It’s no secret that social media is hot. It is the tool du jour for any business professional eager to expand their reach.With over ninety-seven percent of all consumers researching a business or brand online, it is easy to see why everyone from a national car dealership to the local bakery is using social media to connect with consumers.And it is statistics like those that make ‘getting social’ almost impossible to avoid as a business owner. or entrepreneur.So what's holding you back from diving in?If you still don't feel social media is right for your business, take a look at these numbers. They might sway your thinking.
- Seventy-two percent of adult Internet users in the United States are now active on at least one social network. That is up from sixty-seven percent in 2012 and just eight percent in 2005.
- Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of a trade show, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC. Double!
- Ninety-three percent of online research begins with a search engine.
- Sixty-eight percent of consumers say they check out a company or brand on social media before buying.
- Sixty percent of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad, and forty-three percent of United States marketers have obtained at least one new customer through LinkedIn.
- Fifty percent of consumers on Facebook and Twitter are not only ready to recommend but more likely to buy from businesses and brands they are actively following.
Those statistics certainly tell one heck of a story, don't they?Whether you run a large company or you own a one-man shop, social media is your online connection to consumers and potential clients.
How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business
1. Build Your List
Building an email or subscriber list should be a key objective in your social media marketing goals for 2014. It allows you to stay top-of-mind and expands your reach as those loyal to your brand are likely to share your email.Use your social networks to promote an incentive, giveaway, or contest. A free Ebook with valuable tips you have collected over the years with your target market is a great way to get people to opt in while positioning you as an expert within your field.Let's face it. We all love free stuff, especially eBooks that are easy to download and digest. Just remember, your book does not need to be lengthy, just relevant and content-rich.Try a free service like Mailchimp to create lists, and build newsletters and powerful email announcements that can be tracked and followed within their analytics dashboard.
2. Position Your Brand
Getting social and building your personal brand will begin to establish you as the local expert and a trustworthy resource as consumers increasingly look to the Internet for advice.With a social media referral often taking precedence over any other type of referral, it is imperative that your business be visible, accessible, and readily available.
Herbert Simon, an American economist said that “with every abundance comes a new scarcity.”
With the abundance of social media channels comes the challenge for marketers to cut through the chatter and get their voices heard.The overwhelming number of choices consumers have with the click of a button or a simple search can make this a daunting task but one well worth your time and effort. Images are a perfect way to build brand authority and streamline your look and feel.Use a tool like PicMonkey to turn a stock image into a branded graphic. Which would you rather post across your social media networks?
3. Know Who & Where Your Target Market Is
Knowing where to find your target market means you must identify your niche. Once you know the answer to who your clients are and where they are spending their time, you must identify their needs, wants, and desires.Determining this is your first step to maintaining focus and keeping your message targeted and effective.Fight the feeling that you must be everything to everyone when you first begin. Start small and then grow your market or niche.When it comes to marketing your business online, success comes from a willingness to give valuable information in a consistent and easily accessible manner. Biting off more than you can chew will make for an overwhelming amount of research and a feeling of defeat as you battle to stay on top of all your obligations.Stay consistent with tools that allow you to research and schedule posts in advance. One of my absolute favorite tools is Buffer. Buffer takes the guesswork out of your posting strategy.
4. Be Picky When Choosing Your Social Sites
While it is tempting to every social networking site, realize that you do not need to be on every one initially.Take social media in small, bite-sized chunks and determine where you can get the most exposure based on where your potential customers spend their time. Master that site and then moves on to the next one.Determine:
- Where your target audience is spending their time
- If that particular social site is worth investigating (how many people are involved and is valuable information being shared)
- Why you believe this is the right social site for your business
- How much time you can realistically commit to it on a daily and weekly basis without feeling stretched
5. Know That It’s All Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Just because one social media site is hot today does not mean it will be hot tomorrow.In social media, there will always be the new “shiny toy” looking to steal your attention. If you answer the questions above and determine that a certain social site is a viable option for your business, then stick with it.It takes time to build your business and personal brand online. Relationships do not happen overnight. Stick with it, and your hard work will pay off.
6. Get Organized!
An efficient and effective strategy is an organized one.Many time-saving social media strategies will keep your efforts focused and organized. Effectively building your social media presence is a commitment, so take the time to put systems in place that organize your social media sites and the amount of time you waste in and on them.Use a content calendar to establish your social media marketing strategy for 2014. Not sure how to build one? Here's step-by-step instruction.
I'd love to hear from you. What's your number one social media success strategy?
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.