Today’s consumer is increasingly using social media to connect with people, catch up with old friends, stay tuned to news from around the word and to look for products they are interested in and considering purchasing. In other words, social media has become part and parcel of many people’s lives.
With over 2 billion global active social media users, marketers can no longer ignore social media as a critical component in their marketing strategy. Despite the strong consumer social media presence, many marketers aren’t utilising the advantages of social media as they should.
Brands that understand the power of social media are using it to build dedicated communities and to grow their brand authority. Small businesses can also benefit from social media when it comes to marketing to their local area or to a specific niche market.
In a nutshell, the following are some of the benefits of social media:
Social media can be used to spread the word about your brand through word of mouth.
You can use social media to expand your reach and increase web traffic.
Social networks are great conversational channels that can help you interact with your customers and establish deeper connections.
Social media amplifies your online presence and builds brand loyalty.
Shareable content can arouse conversation and build strong communities.
These are some of the perks that you shouldn’t miss as a digital marketer. So there’s no question social media is a big factor in digital marketing because it can add a lot of value to your marketing efforts and tremendously increase your marketing ROI.
However, it is also important to note that social media cannot be used in isolation. To reap the full benefits, you should integrate social media into digital marketing mix.
Let us see how to go about this.
Create a content plan.
In the digital marketing world, not all content should be created equally. And if you are aiming to establish a strong social media presence so as to reap its benefits, you should create social-friendly content, that is, content that is easily shareable. Consider what is most likely to work best in the social sphere and include share buttons which are highly visible to encourage your readers to share them on their own social media profiles. You could be missing out on a sizeable amount of traffic if your content lacks easy to use and easily identifiable social share buttons.
When you are considering your plan, please remember that each social platform has its own standards and rules. Something that might work with Twitter might not work as well when it comes to Facebook or Google +. While formulating your content plan, think of how it will fit in each of the social media platforms and whether to create platform specific versions.
Tip:Create tweetable quotes in your content and highlight them. I have seen this work wonders on some sites. Your users love this as it makes it very easy for them to share interesting pieces of information on your website without having to type anything. It can make a whole lot of difference between having your content shared on Twitter and not.
Design and host a lead generation event
You can use your website, in conjunction with your Facebook fan page or Twitter, to set up a lead generation event in the form of a contest to collect email addresses. You can also offer a freebie and Email-gate it so that anyone who wants the freebie or to enter into the contest will have to provide their email address to get your offer or be part of the contest.
Examples of lead generation ideas include:
A free eBook that is related to your line of business—it must be valuable!
Free webinar or seminar registration
A free game download
A free course
Quizzes to win something or special mentions
Asking the customers to give their opinion about a new product, etc.
You need to make sure your freebie or contest is enticing enough to arouse interest from social media users.
Integrate Email and Social Media
Did you know that you can combine email and social media? Here are some tips to integrate email and social media.
Every business email you send out is a potential marketing bait. You can include social media icons that contain links to your social media networks so your readers can easily find you in social media.
Include social share buttons to your email campaigns. That will ensure that people who like your campaigns share them with followers and friends.
Post your email campaigns to your social timelines as well in order to raise awareness.
Use your newsletter to announce a special social event and provide the links to the social media campaigns.
Ensure your employees’ email templates have social media links to the company’s social media accounts in the signature area. Someone might click the social media icons in the signature area.
Target influencers using social media
You probably have a friend who is a journalist, a local politician, a clergy, a musician, an influential blogger, a well-known entrepreneur, and so on. You can leverage their influence by getting them to either publish or share your content. However, don’t just sit there hoping that they will find your content. Follow them, comment on their status, produce great content of your own and ensure they see it.
Promote your landing page via social media
Do you have a promotion going on your website? How about using your social media platforms to promote your landing page and drive traffic? You don’t have to repost the exact content on your website to your social media but you can design one that fits the social media platform you want to post. Generally, make sure your updates:
Are visually appealing
Arouse feelings of excitements, pleasure, hope, anger or pain
Ask a question
Provide a solution and show benefits of visiting the website
Suggest that it is cool to share with friends (comment, like, tag, retweet, share and so on)
If you are using LinkedIn, create a post or share in specific interest groups that you belong to or share an update with your connections.
You can even create a hashtag campaign using Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, such as the one Nike conducted in 2012 that was known as #makeitcount. In this campaign, Nike asked its fans to state how they were going to make the year count. It produced a lot of buzz because the print and digital media attention it attracted. If your hashtag catches some fire, it can result in strong brand awareness.
Add email subscribers to your Google + circles
Apart from sending your email subscribers periodic email campaigns, you can connect with them in your Google + circle and develop deeper meaningful connections. It could sound like a tedious process if you have collected a massive list, but it is worth the effort. If some of your subscribers fail to add you back after say a week. You can remove them. This is important if you want to build a quality following on Google + and get to know your subscribers on a personal level. These are some of the small actions that make a big difference in digital marketing.
Do not wait any longer to leverage the power of social media. If you do it right, you can generate more traffic, create more connections and increase your conversions. With a whopping 10% annual growth in social media usage, social media is here to stay. The sooner you embrace it and integrate it into your marketing campaigns, the better for you.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.