Gone are the days when social media’s primary purpose was to post selfies or adorable pet photos for likes. Social media is now a leading platform for companies to tell their story. It’s used to highlight products and services, push sales offerings, celebrate company achievements, and to keep customers engaged. Businesses can creatively interact with audiences across several channels including LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and, for the younger generation, TikTok. Each one has its own list of benefits. Understanding what they are and how to use them properly will help your company shine on social media.
Stats To Consider
According to Sprout Social, in 2021, 4.48 billion people were using social media. Entrepreneur.com reports that 97% of Fortune 500 Companies rely on social media for marketing and more than 50 million small businesses are using Facebook Pages to connect with customers. Ninety percent of marketers report that social media efforts have increased their company’s visibility, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic to their website. While those numbers are inspiring, if you aren’t doing it correctly, you are wasting efforts and missing opportunities. Take advantage of analytics to gauge (quickly) what is working and what isn’t. The most important thing to consider is to effectively drive engagement. We will tackle this later in the blog.
Build Brand Authenticity
For starters, social media allows you to humanize your brand, provide a personalized experience, build trust, and connect with your audience. In our world, a fitting is a fitting, and a valve is a valve no matter how you position it. Prior to social media, companies couldn’t share their “behind the scenes” moments, but today an Instagram reel or a story on Facebook does just that. A quick tour of your office, executive interviews, product demonstrations, company achievements, work anniversaries and video testimonials are examples of what can be shared to better connect with your audience. Sharing your corporate culture engages your customers as well as your employees and can attract new candidates looking at your company for their next career move.
Expand Your Reach
Someone is always online, so your window to market 9-5 now becomes 24/7. With email leaving a sour taste in people’s mouths, companies have been scaling back on how many they send. Social media is a great way to reach people on their terms, so you don’t annoy them, or have them opt out.
Social media engages in a completely different way, allowing you to experiment with messaging, photos, videos, content, polls, and contests. When going through a rebrand, or launching new products/services, these are helpful tools to have in your marketing arsenal.
“After shooting videos and creating posts on our recent rebranding efforts, we saw more activity on our social channels and positive interaction with our followers,” says Director of Marketing, Amy Zucchi. “Our best posts are not always new product releases. They are often team photos, office highlights, and staff updates. People love seeing the faces behind the brand.” Brochures, emails, and press releases will always be a staple in your marketing mix, but social media brings those pages to life in real-time and provides a means for direct interaction.
Improve Your Customer Service
Many people don’t have the time to pick up the phone and navigate through systems to find the person they need to speak with. Social media allows customers to reach out to you without needing to make a phone call. With direct messaging and chat features, businesses can address issues and provide solutions quickly. Customers can share feedback, post reviews, and share information. In fact, 78% of consumers are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social media, cites Sprout Social.
How To Get Noticed
Social media sites constantly change their algorithms, so it’s important to remain up to date on each platform. An algorithm is designed to deliver relevant content to users. Posts can be filtered out if they are deemed low quality in general, or to a specific user. You likely don’t think your posts are low quality, but unfortunately, you have no say….you can only improve the process. So how can you make sure your company’s social posts are being seen? Educate your employees and customers on the importance of commenting, sharing, and tagging. Liking is a nice, easy gesture, but it won’t move the needle on your post unless you hit incredibly high numbers. Sending an email to staff may not be enough. Educate your teams through a webinar or in-person seminar. Show them examples of how to comment and how to share content on social media. Do you have customers that have a lot of followers? Great, ask them to share your products to their pages or better yet, get them to interact with your products and share comments and photos or videos. Offer incentives for customers to post on your behalf—in time, they will see it’s a win-win strategy. Tagging is when someone else posts and tags your company in their post; this is another great way to improve your visibility.
Some Best Practices
Your company has likely embraced social media on some level, which is a start. However, like the rest of your marketing plan, your social media requires a strategy as well as a dedicated (experienced) resource. Some things to consider:
- Create a content calendar and stick to it
- Tie it into anything you are doing with ads, blogs, news
- Do a blend of tips, links to blogs, videos, new products, etc.
- Always use hashtags (and track which ones get used the most)
- Track when people are mentioning your company
- Always respond to questions and inquiries in a timely manor
- Create a supply of post images and artwork to have at-hand
- Make sure your grammar is correct and posts do not have errors
- Don’t over post, or under post
- Ask your employees to share, comment and like
- Ask your customers to share, comment and like
- Don’t be afraid to have fun with your posts
In the coming weeks, you may hear from us to discuss how we can work together to help each other’s social media strategy. We look forward to continuing to push our industry forward with digital marketing and other online marketing tactics.