It’s nearly 2018.
Over one billion people use Facebook each month.
Millions use Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.
Curiously, many businesses still fail to invest even minimal effort in setting up and maintaining a social media presence.
No matter the goal of individual marketing campaigns, at the very least, each needs one thing to succeed: impressions. In the classic way of marketing, impressions are expensive. Billboards, mailer campaigns, and advertising all cost a lot money.
With that in mind, it can be very difficult to get a marketing budget approved- anyone who has tried to negotiate with a CFO will tell you this.
Today, social media marketing enables you to reach people for little to no monetary investment. Pages and accounts are free and as you grow your audience, you get more exposure.
While people used to go to the Yellow Pages and call whoever showed up first (you can thank this trend for all the driving schools called “ABC Driving”) that just isn’t the case anymore. 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases (Retailing Today, 2014). If you don’t come up in their search, you might lose what should have been a guaranteed sale.
Being present on multiple platforms helps your company to show up in searches, increasing validity in the eyes of your potential customers. An increased social media presence will also help improve your search engine optimization, meaning your website will show up higher in search results for your product or services. That way, even if a potential customer isn’t looking for you specifically, they’ll find you when searching for products or services you offer.
Using social media in your marketing gives you an opportunity to provide customer support almost instantly. Online, pretty much anyone can say whatever they want about you. Being present allows you to respond to both positive and negative feedback, while learning more about your user base and ways to improve your product.
If you see someone on social media struggling to use your product correctly, you send them a note helping them out and now what could have been a negative interaction is a positive one. The customer is more likely to recommend you after receiving support and everyone can see the positive interaction online.
Many CEOs are hesitant to support social media marketing efforts, as they don’t see them as directly contributing to sales. The biggest piece to recognize here is: even when marketing efforts don’t contribute to lead generation and sales efforts, they create brand awareness. Brand awareness enables your sales team to be better at lead generation and close more deals because when they cold call a prospect, that prospect has now interacted with your brand online in the past.
When you’re just starting out on social media, you probably won’t be closing deals through it. As you continue to bolster out your efforts, there is huge potential for the creation of an inbound strategy utilizing your online content.
With so many people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for exposure if you aren’t present. This opportunity can be entirely free at the beginning and gradually scale up paid options as necessary. Utilizing social media creates more validity and can put you in a positive light with customers. While it may not directly lead to sales, it makes the entire sales process more efficient by building brand awareness.