If you’re having trouble convincing your boss, business partners, clients or even yourself that social media marketing is worthwhile, then read on. Everyone talks about how social media builds brand and product awareness, but what does that mean, and how does it do that? The goal of any business is to create new customers, and the first step is to let them know you exist. The second is to make them your friends, because people buy from people – and brands – they like. That's exactly what social media does.
1. Social media is where your customers are
Except for seven or eight people living in a mud hut in the Amazon, everyone is using social media in one way or another. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and mobile apps and games have all become favorite pastimes across the world. Interacting in that environment puts your brand and product messages in a position to be shared and commented which leads to awareness, interest and sales.
2. Social media levels the playing field
My agency gets inquiries from big brands and small startups alike, because social media has created an even playing field on which brands, business and organizations can now compete. The advantage is still with larger, more established brands, simply because they started with existing fan bases and may have larger budgets for media spends. That just means you may have to be more creative and work harder to reach the same audiences.
3. Social media is already helping your competition
This is also known as “the cold war approach.” Scare them with the knowledge that their most hated archrivals already jumped into social media before they did and are way ahead of them. Convince them they need to get with the program and escalate quickly before it’s too late.
4. Social media is searchable
Consumers are looking for your products and services. How are they looking? Most likely, online search is one of the top ways. Social media can affect organic Google search results as well as be an entry point to your website, microsite or promo page. YouTube is the second largest search engine, meaning videos get ranked high in Google results. photos, graphics, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, and other networks are also searchable.
5. Social media content is shareable
A vital part of social media is creating and sharing content like videos, articles, photos, graphics and social media updates. The only way you can share a print ad is to physically hand it to a friend. The only way to share a TV ad on the TV is to Tivo it and invite your friend over to watch. Who does that? Nobody does that.
6. Social media allows for real-time feedback and interaction
Through the process of creating content, sharing and interacting, you’ll learn what’s important to your consumers. This builds brand and product loyalty as you jump in and discuss new ways of doing things better and measure response along the way. Smart social media marketers know when to stay the course and when to adjust fire. One way of doing this is to be actively engaged.
7. Social media is measurable
Analytics are everywhere and can tell a good part of any social media success story. Since the real bottom line is always going to be sales, social media measurement can help your boss and partners determine which actions and reactions are leading to increased sales and rest assured that you’re moving the graph in the right direction along the way.
8. Social media lives forever and is more cost effective
Videos, photos, LinkedIn updates, tweets, etc. stay online and in Google results for a very long time and typically require an executive order from the President of The United States to be removed. This can be both good and bad, depending on what you’ve done. But unlike TV ads and billboards that are taken down once the rent isn’t paid or print ads that are thrown away or line a birdcage somewhere, social media content stays online, working for you and reducing the overall per-unit spend over time.
9. Social media is one click away from the buy button
If you’re staring at a billboard, watching a TV ad or leafing through a magazine, you can’t just “buy now.” You have to go somewhere else. Properly set up and executed, consumers should never be more than one click away from the opportunity to buy – or at least learn more about – the product or service you are selling.
10. Social media marketing involves selling, not just playing around
Far too many “social media experts” are wasting clients’ time and money playing around with social media. Make it clear to your boss or partners that social media is a way of selling more products and services, not just interacting for the fun of it. Marketing is comprised of sales and PR, and social media marketing is no different. Social media initiatives and daily interaction should revolve around clear objectives and calls to action to create an environment in which consumers can easily purchase.
Armed with these talking points you can convince anyone of the value of social media. If you need backup, give me a shout.