Social Media presence has become almost vital for all business – large, small or the self-employed. Whether you like it or not, if you don't take steps and manage your online presence, your customers and clients will! And sadly, it's normally the unhappy ones that will make the effort and announce their dissatisfaction. Nowadays, just having a website is not enough. Socia media sites are the new word of mouth marketing and channels and very powerful in spreading the word. To market your business online successfully, you now need and effective website as well and an active presence online social networks.
However, many companies are just “doing” social media without thinking about their activity and purpose online. If you have an effective social media strategy the time you spend on social media will be much more efficient. After all, once you decide where you are going, you will have a better vision of how you are going to get there.
Here are eight specific social media goals you might want to consider as the purpose for your social media presence:
To drive more traffic to your website
If the majority of your sales come from your website, then it is a no-brainer to have this goal at the top of your list. Traffic to your website is important for all businesses, but especially important if you are selling your products or services online.
You can create an amazing website that looks stunning and is extremely functional. However, without traffic to the site, you are going nowhere fast!
Using social media to drive traffic to your website is easy. Here are two ways:
1. Make sure you include a link in your social media Bio to your website:
2. Embed a link to your website in post and status updates:
To appear as an expert in your field
Everybody trusts an expert! As every salesperson will tell you individuals want to business with people they know, like and trust.
The best way to brand yourself as in expert is by using a strategy that leverages social media. The best way to do this is to integrate a blog into your website and write regular articles that showcase your knowledge in your field. These posts can then also be shared as links across your chosen social media networks also:
Raise Brand Awareness
There are many reasons that brand awareness may be top of your social media goals. You may be a fledgeling company that is dipping its toes in the business world, or you may have been established for many years with a solid customer base which is now looking to expand into different markets. Perhaps you have a new product launch or a new service to a niche market.
Social Media helps brands reach out to their customers and communicate with them, playing a significant role in online reputation management. 70% of people who look for reviews online trust posts by friends and family, while 90% trust reviews from other consumers. From a business-to-business point of view, 42% of people learn something from something from searching online which changed their minds. What better place to be constantly looking for reviews than social media?
Surveys tell us that 22% of people who have had a bad experience are likely to comment about it online, whilst only 9% of people who have had a good experience will do the same. All these numbers point to a growing trend where the reputation of a business online directly impacts the revenue.
Having a strategy for reputation management is key for your business, especially in the service industry. It should also be your main goal if you have recently taken over a business that previously has had a poor reputation.
Keeping an eye on your competition
if it is important to find out what kind of customers your competition are targeting, or what their social media marketing strategy looks like then this goal should be your main one.
The benefits of watching your competitors are almost immediate, you learn what you can do to make your business unique, you see their weaknesses i.e. customer service issues and you get great ideas to improve your own strategy.
It is easier to do this on some social media networks than others. For example Twitter you can set up twitter lists of all your competitors and on facebook you could like a page and click “notifications” button so you don't miss any of their posts:
New opportunities and meeting new people
Expanding your customer base has always been expensive. Now social media can bring this cost down. If new sales are top of your list then this goal should be your number one. Your social media strategy for uncovering new opportunities will be based on listening and engagement.
There are endless strategies to gain opportunities for potential new sales. Using the relevant but trending hashtags on twitter and Instagram, for example, are one way to do this.
If you are struggling to retain customers and find yourself having to search for new clients, then customer loyalty will be important to you. Implement a social media strategy to ensure customer retention and loyalty.
There are endless ways to stay in contact with your customers online:
- Make sure you are tagging your customers in posts that are relevant to them
- Feed your customers with regular free content utilising your blog and social networking platforms
- Set up twitter lists for your current clients
- Retweet their messages, share their blog articles on your LinkedIn page
- Have a listening strategy set up for potential customer complaints so you can react quickly. Providing a first class service online will always help with customer retention.
Improve search results
Web search remains the main way in which many people discover businesses and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be a key part of your online communications strategy. An active presence on social media, sharing and distributing keyword rich content will improve your placing on Google ensuring more people will find you online.