Marketing has changed
The advent of social networking marked the beginning of a new era of marketing.
As more and more people took to social networking to stay in touch with friends and family online, brand names were quick to identify these networks as a prime means of linking with both potential and existing customers.
As social networking continues to grow in popularity, people are looking to their social sites as a source of information – especially local information.
The opportunity for your company/brand to appear in individual’s personal social space is a marketing gift.
Social media marketing is the nearest advertising can get to word of mouth.
Personal interaction with existing and potential clients is something traditional advertising methods simply can’t provide.
Effective social media marketing is not achieved by simply placing free, no strings attached “adverts” on various social networks – it’s a weekly, if not daily commitment. Making your brand familiar to your audience requires knowledge of the social media environment and how users expect to interact with others within each environment.
The wrong approach will not only be ineffective, but could negatively impact your business.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media has revolutionised communication between friends, family and new acquaintances across the country and beyond. These networking sites are easily accessible to anyone with internet access via their computers and mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, which means users can access their online associates more or less anywhere and at any time. Businesses have quickly identified these networks as the most direct and effective method of promoting their products and services to the widest audience achievable, by creating content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their friends, family and associates. Due to the increasing use of social media to promote businesses and professionals, people are now researching products and services on these networks, and exchanging recommendations between friends. It’s a platform where advertising can become one step removed from word-of-mouth. For both existing and potential clients it has become favourable for people to receive company information, promotions and updates straight to their “news feed” whilst they chat with family and friends.
Unlike Social Media Marketing, Newspaper and magazine advertisements are restricted to the time span of the particular issue/s in which they appear, and are dependant on potential clients finding your current advertisement when they need it, and radio/TV advertisements aren’t easily referred back to. The most important benefit of Social Media Marketing is engagement and interaction, allowing existing and potential clients to develop a more personal relationship with your company. You can’t interact and chat with a real person by simply seeing or hearing an advertisement!
Managed correctly, social networking can be the most effective way of marketing your business, but by it’s nature it can easily become very time consuming, and the wrong approach can negatively impact your business. Time spent managing online presence is time that isn’t spent delivering a service. More and more companies/professionals are employing a freelance social media marketing manager, who can take the time and care of this side of their business.
The main social networking sites are Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, all of which are accessible via mobile devices.
Twitter enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. With over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day, the Twitter website has become one of the top 10 most visited on the Internet. ‘Tweeting’ has been described as “the ‘text message’ of the internet”. Unregistered users can read the tweets, while registered users can read and repost tweets through the twitter website and on mobile devices.
Through the act of “retweeting”, advertising campaigns can easily reach a target audience of thousands.
Adding location to tweets enables potential clients to identify companies within an acceptable travelling distance to them.
Users can search twitter for keywords, which can direct them to your company tweets and profile.
Facebook has over 1.32 billion active users, more than half of them using Facebook on mobile devices. Facebook Pages are for businesses to share information about products, services and connect with people. Pages can be customised by posting stories, hosting events and more. People who ‘like’ your Page will automatically receive your updates in their news feeds.
Google+ (Google Plus) is a multilingual social networking and identity service owned and operated by Google Inc. As of October 2013 Google+ had over 540 million active users. Google+ Business Pages work in the same way as Facebook pages, across the Google+ network. Wherever users see the G+1 link they can share sites and information with their online associates.
LinkedIn is a directory of over 300 million professionals and companies, enabling management of your professional identity by building and engaging with your professional network, and accessing knowledge and opportunities. Clients and associates can link with your company as a “connection”, and refer to your profile for contact details, location, products and services.
Hootsuite is a 3rd party service enabling you to post information to multiple social networks at once. The basic service is free, with optional paid upgrades. Save time uploading the same information (including pictures and web links) to several networks through one interface. Create and save message drafts, and schedule posts for weeks ahead. Access newsfeeds, replies and messages from multiple social platforms in one place. Hootsuite is a perfect time management tool. I can set up your Hootsuite account and get everything ready for you to just get on with using.
Recent Social Media Marketing Statistics
53% of Twitter users recommend companies and products in their tweets
74% of small companies are actively using Facebook in social media marketing
57% of companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn
20% of all website visitors to company sites come from social media
2 out 3 people that follow a brand on Twitter will purchase from that brand
66% of marketers saw a rise in search engine rankings due to social media marketing
Your Place in Social Media
I will create a company profile for your business on each of your chosen social networks, containing a description of your products and services, contact details and website links. Depending on your needs, I will make daily or weekly posts composed to attract attention to your businesses presence, and inform customers/potential customers of your products and services. Posts I make can contain photographs, videos, web links, company news and blogs, industry news and blogs, special offers and competitions/prize drawers, details of and invitations to events – anything you wish to publicise. I will actively encourage the reposting and sharing of the posts I make on behalf of your company to maximise the audience. Your company’s online presence within these networks allows customer to easily tag or check into your business when they visit or interact with you, which not only makes their friends and associates aware of your company, but offers a one click link to your profile page, contact and location details, along with your company website. I can assist in online customer services via your online profiles by engaging in conversation with your followers and those posting about your company, industry and services.
Social Media Marketing Packages
Due to the nature of social networking it is difficult to gauge the exact amount of time it will take to manage online company accounts. Depending on the level of Social Media Marketing you require it can be more beneficial for you to purchase month by month packages rather than pay per hour. You can choose to use any one or more of the main social networking sites, and build your own package dependant on the needs of your business, and the level of social media marketing you require.
Examples of the services your package can include:
- simply set up your chosen social media profile/s ready for use
- send informative updates from your online profiles on a daily or weekly basis, to include some photos and quotes from your website
- manage follower requests and inbox
- block spammers
- Seek industry related associates
- include sharing some industry related news and blogs
- audience building and research
- encourage conversation with potential customers
- actively seek potential new customers
- search for people discussing products and services you offer and raise their awareness of your company
- search mentions of your company, engage in conversation where appropriate
- reputation management within social networking – tracking what’s being said about you and feeding it back
You may wish to include blogging:
- Blog setup and housekeeping
- SEO evaluation for the title and setup of your blog
- Researched company/industry related
- All blog comments moderated
- Blog posts are re-tweeted as well as syndicated on Facebook for further exposure
- Posts are written with embedded videos and/or audio as well if required
- Interaction with those that follow your blog, including posting responses to comments