Jul 9, 2012

Social Media and your business

written by Anya Amrith

Social media has provided businesses with a new way to reach audiences. It’s new, it’s exciting and it’s here to stay. So how can a business utilise these routes to market and is it really worth it? Let us guide you through social media and your business.

Here are the ways in which social media can benefit your business:

1. Your target audience is more than likely online even if you aren’t

Everybody has an online social presence these days. The channel we each use depends on user preference, for example Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest – the list is always growing!

Bearing this in mind, there’s a very high probability that your target audience are already online. Targeting them via social media can be highly affective if executed correctly, proving to be more affective than traditional offline marketing campaigns.

2. Brand awareness

The more places that your brand is seen, the higher the chance that you’ll be remembered. These day’s we’re bombarded by thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis, so even if you’re logo is seen once that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stay in people’s minds.

Utilising social media channels as a part of an integrated campaign plan can increase the chances of your brand being seen more than once, and remembered by the right people.

3. Targeting your audience

Mass marketing is hit and miss, and a business can end up spending a lot of money trying to target the right people.

Targeting your audience using the relevant social media channels can give a business far more success and is more cost effective, especially if used as part of a planned campaign.

For example, a fashion brand may find that a large percentage of their target audience uses Facebook. As part of their media campaign, they could use Facebook to specifically target 16-21 year old females who live in the UK and encourage them to like their Facebook page. Here, they can promote items that would appeal to this audience to encourage more traffic to the website.

4. Being informational rather than cold turkey

The idea of ‘sell, sell, sell’ can get tiresome for a potential customer who can switch off from constant hassling. The idea of social media marketing is not to push your products and services hard, but to provide regular and relevant content that your audience will benefit from.

For example, if you sell DIY tools your audience will more than likely benefit from DIY tips and advice and ways to improve their skills. Blogging and video’s are a great way to be informational, showing your audience that you have essential knowledge behind your products and services. If done regularly over a period of time, customer’s will begin to trust your brand and therefore trust your products.

5. Build a community

Ultimately, social media allows you to build a community of people who have an interest in your industry. Sharing tips, advice and talking about your products/services is the end result that will help a business to talk directly to their audience and even gain essential feedback from if done correctly.

Let’s take a cake company for instance: They could use Pinterest and Instagram to take pictures of the amazing work that they do, showcasing their work. From here, they could build followers and link to their Facebook page, Twitter profile and website where they can offer recipes, advice and even local classes.

6. Keep ahead of competitors

Ideally, you want to stay ahead of the competition and be an industry leader rather than a follower. Embracing new ways of talking to customers shows that as a company you’re moving with the times. You can use these new channels to try new marketing campaigns that constantly challenge and test the way that your industry communicates with its customer base.

A recent campaign that proved this is the Tipp-Ex YouTube takeover – a great video that enabled the audience to interact and change the outcome of the ending. Not only was YouTube a popular social media channel for students, the campaign also took video to a whole new level. The fun user experience made it a viral success and sales of Tipp-Ex went up by 30%.

See the videos by clicking here:

A hunter shoots a bear

Hunter and bear’s 2012 birthday party

7. Organic SEO

Blogging and including relevant, up-to-date content on your website improves your organic SEO ranking. Including a video on your website also boosts your ranking, and including relevant social media channels on your website (like YouTube) can help you to do this.

8. Credibility and building trust

Having and maintaining a social media presence can increase your business credibility, and regular informational content can help a business to build trust with potential customers. Using your knowledge is the key – showing customers that your company has the experience and industry know how to get them where they need to be.

If your brand is less well known, having a social media presence and blog along with your website can also reassure customers that your brand is the real deal, and attracting followers and fans can help your business to grow in the long run.

9. Friends listen to recommendations from friends

Social media is like word of mouth, only it’s online. If someone tweets or posts about you, you’re far more likely to have more people interested in your brand.

That’s because we trust our friends and family, and when they make a recommendation were more likely to take their advice. How many people have posted on their Facebook and Twitter feeds about a local plumber that they need? We even post pictures of products and services that we’re satisfied with – encouraging these recommendations is a great way to improve your brand awareness.

10. A stand alone website will get lost

Gone are the days when having a website was enough to get your business noticed.

Without neon signs pointing to your site, no one will even know that you exist! Using social media effectively can help increase traffic to your website, and can also be used in conjunction with an offline media campaign.

Integrating social media into marketing campaigns is becoming more and more essential and without jumping on the bandwagon blindly, it’s important to think of a strategic way to target your audience using the relevant channels.

Please share your ideas and comments with us, we’ll keep you updated with more tips and advice!