There is no denying that social media impact has taken over the business world. From the busy streets of London to the farm fields of Iowa, to the low-income neighborhoods of New Delhi, it seems everyone has access to a phone with one or more social media apps to stay in touch.
The same is true in the business world.
Social Media Marketing in the Internet Era
The goals of any business have been and always will be: to generate leads, define a niche and develop customer relationships. But the method used to reach these goals has changed.
Today businesses are run in real time. A small business owner can quite literally run their marketing campaigns from their smartphone. If your business does not have a strong online presence, you are dead in the water. You cannot compete with your competitors.
If you hope to reach new and existing customers, social media is the way to do it. And the numbers don’t’ lie – statistics show that social media continues to change the way we do business. 22 percent of time spent online overall is on either Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. And Instagram is fast gaining traction.
Roughly two-thirds of people using the Internet on a regular basis, use these social networks as consumers to share and obtain information on products and services. What started out as a niche resource is now considered the most powerful marketing tool a business can have.
Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram in their infancy started out as social networking sites for connecting with people. Over time they have slowly morphed into powerful transformational business tools, as well. This allows brands to connect with customers in new and exciting ways.
Pointers on Social Media Business Marketing
Each social media outlet has a different outcome in your business marketing. Let’s say you sell nail polish. The clear social media lead you should focus on in your niche should be Pinterest.
Because that is where your target market hangs out the most. They are most likely to purchase your nail polish products being sold on your product through clear picture-displays, linked to your business website!
Do your research to sort out which of the social media you should focus the most on.
Remember, the goal of your social media marketing is ultimately the conversions to sales! Decide the purpose of each social media posting before you post.
Do you want your followers to find your website to create brand awareness? Does the post lead to a landing page? Is your post a direct ad-type post for direct ordering?
Finally, don’t forget to put some person to person conversational material postings out. It shows your followers that your social media presence is not all about “pushing your brand” on them. Rather, it shows the human side of you. they are actually following a social person who also communicates with them at a personal level!
Social Media is a Real-Time Customer Service Opportunity
When a consumer has a bad experience with a company, many will often turn to social media to vent their frustrations. The business has the novel opportunity to engage with them via the platform to try and make things right. This also creates a level of transparency never before seen in a business-to-consumer relationship.
A Lower Marketing Budget
Creating a social media account and posting content is completely free. We all know, however, that costs can rise dramatically for a business who wants to get more eyes in front of that content. But the total social media marketing costs for the average business are still lower than traditional marketing strategies.
Businesses can post and share content directly with potential customers without having to pay a dime, although the growth rate is slower when you go at it for free. The only hurdle is getting this content in front of enough eyes to make a difference in their bottom line.
But does the free approach still provide you with a social media business impact if done right? Yes, absolutely, I am a living proof of that!
That’s where total engagement and hashtags (#) really come in handy. In order to thrive on social media, it’s important to keep up with new trends and continuing developments to stay ahead of the curve.
Social Media Follower Counts
Everyone is grappling with the almighty follower count. That is the number of followers a social media account has. This can produce sizeable returns, both in customer engagement and revenue.
But things are changing fast. Social media’s ROI (return on investment) is proving harder to crack. This is where engagement and a slight learning curve in the ins and out of social media manipulation are key.
Follower counts alone, however, is NOT necessary an indication of success. You can BUY followers on social media just to appear successful.
BAD idea! Not only can your account be suspended if you are caught doing so, but your “followers” are worthless! Most of such “followers” are “bots”, computer-generated fake followers. Another side to purchasing followers is that they don’t represent your target market.
Instead, build your followers one by one, no matter how slow! Many of those who voluntarily do follow you are genuinely interested in your service or product, and what you have to say in social media. They, in turn, can turn into conversions (buyers).
Sample snapshot of social media feeds
Here is a sample snapshot of how I have built followers, one by one, from the target market of my other site captainjetson.com Captain Jetson Aviation & Travel Site (captainjetson.com). The social media snapshot marks my one year anniversary since launching the site.
I have just reached an online “Influencer level” as an expert in the dual niches of aviation and travel. Of course, after 32 years as an airline captain for a major airline, I would say I know a thing or two about aviation, airlines, jets, airline passenger rights, fares, and travel in general.
This expertise is now been communicated in the form of online news, advice, and tips, helping to fulfill the many different needs of the traveling public, as well as other professionals in the field of aviation. p.s. the 500 followers on LinkedIn: this is as high as the online summary feed reaches from Linkedin, although the actual followers are now into a couple of thousands.
How do you make money off such a site, considered a “Blog Site”?
The secret lies in a combination of many different sources, all coming together over time. Key items include heavy quality content frequently published, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media brand awareness, affiliate product & service sales, Google Adsense pay per click income, and much more.
By the way, do you notice how Facebook is absent from this snapshot?
That’s because Facebook did not prove effective in the marketing of my niche for this website. Facebook did not provide a social media business impact in my favor for this business. Thus, in order to prioritize my time my Media Manager and I both came to the conclusion that Facebook was not worth the time, which could better be spent elsewhere in the marketing of captainjetson.com.
More on Facebook suitability as a social media business platform next.
Facebook & Instagram
To analyze this let’s quickly look at two social media platforms as examples.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced a change in Facebook’s news feed, that was a big deal for businesses trying to get their posts in front of the right eyes. Zuckerberg’s idea was to have more content from friends and family show up in a person’s feed and less content from businesses and media.
And for Facebook in particular, if a business is not spending money on ad costs, you may not be seen at all, even if that business posts frequently.
Their algorithm has also changed to benefit the user experience, with a user’s feed concentrating more towards content the user already engages with. This means mostly friends and family, and not brands.
And businesses are giving Instagram some push back on this, saying it’s crippling to their business.
Best Social Media Solutions for Best Business Impact
So, what is a business owner to do? Team up with an influencer! Not only do user’s follow people they know personally, but personalities who have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, called ‘influencers’ are pros at getting attention and creating engagement with the users.
These influencers are teaming up with brands to help hock their wares. And this approach seems to be working for their bottom line.
But, the backside of this is that “teaming up with an influencer” is easier said than done. First, the influencer may perceive you as a competitor or a future business threat. Or, the influencer realizes there is nothing to be gained by associating with you, a minor, insignificant operator.
While you would have everything to gain from such a relationship the influencer is just wasting his or her time by associating with you (in their minds).
Many powerful people, or influencers, associate only with other powerful people, or influencers. They operate that way because it’s mutually beneficial to each party.
Social Media Managers
With this need for social media engagement, comes the almighty social media manager as a career that’s in high demand. This really is a full-time job, with big business and small business owners alike needing to hire professionals to do the job for them.
With the level of transparency and engagement with followers involved in social media management, this person also needs to be good at communication, interacting with people, hitting your target market, and customer service.
The social media manager represents you and your brand, so make sure you team up only with the best!
The social media business impact is substantial in today’s business world
While Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook are the big players, the good old fashion method of word-of-mouth is still an excellent way to drum up a new business.
Nevertheless, businesses who choose to ignore the advances of social media as a marketing tool run the risk of falling into obscurity. It is up to small businesses, in particular, to adapt their marketing strategy through social media.
And as a result, build more meaningful relationships with their customers. This, in turn, can lead to long-term growth and relationships, sales, and securing your good name as a business in constant demand.
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