Why you need a social media marketing plan in 2012
You may associate social media with banal Tweets from desperate celebrities and self-absorbed Facebook status updates from long lost ‘friends’. However, the potential locked within this burgeoning realm of marketing can work wonders if handled correctly.
If you and your business are keen to drive a substantial amount of traffic in a relatively short space of time then you really need to look no further than social media sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. But perhaps more importantly your competition are likely to be tapping into the potential of social media. So the question quickly becomes, can you afford not to have a plan for 2012?
If you are lacking a social media strategy within your business then read on for a few reasons why you should make it a priority…
Give your site the traffic it deserves
People have long asked ‘When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no human being or animal is nearby to hear it, does it make a sound?’ Well, a similar question would be ‘If a website looks and works really well but no-one visits it, is there any point in it existing at all?’ The answer to the latter is undoubtedly ‘no’. Investing in a commercial website that attracts no traffic can be likened to investing in a billboard ad in the middle of the Arctic. Most businesses spend a great deal of money, time and effort on their commercial hubs, so it’s important to ensure that hasn’t been wasted.
Be where the buzz is
Even if you deem your existing customers to be absolute technophobes and pretty social media-averse, the likelihood is that social media still impacts on their consumer decisions – albeit indirectly. Established marketing channels including newspapers, TV and radio are increasingly influenced by trends and ‘buzz’ that is initiated online. After all, sites like Twitter tend to be the first and fastest to react to big events and talking-points. Social media hubs are the domain of the trend-setters so make sure your brand is amongst them to reach the maximum number of customers.
Reach relevant customers
When it comes to marketing the real win is to reach the most relevant customers for the smallest amount of money. As social media leads to better ‘searchability’ it follows that the more active you are the more consumers you’re likely to attract. But the trick with social media is that it reaches people who are already interested – in some way – in what you do or sell. For example, a wedding photographer may choose to add some of their portfolio, with the couple’s agreement, to Flickr (the photo sharing site). Suddenly people interested in and searching for wedding photography are able to view your work and reach your site. Hey presto; you could be looking at a whole new group of potential customers.
Create a stir
As well as delivering practical results in terms of inbound links and the resulting transactions, social media sites can also help to raise the profile of your brand. Why not spend a little time on soft social media content that will let your customers know that you have your finger on the pulse of your market? If your company specialises in glasses frames for example, think about putting together an article about styles of frames that feature in this summer’s blockbusters. You can then promote this content around the web, encouraging interaction via social media. Suddenly you’ve created a stir online and your competition are left looking lacklustre and out of the loop by comparison.
It’s cheaper than PPC
PPC stands for ‘pay per click’, whereby companies and sites pay for their search engine listings to be advertised in premium positions. It can be money well spent but it usually amounts to quite a bit of money being spent on questionable results. The more popular the keyword phrase you bid to appear against, the more hotly contested and expensive it will be. The realistic alternative is working towards natural links rather than ones you pay for. Social media essentially equates to inbound links that are not only free but – when handled correctly (as mentioned above) – hit a relevant audience for your brand.
It’s easier than SEO
Ensuring your site hits all the criteria to be popular with Google spiders is a must for any business. SEO-friendly content and site structures are a real no-brainer if you want to appear in relevant search results on Google et al. However, another aspect of SEO is inbound link-building, which those spiders simply adore. What you need is a large number of people coming to your site, staying on your site and bookmarking your site for later. You can achieve this via links from the main social media sites including Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Pinterest and Twitter, thereby proving that you deserve to be on top of the search results for your business’ key terms and phrases.
It’s the medium that keeps on giving
Once you’ve established a social media presence you can use it on an ongoing basis. Every time you have a new product, offer or fluffy titbit of news you’ll have the perfect way to share it with a relevant audience. Keeping profiles active and freshly updated is a great way to maintain customer interest and interaction – plus a few well-conceived Tweets about your latest sale should be cheaper than printing off a few hundred fliers!
This is a guest post contributed by Julie Pena. She writes on behalf of www.printerinks.com. Julie works in marketing, she enjoys blogging and sharing her knowledge of online marketing. To find out more follow her on Twitter.