One of the greatest tools a business can employ is social media . The impact of social media for your business can be deep and wide. Social media has had exponential growth over the past decade. Individuals, businesses, governments, even animals all have their own social media outlets. Social media has been able to connect the world in a way never thought possible. Social media, amongst all its different outlets, has the power to share information, pictures, videos and even generate interest, loyalty and sales. In this day and age a business would be remiss if they were to fail to utilize social media as a digital marketing tool in this, the golden age of social media.
You’re probably asking yourself what exactly is the role of social media in digital marketing?
Social media dominates the social lives of Gen-Y, Millennials, and Gen-Z. Social interactions happen online more frequently and are arguably more important than those in the real world to these individuals. It is evident that the online world and social media is the best way to reach a massive group of individuals.
Define Social Media
Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. This means; social media are digital platforms where information can be shared with unlimited communities and other networks.
Marketing as defined by the American Marketing Association, is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Taken for the digital age, all of these activities are employed across digital channels, including social media outlets.
Social media in digital marketing is used as a tool to reach a wide number of individuals. Businesses can harness the use of social media in order to specifically reach their target audience and meet them on the platforms they are familiar with and use the most frequently.
Forms of Social Media
In general people are mainly aware of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram as social channels, but there are many other websites and types of social media outlets that can benefit a business. Social media can help build up loyalty of your current customers to the point that they will freely tell others about you and market for you. As of 2018 over 88% of medium and large sized North American companies are now marketing on Social Media. This illustrates how massive the impact of social media can be. So, what are your options for social media outlets?
Different Types of Social Media Networks:
Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
These typical types of Social Media are used to associate with people (and even brands) online. They help your business through branding, social awareness, relationship building, customer service, lead generation, and conversions. You can differentiate types of social media campaigns on these networks in order to help you widen your reach. Social networks encourage people and businesses to interact online and share information and thoughts as a form of relationship management between provider and consumer.
Media Sharing Networks: Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube
Media sharing forms of Social Media are used to find and share photographs, live video, and other kinds of media on the internet. They also help in brand building, lead generation, lead nurturing, and targeting. These networks give individuals and brands a place to discover and share media so that specific audiences can be targeted and converted into followers and sales.
Blogging & Publishing Networks: WordPress, Tumblr, Medium
These are very common types of websites often not considered a form of social media. They should however be considered social media, even when built into a business’s website. This is where Social Media Optimization and Search Engine Optimization blend together. In a blog keywords should be used in order to have your blog posts rank well in search engine results pages. Frequently called content marketing, this is one of the best ways to target, attract, engage and convert a target audience.
Bookmarking & Content Curation Networks: Pinterest, Flipboard
These types of social media are very helpful in generating brand awareness for your business and can help you generate website traffic and customer engagement. If you were to choose a form of media or a type of creative campaign, this type of social media network will attract and inform your audience. In order to run a Social Media campaign on Pinterest, you need to have a site that is bookmark-friendly. You should optimize headlines and images for the feeds that bookmarking, and content curation networks use for accessing and sharing your content. Alternatively, Flipboard lets you create your own Flipboard magazine by using most engaging content and then you can showcase that to your audiences.
Interest-Based Networks: Goodreads, Houzz, Last.fm
These networks are for connecting with likeminded people. Businesses can easily find audiences who are interested in knowing more about the kinds of products and services that a business offers. This makes it one of the best networks for engaging with an audience and creating exclusive brand awareness online. Compared to big social networks, using Interest-based networks would help to run a more targeted type of campaign.
Consumer Review Networks: Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor
Using Customer Review networks will help you find out, share and review the different offerings of a business. When a business has positive reviews on these networks, their claims turn more credible because reviews on these networks act as a type of social proof. For running a successful social media marketing campaigns, it is very important for a business to have positive reviews. Additionally, it is very beneficial to have negative reviews that a business addresses or resolves in a public space like a review network as it illustrates the brands awareness of consumer needs and concerns. Customers posting on these Review platforms can be important for the positive and productive outcomes for your business.
Discussion Forums: Reddit, Quora, Digg
Discussion forum types of Social Media channels are used for finding, sharing and discussing information, opinions, and current events. These forums can help businesses by being a resource for doing exceptional market research. Before the introduction of current Social Media players like Facebook, these forums were the places where professionals, experts and enthusiasts used to have different kinds of discussions concerning a variety of fields. These discussion forums have a massive number of users and it ensures unprecedented reach for your business.
How to best utilize social media in digital marketing
So now that we know exactly what forms of social media are out there. We need to figure out how to best use these forms of media. We have compiled a list of the best practices in order to magnify the impact of social media. When you generate a combination of social media and SEO your content becomes easy to find and therefore can reach a very large audience of people.
Social Media Digital Marketing Best Practices
Create Quality Content That Has the Potential to Go Viral
Whether you like it or not, social media is a lot about exhibition and people just showing off. People will notice, react and interact with your content only when it is of high-quality and interesting. Visually appealing and interactive content is more likely to get likes and shares.
Maintain A Consistent Identity
If your site has a certain identity, align your social media profiles to match that. For example, use a branded featured image or banners. Include your logo where it fits, use the same colours and font from your logo in your images.
Keep Keywords in Mind While Optimizing Your Profile & Content for Social Media
Facebook’s search bar can be used to search for people and pages, but it can be used for searching other things as well.
Optimizing your profile and posts, like by placing the relevant keywords in the profile and social media copies, so that your profile appears on the search result is very important. Things like length of the post and use of relevant hashtags are also important.
Be Active on Social Media
Be active in the truest sense of the word. Social media presence doesn’t end with publishing posts. You have to keep track of how people are reacting to them. You also have to respond to their queries and feedback received in the comments and inbox.
Automate Various Activities
Provide Complete Information
Fill up all the fields and provide complete information about yourself/your business. Be it the name, links to the sites, bio, etc. This will build trust as your profile will look more professional. Search engines too are likely to pick up profiles that have all the necessary information.
Keep Social Sharing Options in Your Blog Posts
This will make it easier for people to share them on social media. In fact, these will prompt people to share the posts. For WordPress site, all you need to do is install a social sharing plugin.
Design Your Website Properly
The way your website looks and the ease with which people can navigate through your website can impact people’s behavior and the way they interact with your social media profiles. So, design your website keeping that in mind.
If you want to improve your use of Social Media as a Digital Marketing tool, contact us at WEB ROI. We will take the time to show you your options and find the best possible leads for your company.