The Value of Social Media
It can be challenging to clearly define the value of social media, but one thing is certain. When used properly, social media can easily the most powerful marketing tool you have available. That’s because, as Moz mentions, websites like Facebook have the ability to move people “along a spectrum from simply ‘liking’ you all the way to being willing to defend you and your brand.” Specifically, social media is valuable for three important reasons:
- Humanizes your brand. The problem a lot of brands have – especially online-based or ecommerce – is not being able to connect with customers on an emotional level. Social media allows you to humanize your brand and meet your target market where they are. This is very important and can transform your brand from a stale, corporate name to a living, breathing entity.
- Drives traffic. When maximized, social media sites are excellent at generating leads and driving traffic to external landing pages or websites. While it’s a very organic method of traffic acquisition, it’s usually much more valuable than paid advertising efforts.
- Provides relevant insights. Savvy brands and marketers also understand that social media is a powerful listening tool. You can use it to find out what people are saying about your brand and use that knowledge to improve processes, communications, or features.
Tips for Using Social Media to Increase Brand Awareness
If you’re interested in humanizing your brand, driving traffic, gathering relevant insight and increasing brand awareness, here are five tips designed to guide you through the process:
- Provide a reason to believe. The problem with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is that you’re a little fish in a big pond. Users have millions of companies, brands, and pages they can follow. What’s going to make them engage with you? You have to give people a reason to engage with you, and a great way to do this is to host a giveaway or contest, or offer coupon codes and discounts. According to this blog post from PensXpress, “Promotion is the most important aspect of all the businesses. It is only through promotion you can make your product and services popular among the audiences. To boost the sales of the business it is necessary to promote the product and services in the right way.” Whatever you decide, make sure you’re adding value and providing a reason to believe in your brand.
- Narrow the focus. Unless you have unlimited resources and manpower, you’re not going to be capable of effectively targeting all social networking platforms. Even building a presence on each of the major sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube is too much for most organizations. The best piece of advice is to narrow your focus and start with only two or three (likely Facebook and Twitter, or LinkedIn if you’re a B2B brand). You can then expand your reach over time as you begin to master each platform.
- Balance content. Many successful brands follow some variation of the popular 70/20/10 social media posting rule. This rule of thumb simply states that only a portion of the content you post should be outwardly promotional, while a healthy percentage should come from other relevant sources. This keeps you from appearing biased and positions your brand as a reliable resource for industry information.
- Directly engage with users. You shouldn’t talk at your social media followers, but instead directly engage with them. This means having actual conversations, asking questions, answering theirs, and addressing concerns. This is one of the best ways to humanize your brand and makes you “reachable” in consumers’ eyes.
- Tap into paid advertising. Finally, once you’ve built a solid social media presence, you may want to look into various paid social advertising options. Facebook’s advertising solutions are by far the best and allow you to hone in on particular target markets and drive more traffic to your pages.
Don’t Miss Out on Social Media
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on social media’s potential to help increase your brand awareness and grow your business. While the practical application of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more may differ from brand to brand, the overall value remains the same. Work with your team to develop a strategy that works for you and relentlessly pursue it throughout the year.