What Social Media Marketing Contributes To Your Business
Why should you care about social media marketing benefits?
The easy answer: Because your boss does.
But that’s not the real reason you should care (at least not if you’re passionate about marketing.)
Today, social media is a key element of a well-balanced marketing plan. It requires real, tangible resources, namely employees and budget.
Therefore 2016 social media marketing business benefits are your performance scorecard. They prove your social media marketing is working. They show you contributed to your business’s success.
According to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Marketing Research, the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Benefits are:
- 89% Increased exposure
- 75% Increased traffic
- 68% Developed loyal fans
- 66% Provided marketplace insight
- 66% Generated leads
- 58% Improved search rankings
- 55% Grew business partnerships
- 54% Established thought leadership
- 51% Improved sales
- 50% reduced marketing expenses
What’s surprising about these results (at least to me)?
- Neither the order nor the percentages of these social media marketing benefits changed in the past year.
As social media marketing continues to evolve, I’d expect:
- Increased lead generation. More specifically, these leads should be of better quality and relative quantity.
- Increased sales (or at least more qualified prospects.) Many of these people ultimately purchase although it may not be directly from social media.
- Reduced expenses. These costs may not be directly attributable to social media. But they should decrease the amount of expensive media and advertising used. Your social media marketing should tap into creation of contextually relevant content and extending existing content.
These 3 factors require improved social media marketing metrics and analysis. Systems and tracking may not have evolved enough to measure these elements. This is largely attributable to the fact that most social media impact is neither the first or last piece of marketing touched.
2016 Social media marketing benefits
2016 Social media marketing benefits follow into 3 major categories: reach, influence and conversions.
1. Reach encompassing exposure, traffic and search rankings
Employing social media to increase marketing reach is a no brainer. At its core, it’s a page straight out of the Mad Man playbook. Get your marketing message distributed to a broader audience via media.
Like the traditional approach to advertising, brand impressions matter. They help persuade prospects and influencers over time across platforms.
- Don’t wear out your welcome with your target audience or they’ll tune you out!
Specifically, Rand Fishkin noted that Moz’s average prospect receives about 7.5 impressions before registering for a free trial. (Note: Although Fishkin wrote this about content marketing, it applies to social media. On social media, you’re less able to track each impression’s influence.)
Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:
- Diversify your social media reach. Use a variety of different social media platforms.
- Extend your social media distribution. Plan your social media sharing for more than the first day or first week. Batch shares and schedule them at the same time to improve efficiency.
- Integrate your various types of marketing to maximize synergies. Reduce marketing costs by planning your marketing efforts to tailor content across social media platforms. Also, add social media distribution to other types of marketing.
2. Influence including loyal fans, your community and influencers
Social media has empowered a more diverse group of influencers.
You no longer need to just reach your existing customers and prospects.
Include your employees and experts you’ve never met face-to-face.
Trust is key to engaging your community in a way that ultimately leads to purchase.
- Be consistent in your message. Make sure that it’s branded without a logo. Your social media audience must recognize it as yours.
- Don’t use social media to push marketing. Skip the me, me, me. Remember that promotional messages can hurt your ability to expand your social media audience. Even, worse, it can cause them to actively block your message.
Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:
- Develop internal thought leaders. Don’t assume your c-suite managers are the best people to represent your firm. They can be viewed as distant and stodgy. Tap employees your prospects and their purchase influencers trust.
- Invest in your core community. These customers love your company. Give them the attention and love they crave. Make them feel special.
- Determine what makes customers and fans defect. Where possible, repair relationships. (This assumes you know the value of your fans and customers.)
3. Conversion including market insights, lead generation, sales, business partnerships, and expenses
The social media marketing challenge:
- Social Media is often touched before you know a prospect is in market or it isn’t the last piece of marketing touched.
Translation: No way to measure social media contribution to sales in many cases.
Marketing insights help better target your content, offers and product to meet your prospects’ needs. This should yield a better, more personalized customer experience prospects expect.
Business partnerships contribute to your bottom line. They leverage other people’s audiences to increase your reach, to expand your product offering and/or improve your sales conversion.
Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:
- Create contextually relevant offers, calls-to-action and landing pages. Don’t expect visitors to buy after just 1 or 2 impressions. Ideally create related marketing materials at the same time as your content.
- Track social media interactions where appropriate. If possible, build the ability to measure social media contribution to sales.
- Be prepared to continue marketing prospects off of social media. Social media should be a step in a process.
- Use social media to engage with prospects and customers along their journey. Provide helpful how-tos and styling videos and content. Remember customers may return to social media to improve their use of your products.
- Measure social media contribution to other marketing projects. If you’re using social media to extend reach, supplement advertising, engage with prospects, or distribute content, track its use. Otherwise, you’re understating your social media effectiveness. This can cause you to loose valuable marketing budget.
The bottom line on social media marketing benefits:
Social media works!
Social media marketing contributes to your business success.
Social media supports every element of your marketing plan.
Social media increases your reach, your influence and your conversions.
Businesses continue to use social media as a key part of their overall marketing.
Because social media marketing delivers results.
Figure out how to maximize your social media marketing to increase your business success.
It’s not just about your marketing.
It’s about improving your overall business efficiency and success.
Join Heidi Cohen and fellow marketers at the mega-conference designed to inspire and empower you—Social Media Marketing World 2017, brought to you by Social Media Examiner.
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The event takes place March 22-24, 2017, in San Diego. Actionable Marketing readers get an early registration discount.
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