There’s a distinct difference between having a social media presence and having a social media strategy. While you may be able to build up a strong following on social media just by randomly posting across platforms, a solid social media strategy will help you to capitalise on that following and make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media presence.
As any good digital marketing agency will tell you, it’s no longer enough to just fill your social channels with content and hope your customers follow and engage. You need a fully integrated social marketing strategy that engages your target audience, represents your brand and integrates with your other marketing and sales channels for a seamless customer experience. And here’s why.
- Engage with customers/clients
There are few better ways to engage directly with your clients or customers than through social media. Rather than support lines, chatbots, or enquiry submission forms, social media enables you to engage directly with customers in a less formal way. Because social media is designed for two-way interaction, you can actually get responses, feedback, comments, reviews and even user-generated content from your customers and clients. People also tend to be much more willing to casually interact with brands via social media than they are via phone or email.
Social media is also a great way to build community engagement and strengthen and reward brand loyalty. Part of a good social media strategy will outline how to best engage with your customers. This may include the tone of engagement, methods to encourage followers to engage with you, and how to best monitor and track this engagement.
- Brand authenticity
Social media provides a great opportunity to demonstrate who you are as a company beyond your marketing and branding exercise. It gives you the chance to showcase more than just your products or services. You can highlight behind the scenes work, company culture, causes you’re passionate about and publicly engage with customers, clients and suppliers in a natural and authentic way.
Social media is one of the best ways to put a human face to your brand. About Us pages on your website or a company prospectus or prepared media materials can feel scripted, targeted or otherwise overly prepared. They may be great for putting a professional face on the business, but social media can be used to create a less scripted, more natural and authentic face for your business.
However, projecting authenticity is not without its challenges and requires a well planned strategy to ensure a consistent tone of voice and a projection of your brand that aligns with other marketing activities.
- Social media is valuable for SEO
Having a strong and active social media presence can help your SEO in a number of ways. Firstly, links to social media channels will appear among a brand’s top search results, which means your brand can occupy more top ranking spots in the SERPs and give users more options for engaging with a brand online.
Additionally, social media can (in theory) be used to create useful backlinks. According to Neil Patel, links published on social media could be marked as credible back-links and thus influence a page’s rank.
An often overlooked aspect of social media’s search value is how people use social media platforms themselves as search tools. People use social platforms, especially the highly visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, to search for products and inspiration. Using the right hashtags and categories can help to make your content more visible to users searching for your particular products or services. Understanding how social media is used as a search tool can help you to expand your concept of SEO beyond traditional search engines.
- Increase sales and conversions
Whether you’re using paid social media advertising or organic posting, social media can be a great way to increase sales and conversions. Firstly, social media does a lot to influence purchase decisions. From satisfied customers posting pictures of your products to paid influencer promotions to follower-only special offers to paid social media ads, there are plenty of ways you can use social media to increase sales and conversions.
Which platforms you are using and how you are using them should be an integral part of any social media strategy. Different platforms can perform different roles in the purchase cycle. For instance, Pinterest is often used for people looking for ideas or inspiration. So while they may not be ready to buy, they are often at the research stage and hitting these users early can turn your brand into a front runner for their business. Facebook, on the other hand, is great for sharing promotions and special offers for people who are getting ready to buy. For visual products, Instagram is a great place to showcase your products and drive purchase-ready traffic to your website.
Understanding how to best use each platform to drive sales and conversions is an essential part of any social strategy.
- Gain insights
Analysing your social media audience can provide valuable insights into your customers. It can give you access to audience demographics, purchase habits, customer behaviour and more. Studying your followers can also help you to build out marketing personas, which can help you hone your marketing activities based on real follower insights.
By following specific hashtags related to your product, brand or services you can identify the types of people who are posting about or using your products or services. You can also gather insights about how your brand or products are perceived and what are the motivations for purchasing.
Even if it’s not a primary marketing channel for your business, social media is a versatile and cost-effective way to diversify or complement your existing marketing channels. It can provide valuable customer insights and at the end of the day, if you’re not on social media, you’re losing a competitive advantage.