If you don’t realize that social media marketing is essential to your business success, you may not be smarter than a fifth grader. Look at these stats:
Nearly 2.1 billion people have social media accounts.
Close to 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts.
There’s no doubt that social media has become the best way for entrepreneurs to reach their target market, establish credibility in their field and convert people into paying customers. Although you might feel like social media has “been around forever,” it’s still relatively new.
Web history buffs often site “Six Degrees” as the first social media platform which appeared in 1997. The next step was blogging. It enabled you to present your opinions and interest to the public. Many blogs were simple diaries at this point. In early 2000, MySpace and LinkedIn showed up on the web. You remember MySpace, it has gone through many transformations from being a hangout for teenagers, marketing for businesses and a useful platform for unknown performers to get attention. LinkedIn is still one of the top social media networks and, while it went through its’ own changes, it has remained primarily a business platform. You might be thinking, “What about Facebook and Twitter?” They appeared in 2004 and 2006 respectively and are now the number one and two social platforms. So enough of the history lesson! What about today?
You can’t ignore the power of social media when it comes to influencing people’s buying decisions.
71% of customers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. [Source]
44% of potential customers say that they look for recommendations on their favorite blogs before making a buying decision. [Source]
Those are figures you don’t want to ignore and if you have a solid social media strategy in place, you can use those figures to turn your target market into paying customers.
Although the top three social media platforms are still Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you shouldn’t ignore other avenues to extend your reach. One of the best social media marketing strategies features your blog as the hub. However, blogs and forums are often ignored by entrepreneurs. Adding a blog to your website is an excellent way to offer in-depth articles, establish yourself as a thought leader, increase your SEO and provide maximum value to your customers or clients. Forums and groups on Facebook usually discourage posting links to your service or product, however you can often include links to your site in your forum signature. Always be sure to check the rules of each forum. The key to using groups and forums is to be active and helpful. Schedule time each day to answer other members’ questions and you will soon become a go-to person for your niche.
Another reason to use social media to leverage your reach is you can get consumers to do part of the marketing leg work for you by sharing your posts and talking about your products. This is called ‘User Generated Content’ and it is a powerful tool in today’s market. A typical conversation about a service might be,
“Hey Joe, I see your posts at the top of my feed a lot. How do you stay on top?”
“Thanks Sue, I have extended my social media reach with blogging and social media platforms. I’m working with with HIT Virtual on all my content marketing.”
See, they just talked about real results they enjoyed by working with HIT Virtual. The ways that social media effects buying decisions is something you can take advantage of.
However, many entrepreneurs struggle with using social media right and often miss out on important marketing opportunities or totally neglect a large part of their target market.
“The average entrepreneur is 40 when they launch their startup. People over 55 are twice as likely as people under 35 to launch a high-growth startup.” [Source]
So when the first social media platform launched, many entrepreneurs were just graduating high school! There is a lot you need to know about social media marketing and a few “insider tips” you need to get it right.
The first step is adding a social media button to your website and email marketing campaigns. When you add the button directly to your site and emails, visitors can “like”, “share”, “tweet”, or “pin.” This is an easy way to engage your clients and create user generated content. When people on your list share your content across the internet via social media you reach their social circles. This will extend your reach with minimal work on your part.
As you can see, when you utilize social media to its full extent, you will improve your business marketing and, therefore, your sales. When you integrate social media in your overall marketing program you find this easy and effective tool will provide the results you are looking for. With the frequent updates to social media platforms and even the appearance of new platforms, there are endless possibilities. Be sure to set up your social media platforms correctly and they will do all the marketing for you. If you have a team, be sure to train them how to integrate social media marketing as part of their strategy and you will be on your way to success.