Long gone are the days when social media was an optional route to a successful business. In today’s heavily social media-driven world, you can’t browse the internet for more than 30 seconds without seeing an abundance of Facebook or Twitter links. Millions of pounds are invested into social media websites to help build links, brand/company awareness and generate more traffic even though the rewards are often overlooked.
Social network sites have a global reach of 22% (400 million) of the population and the UK itself has over 30 million unique Facebook users. Twitter is also on the rise and in a big way with the number of unique users now standing at 26 million- more than double since last year of 12 million.
So how can you fully utilise this 21st century marketing tool? Here are a few guidelines:
Understand What Social Media Does
Everyone knows what they are, but without full recognition of how social media sites operate and what they do, you cannot expect to gain the most out of them. The first step is to place yourself into the shoes of the consumer; how do they use social media? There are also an array of courses and conferences you can attend to help you better your SM knowledge.
It is most vital to remember that unlike advertising, using SM for SEO is a long-term investment and may not land you immediate results.
Use It Properly
Social media outlets may appear to be less formal but this doesn’t mean it’s less effective or a less important SEO tool.
The most common mistake amongst professionals using SM for business is not having a professional attitude towards it. Many businesses actually harm themselves by reducing their professionalism, lowering their tone and generally putting less effort into their SM outlets.
Before you begin your social media campaigns, draw up a strategy detailing your expectations of what you want to achieve by using the tool. Without a clear route and focus, your SM will be scattered and incoherent, which will only confuse your targeted audience perhaps costing you business.
Give Some Free Advice
Everyone loves something free and freebies can boost brand awareness and encourage returning customers. When you are writing a blog post, tutorial, guide and so on, post a link to it on your social media sites telling your audience about it. Helping your customers by providing free information about common and important issues should in turn lead to an increased SM success rate.
Measure ROI Of Social Media
It may be a mystery to most but there are ways of monitoring your social media investments. Measuring your SM performance can be achieved through using existing web analytics and metrics tracking.
Establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) keeping in mind the following:
- KPIs must explain how SM marketing increases value to your business
- KPIs must work alongside your SM strategy to ensure that the marketing is focused on improving your business
Keep Ahead Of The Game
Make every effort to keep up-to-date with all the new developments on every-changing and improving social media networks. Leading experts of your industry will no doubt be attending seminars and conferences about social media, so consider doing the same if you want SM to have the maximum success possible.
*Figures of social media usage courtesy of ‘We Are Social, January 2012’ survey