their followers into evangelical users of your product or service. They are often eager first adopters who influence their own friends in the physical realm. Engaging with the existing ecosystem of influencers can have a domino effect that ripples through an affluent and eager consumer group.
Promoting products and services online used to be very ‘hit and miss’. Banner ads and pop-ups used to litter websites and it became difficult to assess their effectiveness. Pop-ups, for instance, require engagement from the viewer to close them and give the user access to the page they had been placed on. They could often be interpreted as an inconvenience instead of a useful advertisement. On social media sites, ad placement is very different and engagement is more accurately measured.
This allows you to assess what is working and what is not. Your business’s advertising posts can receive engagement, and become a place where people converse and discuss your product or company. Your social media team can interact with potential and existing customers on these posts and convert inquiries into sales or grow your follower count. This has advantages over traditional advertising, and even traditional online advertising like banner ads, and the potential is huge.
Increasing Value Through Information
When using social media for business it is important to balance promotional posts with informative and engaging content that is useful to the viewer. A business that saturates their social media feeds with promotional posts often struggle to maintain consistent engagement or create new customers with their social media efforts. When a business offers useful information without a promotional hook it gives value to the viewer, building trust and helping your company to be seen as authoritative.
Informative content brings the customer to you organically, rather than using an offer or a promotion to tempt engagement or a sale. Instructional videos, informative reporting on your industry, or reviews of products can all increase your sales without using advertising or promotional content. They also help your business to be seen as an authority in your industry, making it trustworthy in the eyes of the viewer and leading to ‘natural’ sales. Leveraging social media means leveraging different kinds of content.
Meet And Greet Your Consumers
The more you know about your customer base and the better you understand them, the easier it becomes to market your products and services to them. Social media engagement gives you an unparalleled opportunity to get to know your customers, and potential customers, and use this engagement to shape your marketing and your products. It breaks the barriers that exist between you and consumers in traditional media spaces.
Most social media applications offer analytical tools that you can use to assess and evaluate your customers and gain useful insights into their demographics. This data can be used to target marketing efforts to specific groups of people or find niches or gaps in the marketplace to help you develop new products and services. The more you know about your existing and potential consumers, the more consistent your sales numbers will be and the greater your opportunity for growth.
The potential for growth through social media is unprecedented. One viral post, whether a video or picture or meme, can elevate your business and reach millions of people a day. This is a far greater reach than any other form of media has ever offered businesses. A small, local company can go global without having to make a huge media buy or even spend a dime.
By following trends on social media, and having a creative marketing team, your business can become famous for the right reasons without having to invest large sums on airtime or pages in print media. It is a double-edged sword, however. Going viral for the wrong reasons can be detrimental to the reputation of your business and its potential to grow. Managing your social media is more important than ever as it has the power to destroy as well as build.
To grow your business in the digital era, you must utilize these social media tactics to engage with new and existing customers. The businesses that don’t are going to be left behind. Make sure you and your marketing team are taking social media seriously and leveraging it to help your sales numbers grow.