Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to drive sales and leads to your website.
It puts you on the same level as over half of the world’s population – giving you the freedom to tell them about your brand.
But, like any project, the results you achieve will only be as good as the effort you put in. Flowers don’t bloom from a seed that hasn’t been given any water.
Knowing how your customers behave and the times they’re most likely to interact with you is key: posting when they’re asleep or having them engage with your posts when you’re inactive is no good for your business.
If you get the balance right, you can influence your customer’s activity every time they’re on social media and convince them to make a purchase. That’s an average of 144 minutes per day, or four and a half hours for the top 20% of smartphone users.
To help you do exactly that, we’ve put together the 6 main benefits of social media marketing, which you can use to beat your competitors, win more customers, and boost your profits.
1. Increase brand awareness
‘Brand awareness’ = the same phrase used on every digital marketing website, but there’s a reason for it. If no one knows about your brand, no one is going to buy from you. If 1,000 people do, there’s a chance at least 100 of them might.
Social media is swamped with businesses trying to get more customers through the door and buy their products. If not that, they want people to ring and book their service. You want to make sure it’s your business people are searching for.
PPC advertising is a great way to do this, as you can use tools like Adzooma to optimise your campaigns and see where you’re bringing in the most money. But, with 70-80% of people researching a company online before making a purchase, it’s worth building a social media presence first.
Remember relay races in school?
You could only run when you were given the baton, and the person in front of you stood still until you passed it onto them. It was the game that got everyone feeling competitive and energised: ready for the more complex and fruitful games like the egg and spoon race.
In marketing, your brand will stand still if no one knows about it. And by the time your social channels are up and running (excuse the pun), you’ll be so far behind that no one will even care. It’s about getting as far ahead as you can, as soon as you can, and making people feel engaged from the get-go.
To make sure you’re miles ahead, you can:
- Browse trending topics using tools such as Feedly and create engaging content that hasn’t been done before. Copying what everyone else is doing can hurt your business and won’t make people remember you.
- Be present and reactive on all your social media channels. Post content at least twice a day depending on the size of your business and respond to all brand comments and mentions – positive or negative.
- Automate your workload by scheduling posts in advance. SproutSocial and Hootsuite are great for this, and also allow you to analyse your social media performance free of charge.
We also have an article dedicated to social media management tools to help you along the way.
2. Launch creative campaigns
You don’t have to create brand new content every time you post on social media. Use it like an artboard to present your favourite pieces, such as your most innovative campaigns or technology advances. Everyone has a blank canvas to use however they want.
Clothing brand Life is Good are an excellent example of this: to mark their 25th anniversary, the company invite people to tell them “something good”, and donated $1 to the Life is Good Kids Foundation for every #SomethingGood post. It was something optimistic to inspire others and lift the energy in the room.
The campaign hit its goal of inspiring 1 million shares and raising $1 million (USD) in October 2019, just one month after the initial launch, and was displayed on Walls.io social wall.
As well as this, Life is Good would have:
- Showcased themselves as a caring and responsible company
- Earned more customers through creating a positive environment online
- Gained more followers and stimulated higher engagement for future posts
If you don’t have the time or resources, replicating your traditional ad campaigns online works well too.
Even in 2013, global brands such as Mercedes Benz used channels such as Instagram to promote their campaigns and get people talking about their company.
In promoting their ‘Take the Wheel’ campaign on Instagram, Mercedes received:
- 87,000,000 organic impressions
- 2,000,000 likes
- 150 new marketing assets
Now, Mercedes have 26.1m followers on the same platform, with over 100k likes on every single post. Social media can achieve amazing results for your business – it’s just about using it the right way.
3. Highlight your company culture
This is important for all brands but can work particularly well if you work in a more complex industry like tech, telecommunications and finance. Just because you work with complicated products, it doesn’t mean you or your team sit in silence surrounded by monitors. And you must show your customers that.
Instagram is a great way of showcasing the exciting things you get up to when you aren’t deep in the concentration zone: whether it’s creative collaboration sessions, pizza once a month or dogs in the office. Everyone loves an office dog.
This will show your followers and potential customers that there are real people behind your business, who are willing to help them and are much more friendly and approachable as they may seem.
Hootsuite is a well-known favourite, leading the way with their inspiring and uplifting content.
At first glance of their Instagram page, you can see:
- Real people in real offices
- A product update video, explained by a member of staff
- Two animated campaign videos
- An informative video on how to use IGTV
- A collection of images of a brand new office
That’s just from one of their channels. If you inject personality into each of your social media platforms, you’ll attract more customers who engage with your posts and are more likely to buy from your site or store. Show them art, and they’ll want the entire gallery.
4. Strengthen customer loyalty
Customers love brands who are accessible. If people can get in touch with you, even if it’s about a concern, it increases their chances of buying from you again. If you solve their query quicker, even better.
To tackle this problem ourselves, we created a dedicated Adzooma Facebook Support Group where our customers can fire questions over to our support team at any time. This also puts them at the forefront of conversations to connect with other Adzooma users –creating a community that will feed into brand awareness.
Responding quickly doesn’t necessarily mean using chatbots and virtual assistants to speed up the process either. In fact, a Global Consumer Customer Service Report by a business applications company CGS found that nearly 50% of UK respondents prefer speaking to a person than AI-powered technology.
The main reason for this is because they have limited data capacity and only have a set amount of responses for a certain number of queries. This means they have a high error rate, causing them to misinterpret queries and lead customers to shop elsewhere.
To build and maintain strong customer relationships, we’d recommend:
- Social listening: Interacting with your audience and showing them you’re on the same level will help to increase trust, inspire helpful conversations and provide more opportunity for creative content. You don’t need to be a robot – just be yourself.
- Considering rewards and competitions: This can work both ways: if customers receive a discount on their fifth time buying from you, they’ll be more inclined to buy again. Similarly, running competitions is great for creating buzz around your brand and show that you’re giving back.
- Being consistent: Not only with your content but also during public and private conversations. Keep communication going like you would with your friends and don’t take hours to reply. The more active you are, the more reliable you seem and the more likely people are to buy from you.
- Doing more than is asked of you: For example, if a customer is concerned about their payment going through twice, reassure them you will personally follow it up and contact them from your part if there is an issue. Remember, if you follow the same script as everyone else, you’ll be left with an empty crowd.
5. Encourage positive feedback
With loyalty comes positive feedback: when a customer feels you’ve served them particularly well, there’s no reason they wouldn’t leave you a great review. But you’ll find a lot of people still don’t really think about it unless you go out of your way to ask.
Through asking politely and offering incentives, such as a limited 20% discount in return, you can build a positive online presence with added impact from the review you’ll earn in return. It’s a win-win.
Like UK-based fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing, introducing a one-click rating system in customer support chats is also a quick and easy way to encourage more positive feedback.
This lays the groundwork for future success too, as 88% of customers say reviews impact their online purchasing decisions.
Think of Amazon – the global powerhouse above thousands of online retailers.
When you search for a product on their site, such as ‘bluetooth headphones’, you can immediately see its star rating, how many reviews it’s got, and even the ‘Amazon’s choice’ recommendations. Whether this is accurate or not, it still has a big enough impact to affect purchasing decisions.
As you can see below, although the first product is less expensive and has a 5-star rating, the more expensive product beneath has over 2,000 more customer reviews and a 4½-star rating. Weighing it up, the second product is likely to sell more.
By highlighting your reviews online, people will see that you’re trusted by hundreds or thousands of other customers just like them and become more willing to buy.
6. Research your competitors
As well as promoting your own content, social media platforms are great for keeping an eye on your competitors and monitoring their engagement. This is particularly effective if you’re a new business, as you can find what type of content works best on each platform and create a similar strategy.
Seeing how other businesses maximise their social platforms can be the best type of inspiration. For example, going back to Mercedes Benz, their Instagram makes use of IGTV, the shopping tab, and filters for Instagram Stories.
This means that rather than just showcasing visual content, customers can watch detailed videos of their cars on the road, interviews with their drivers, browse the cars they have for sale with the full spec, and use the F1 filters on their own face. Used together, these elements can:
- Provide more entertainment and information
- Encourage views, enquiries, and direct sales
- Increase brand awareness across different industries
- Promote higher engagement on their posts
Using this data alone, providing you’re in the motor industry, you’ll be able to see exactly where you’re falling short on your Instagram channels and implement similar techniques into your own.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Mercedes: utilising the tools that have contributed to other people’s success will still help you climb the ladder and attract more customers to your business.
When you’ve mastered this and all of the steps above, don’t be afraid to venture out into different areas of marketing to really enhance your results. There’s a ton of great resources out there, but the top of my list has to be Adzooma.
No matter your skill or experience, the Adzooma platform will help to optimise your performance across Google, Facebook, and Microsoft ads. It provides custom automation to save you time, white-label reports to send over to clients and stakeholders, and a free reporting suite.
If you perfect your Facebook PPC campaigns as well as your Facebook social posts – you’re onto a winner.
Social media is like art: you start with your base colours before adding glitter and sparkles, and when you’re ready, you can create exciting projects that get other artists, or customers, talking. It’s up to you how you decorate the canvas.
But, as discussed in this article, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to become a vivid success.
To keep it short and sweet:
- Social media can have massive benefits for your business. It allows you to get your brand in front of your customers whenever you want, with content that can be as wild, creative or informative as you please. You just have to write it.
- Each platform has its own unique audience, tools and quirks that can work in different ways for every brand. Whether you’re an accountant, an independent upholsterer or a vegan chef duo – increased brand awareness is just around the corner.
- When you aren’t sharing your own content, explore other businesses’ social channels or even social media influencers. Dig deep, scroll back to see how they’ve grown their following and chase content that inspires you to edit your own.
Finally, you don’t need to showcase every high and low of your business. Bad news is often good news, for entertainment purposes anyway, but sometimes it’s worth acting like you’re pleased or hopeful even when you’re not.
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