The 2013 Social Media Marketing survey by Social Media Examiner reported a number of findings from a survey of 3000 marketers:
1. 89% report social media has increased brand visibility
2. 64% report increased lead generation
3. 62% report their search engine rankings increased
Some businesses feel that social media marketing equates to creating a Facebook page or Twitter account to release news about their products. This will not obtain them the results they desire.
The 2012 Online Sales report by Forrester Research found only 1% of all online sales originated from social media updates. It is not sufficient for a business to simply tell consumers about their products on social media and expect them to make a purchase.
Creating a mutually beneficial relationship where consumers and businesses engage in dialogue is the only way in which Social Media Marketing (SMM) should be used. If the right triggers are employed, consumers will invest their time in a company and become a future customer. To achieve this SMM efforts should be directed to discussing topics which target consumers want to interact about.
For instance a pet equipment supplier could post about the care for animals or latest pet trends. These don’t directly relate to what the business is selling, but those customers who might be interested in their products would be interested in reading that material. If the content is good enough, the reader will share, exposing the company to previously unconnected consumers. This is the modern day word of mouth – which has always been the best marketing tool.
The best place for this content is on a blog. Here the content can be linked to the company website, which consumers can follow – generating traffic and vital leads. The content on the blog can be linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts where public discussions can take place, drawing attention to the brand.
However, a company should not be discouraged from sharing third party material. It shows that the company undertakes its role as a source of knowledge and reads material published throughout the industry.
Social media is powerful, but only if used in the right way. If businesses are to benefit, they need to consider the wider community and interact, rather than shout about their products.