Whether you are a new entrepreneur or have been a business owner for decades, you are likely aware that an internet presence is becoming more and more necessary to stay relevant. A decade ago, that simply meant having a website; five years ago, it meant having a nicer-looking and more intuitive website than your competitors. Today, it means being on the cutting edge of social media trends. Prospective clients, customers, and patients are now rapid consumers of information that are no longer susceptible to traditional forms of marketing.
Formerly, small and medium-sized businesses could market through radio and television advertisements, engaging mail pieces, and billboards. Today’s consumers simply do not like feeling as if they are being “sold” through these traditional marketing avenues. Consumers want information to like, share, and, ultimately, know first. To succeed as a business owner in this digital age, your business must offer consumers engaging information or products. The platform from which you reach your audience in this way is through social media. Social media allows you to curate content and creatively present your products or services. With the platform of social media, you will engage with your audience while creating interest around your products or services.
Another important reason for social media presence is for your search engine ranking. Chances are if you are a business owner, you have Googled your business to see how visible you are. The more places your business exists, the better chances you will have of ranking higher and being more visible to your target market.
What Is Social Media?
Social media is the platform in which 95 percent of consumers express themselves while keeping in touch with their friends and family members. You may be familiar with the most popular one – Facebook. Through Facebook, people all around the world share what they create, their feelings about specific topics (such as politics, music, or movies), and even their new favorite recipe.
Other social media platforms you may be familiar with include Twitter and Instagram. While on Facebook you can essentially share anything – text, pictures, videos, and links – with Twitter and Instagram, the content you share is limited. On Twitter, you can share a text-based status that is limited to 140 characters, while on Instagram, your message is shared as an image (or video). Additionally, YouTube is another platform that anyone can use to share full-length, high-definition videos to tell their story.
Some lesser-known social media include: Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, and Google+. When it comes to personal use, each individual will find different benefits with each social media platform. Some users want a simple, visual experience and will opt for platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, while others want a more dynamic experience and will remain active on many (and possibly all) platforms. For businesses, it is a good idea to be present and active on any platform your prospective audience may be using.
How Will Social Media Help Leverage Your Business?
Various social media platforms will allow you, as the business owner, to engage with your ideal consumers. In fact, there are numerous ways to communicate and interact with your audience on social media. You can simply post a status, picture, video, or share a link with interesting and relevant information. Alternatively, you can use advertising services on certain social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to promote your business. Below, you can read more about each social media platform.
With Facebook, you get the most dynamic experience as a consumer. You can share almost anything these days and react in multiple ways to what your friends share. As a business, this is an opportunity to test-drive interest in new products/services, as well as to garner interest in your business in general. Additionally, Facebook offers advertising campaigns that will intuitively allow you to reach your target audience with a specific purpose in mind. Whether you are trying to get more likes on your page, get more interactions with a link to your website, or simply reach more people locally, you will be able to do so through Facebook Ads. Consumers often look to Facebook for reviews of businesses, as well, so it is important to be on this platform for reviews.
With Google+ (plus), you are becoming incredibly present online. Google is one of the first places most consumers go to when searching for reviews about a business. To be eligible for Google reviews, you must set up a Google+ page for your business. Ultimately, most consumers do not use this social media platform for anything other than searching for business addresses, phone numbers, and reviews. However, it is the absolute, most important social media platform to be on! By being on Google+, you will help your organic search ranking.
With Twitter, you get a very simplified experience. You can post a status of no more than 140 characters, so you are essentially forced to make the most of your space. You can also now post pictures and videos that you think your followers may find interesting. Many people use Twitter to find out what is trending with hashtags. This is a simple way for your business to get recognition for your products/services by using a relevant trending topic along with your status.
With Instagram, you get to engage with your prospective consumers in their preferred format – quick and digestible. Most consumers do not want to take the time to read long posts or blogs anymore, and many will simply skim for the information they are interested in. On Instagram, you share your message through pictures or quick videos. You can also advertise through Instagram, although it is recommended to interact with your consumers/audience organically.
Why Use Social Media Instead of Traditional Advertising?
Social media allows you flexibility with advertising. Most importantly, though, it allows you to reach your target audiences in a variety of ways. If your products/services would appeal to both an elderly woman and a teen male, you aren’t going to market to them the same exact way. On Facebook, you can have multiple ads running to would appeal to each demographic. On Snapchat, however, you can reach your teen audience more directly and organically.
Simply put, consumers today are not as susceptible to traditional forms of marketing anymore. Social media allows business owners, like you, to reach your target market organically and engage with them in the way they preferred to be engaged with. Consumers prefer to “opt in” to advertising, rather than being subjected to it (in television commercials and radio advertisements).
That doesn’t mean traditional link building and content marketing practices should be discounted. It just means you can use Social Media to further extend their reach.
Writing content for your website is still important, crucial in fact, if you want to become a credible and high ranking or at least competitive website online.
We cover this in our Ultimate Digital Marketing Traffic & Conversion Course
Understanding how to use Google and Social Media engines to bring (and create) qualified, quality visitors to your website is what we teach.