Whether you love or hate social media marketing platforms, they are here to stay. As of 2013, it is estimated that 750 million unique visitors worldwide visit Facebook each month, followed by Twitter with 250 million and LinkedIn with 110 million. The new kid on the block, Google+, is already counting 65 million unique visitors monthly, and Pinterest, another social media site is at 85.5 million.
Even if your business doesn’t have international ambitions, social media sites have become an integral part of our cultural landscape and big brands all over the world have been quick at seizing this opportunity to engage with their customers directly, and have been reaping tremendous commercial success.
Google is also placing an ever greater emphasis on those platforms when it comes to ranking websites, so integrating social media into your digital marketing plans is more than just about reaching your audience, it is a sensible decision from a business point of view, as it will contribute to your website’s exposure on the net, improves your SEO results, and drives targeted traffic to your website.
Social Media is Democratic
If your company is an SME, you can’t compete with big businesses’ advertising budget and buy TV ad space to run a national campaign. You can use Google Adwords marketing, but again their pockets are likely to be deeper than yours.
Social media sites have been such a game changer because they level the playing field. They are a low-cost form of promotion, your main ‘expense’ will be your time; setting up an account is easy and quick; and once your company page is set up, the world is your oyster.
It isn’t only teenagers who use social media sites, people from all generations and walks of life do too, and an active presence on those platforms will allow you to reach out to all age groups, income levels, social backgrounds, giving you unprecedented access to a large market, at very little cost.
Social Media Advertising is Flexible
Promoting your business through Social Media sites also offers unequalled flexibility. Forget about non-negotiable 6-week campaigns in newspapers, cancellation notices, out-of-date information. Got a time-limited special offer to advertise? You can put it up and down at will and get instant results and feedback, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy quickly and efficiently.
Harness the Power of Virtual Word-of-Mouth
Any company knows that having a good reputation matters, and that word-of-mouth and testimonials are gold dust. With business going digital, this has only reached bigger proportions. An unhappy customer can share his unfavourable opinion very quickly via social websites, but likewise, praises can propagate like bush fire. Information can turn viral with little effort on your part, maximising return on your investment.
But it is not only to human beings that your popularity matters, search engines will also take notice of it and if your social media account is connected to your website, it will ultimately improve SEO results, ranking positively in the search engines, and again, drive more trafffic.
Social media is no longer a forum for people to share what they had for breakfast; it has become a powerful tool in an integrated digital marketing strategy. You cannot afford to ignore it any longer.