How to Use Social Media Marketing to Benefit Your Business
I need to start by admitting to you that this is the second version of this blog post. I rewrote this because it is one of our top posts for organic website traffic thanks to effective search engine optimization (SEO), so really this post could be about the power of SEO.
Chances are that if you’re reading this though, you asked Google what social media can do for your business, not SEO. So without further ado, here are five ways to use social media marketing to grow your business as told through case studies of brands I follow.
To Build Your Brand
Cue Taylor Swift — It’s time to build a reputation.
One of my favorite pieces of marketing advice is to make your brand’s identity so recognizable that someone could read something you wrote or see a photo you posted without your name next to it and know that it came from your company because it looks and sounds like you.
Social media helps you build that kind of brand recognition by giving you a space to consistently share about what makes your business unique. Every action a company takes on social media — every photo it posts, story it shares, account it follows and interaction it has — is an opportunity to build brand affinity.
MailChimp does this beautifully. I could scroll through any of my social feeds and land on a post from MailChimp with its name blocked out and know exactly who it came from because of how distinct its illustration design, style and voice are.
To Engage with Your Audience Directly
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…brands needed brick-and-mortar stores to connect with customers directly. Gathering information about what an audience liked or didn’t like was a task that required face-to-face time and charismatic salespeople.
Warby Parker shows us how social is the new brick-and-mortar. When four-eyed frame lovers around the world tweeted, commented and direct messaged their case for bringing back a discontinued style, Warby Parker listened and made changes accordingly. Kimball fans rejoiced and we took note.
From the comments section to direct messages to polls and sharing, social media makes engaging with audiences easier than ever. Taking advantage of that engagement can help your brand make strategic business decisions that boost your bottom line.
To Provide Customer Service and Support
Speaking of engaging with your audience, social media can be an excellent customer service tool. Depending on your company size and industry, many consumers assume customer service through social media is a given. In fact, 81 percent of Twitter users who don’t get a response from a company won’t recommend that company to their friends according to a 2015 Twitter customer survey.
When done well, customer support through social media not only increases customer loyalty but can result in customers being willing to pay more for your product or service according to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review.
Check out this example from Shopify. Based on this interaction, I’d venture to guess that @ItsAngieChua would recommend Shopify to her friends.
To Develop and Share Thought Leadership
Always add value — it’s one of our guiding principles for social media at SiteCrafting. It’s also the best way to build trust with your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. When you consistently add value through the content you share on social media, your audience will look to you as a thought leader in your industry.
So often, we hoard meaningful information in our brains, unaware at how much value it would bring our audience if we took the time to share those insights. The best way to become a thought leader is to let that wisdom leak out for others.
Matthew Kobach is a case study for how adding value over time leads to growing influence in a particular industry. In a year, he went from having around 2k Twitter followers to over 50k. Why? Because he consistently (like tweeting twice a day, every single day kind of consistently) shared valuable marketing insights with his followers. He added value. Now he’s one of the most popular voices in the marketing industry.
To Generate Leads and Boost Sales
Vanity metrics such as likes and follower counts might give you the warm fuzzies, but what really matters at the end of the day is increasing your bottom line.
Sharing a case study or inviting your followers to sign up for an email newsletter can be a strategic way to get new names into your sales funnel. Social media ads are also a strategic and inexpensive option to target or retarget potential customers and drive them to places where you can generate revenue.
I started following Jenna Kutcher on social media years ago because of the valuable content she consistently posted (see how that works?). At some point, she shared a link to sign up for her newsletter and I enthusiastically signed up (read: entered Jenna’s sales funnel) to get valuable marketing advice delivered straight to my inbox each week. Several months later, when Jenna shared about a $200 content creation course, I didn’t hesitate to pay for it because I was familiar enough with her content to believe it was a valuable investment.
Building a Strategy
The thing that all of these benefits have in common is that they can answer the question, “Why does your business exist on social media?” Social media is only as good as your strategy behind it. In order to effectively use social media to grow your business, you have to know why you have accounts in the first place. Once you establish your why, clarity and direction make the hard work of producing quality content easier.
P.S. Now that you’re ready to dive into your social media marketing efforts, let’s circle back to how SEO can help you level up your marketing game as well, shall we? Check out these 5 tips for optimizing your website.