Social Media 101 – How To GROW Your SMB Business Into An Enterprise Level Organization.
Welcome to Social Media for Business 101! Regardless of whether you are a newbie looking to make a splash in the current scheme of things or a grizzled vet who needs a quick refresher course on what’s been happening since the last time you checked up on things, we believe we have just the social media boot camp knowledge you need.
Social Media – What is it?
Social media emerged from one-way communication on the internet; companies realized 2-way communication is necessary and a valuable necessary. Removing the barrier of a corporate exterior changes the game. You now get to know your customer. They get to know you – so be sure you know who you are hiring to do your communication practices. You want to ensure your brand message is communicated effective because consumers are falling in love with brand personalities. Be sure yours shines. With social media, your consumers are taking your brand in everywhere – online, in-print, radio, tv, in-store, outdoor, word-of-mouth and returning online to engage and talk about it. They share ads, they share products, they ask you questions, they post to your brand wall. Eat it all up. Let’s show you how.
Social networking has been a great enabler when it came to closing large swathes of space between people. The last decade has seen a huge increase in the number of individuals who are logging on to social media networking websites. This surge is due partly to the growing penetration of the World Wide Web and also because people are finding out that social networking encourages people to interact more with people online, which typically generates ideas and movement.
Also, these days publishing content online is easier than ever, and people who are pretty non-technically inclined find themselves creating compelling content that generates a lot of shares and endorsements. The key difference of user hierarchy now when compared to the days of dial-up modems is that these days it is a many-to-many type of communication compared to one-to-many of yesteryear. What this means, is that user-generated content is now more prevalent and visible than ever!
What This Means For Businesses?
There has been a general shift in the way people now approach buying something online. Earlier, it was very important to people that they get to “touch and feel” the product before they went ahead and bought it. These days though, the ease of use and ultra-quick delivery options mean that convenience far outweighs every other preference that typically was less convenient than we previously realized. Pretty obvious when you think about “Pay at the pump” availability.
A few web marketers have the common notion that it just got easier to market their products, well, the answer is yes and no. While it is easier than ever to get your content “out there”, it is another story if you want to be noticed by your target audience. This is what marketers of this generation are going to be concentrating on – Getting more of the RIGHT people to your online business.
One big part of this is ENGAGEMENT! Customer expectations of online businesses have increased drastically and these days it’s not uncommon to see giants of the industry engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. When you have a friendly banter on your social media channel, people tend to gravitate towards you and in the process, what you are selling. It makes the brand in question “more human”. A simple example of this working… I received a survey from a loyalty club. I took the survey (engagement) and then decided to see if they had added new vendors. I noticed an organization that I would benefit from an introduction and reached out. We agreed to meet at a restaurant where we can use our loyalty cards. All from engaging with a survey, I dropped right into their marketing funnel…as planned.
So, will my company benefit from social media?
In one word, yes. Why don’t we find out more about it, though?
Regardless of the size of your business, there are a multitude number of ways to increase your followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google Plus. Followers are people who log on to their favorite social networking sites, almost every day, to interact with friends, family, and colleagues. The key is to gain visibility. When people see something interesting, they endorse/share on their social feed which can lead to even more brand awareness for your company!
On social media, you will have a lot of chances to add more value to your audience. It doesn’t have to be boring pie charts all the time either! Add something funny related to your brand, a meme or a gif that can get people laughing. What you are doing is creating a core set of individuals who identify with your brand. These relationships will lead you to the most important part of social media: customer advocacy. Over 75% of purchases are emotional. Make sure you have an emotional connection on top of your awesome product or service.
In addition to touting your own horn, you may want to harness the power of your best customers; your enthusiasts. Brand ambassadors are being recruited form customer bases based on their loyalty, their social networking skills and general popularity. You may find these folks on your social network or in your store. Regardless of where you find them, you want them to be socially active with like-minded followers. You want to reward them for engaging with your content. You want these folks to be your extended marketing arm by sharing content. You may create a compensation program out of discounts and freebies that true ambassadors really want over cash reward.
At its large heart, social media is all about advocacy. If you’ve done your homework, your audience will scramble to share any new content you’ve posted on your feed along with their opinions and experiences with their social feeds. This type of passionate and spontaneous marketing can rarely be bought and is the best method of marketing your brand. Word of mouth marketing has a new little buddy, social media.
Does Social Media Success Translate Into Other Mediums As Well?
The best way to answer this question is to remember that social media acts as an extension of your brand and not the other way around. People’s experience of your brand does not start with social networking, but it works to enhance their views about what your brand is about. This is your chance to get to know your customer. You now can have 2-way communication which increases engagement and purchase intent. Almost as good as peanut butter and chocolate.
Capturing the essence of what your company is about and then sharing it with your target audience can have a lot of benefits like increased engagement with your fan base and additionally, it can open up several opportunities through inbound marketing like SEO, branding, PR and more. Social media also opens up more ways to communicate with your customers to reinforce your brand; this gives rise to the notion of using chatbots in social media just as you would in website strategies.
So to answer the question: Yes, it does help!
How can I get my message out there?
As you can see, there are various social media networking sites that you can use to carve your own space in the social circle. Below we have provided some basic information about the users on each network and how the network is perceived by consumers. This will be a great reference guide for selecting which networks to focus your energy on. You are safer to pick only a couple and do them extremely well. You will note when users take your content to another network and consider the value of those before jumping in as you want quality over quantity.
One of the most relevant social media networking sites out there, Facebook has literally steamrollered its way through the competition and stands on a gargantuan 1 billion monthly active users. Actually, even if you weren’t part of their ever expanding network, chances are that you’ve heard it from someone. Like all things that are famous, Facebook holds immense potential for your business marketing needs. Case in point: Every big name has a Facebook page.
Over 75% of all internet users log in to Facebook. According to the 2016 Pew Report, despite grumpy claims of Facebook being old, it’s still got a hold on our youth.
- 88% of 18–29 year olds log on to Facebook
- 84% of 30–49 year olds log on to Facebook
- 72% of 50–64 year old log on to Facebook
- 62% of 65+ year old log on to Facebook
When looking at education and your target market, you will note the following found by the 2016 Pew Research.
- 82% of adults with some college attendance log on to Facebook
- 79% of adults who graduated college log on to Facebook
- 77% of adults with a high school diploma or less log on to Facebook
And one of the most important variables when targeting your prospects and marketing to existing customer base, INCOME. Lucky for us, Pew provided that as well.
- 75% of adults who make over $75,000 log on to Facebook
- 77% of adults who make between $50,000–$74,999 log on to Facebook
- 80% of adults who make between $30,000–$49,999 log on to Facebook
- 84% of adults who make less than $30,000 log on to Facebook
Its 140 character limit belies the incredible leverage it provides to a business via social interaction. Most experts claim that it is the most powerful tool for building a target audience as it’s really easy to engage with them and develop trust. It might have a steeper learning curve when compared to the rest. However a couple tips can help you learn how to leverage its use. For example, influencer marketing…you can get a hold of any leader here with DM and typically get responses. Also, hashtags work extremely well with Twitter to gain exposure on subjects where it is relevant to an audience that may not be following you. Twittter is also gaining traction on the social customer service market, meaning customers know how to get an answer…Tweet. Also a hot spot for celebrity messaging.
Twitter does skew younger in age demographic. It also skews heavily for business use, much like Linkedin.
- 36% of 18–29 year olds use Twitter
- 23% of 30–49 year olds use Twitter
- 21% of 50–64 year olds use Twitter
- 10% of 65+ year olds use Twitter
Twitter’s college statistics skew towards educated, which should not be a surprise with the younger generations completing college at a greater rate than previous generations.
- 29% of adults who graduated college use Twitter
- 25% of adults with some college experience use Twitter
- 20% adults with a high school diploma or less use Twitter
Twitter’s financial portfolio of shopping consumers
- 30% of adults who make over $75,000 use Twitter
- 28% of adults who make $50,000–$74,999 use Twitter
- 18% of adults who make $30,000–$49,999 use Twitter
- 23% of adults who make less than $30,000 use Twitter
This is first and foremost about sharing vivid imagery with your friends with a clean and uncluttered interface. It evolved into one of the more popular social networking websites to build your brand on. The users are encouraged to share and engage with each other providing a solid platform that is both fun as well as interactive. Instagram had a surge in users in 2016, taking it to 600 million daily users.
While Instagram was born on to the phone screens of babes, the platform is now finally attracting an older audience but demographics do trend younger.
- 59% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram
- 33% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram
- 18% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram
- 8% of people 65+ use Instagram
College participation was lower in previous years on Instagram and this may be due to the young age. However 2016 did change this reporting to be less than the other college segments.
- 37% of adults with some college attendance use Instagram
- 33% of adults who graduated college use Instagram
- 27% of adults with a high school diploma or less use Instagram
Instagram income data skews higher than Twitter and lower than Facebook. Instagram has multiple advertising methods enabling you to target your specific demographic.
- 37% of adults who make more than $75,000 use Instagram
- 32% of adults who make $49,999–$74,999 use Instagram
- 32% of adults who make $30,000–$49,999 use Instagram
- 38% of adults who make less than $30,000 use Instagram
For more reasons your business cannot deny Instagram, click here>>
Pinterest is a social media networking site that also relies on visual content, it has always played second fiddle to Instagram. Being very visual, Pinterest has been noted to have how-tos, crafts, fashion, style and visually interesting imagery. Nevertheless, there are a lot of brands out there that have used Pinterest to build a solid base for further interactions.
Below you will note the age break out skewing very much to the younger crowd. It’s important to note who makes the buying decisions for your products. Do parents or young adults. Knowing this will help you with targeting.
- 36% of 18–29 year olds use Pinterest
- 34% of 30–49 year olds use Pinterest
- 28% of 50–64 year olds use Pinterest
- 16% of 65+ year olds use Pinterest
Following similar trends to other networks, education demographics are below.
- 34% of adult college graduates use Pinterest
- 34% of adults with some college attendance use Pinterest
- 22% of adults with a high school diploma or less use Pinterest
Pinterest income demographics closely mirror the other highly visual media network, Instagram.
- 35% of adults making over $75,000 use Pinterest
- 31% of adults making $50,000–$74,999 use Pinterest
- 32% of adults making $30,000–$49,999 use Pinterest
- 30% of adults making less than $30,000 use Pinterest
The de facto standard when it comes to professional social network, LinkedIn has a huge following of working professionals. Think of it as a place where people from all industries converge to build lasting relationships with other people. There are 457 registered profiles on Linkedin, with 133,000,000 coming from the US. Most companies have a robust strategy involving their LinkedIn profiles to further enhance their credibility online.
The age demographics are actually surprising as you may expect a higher age skew, but the most recent Pew report shows the largest age usage group being the youngest.
- 34% of 18–29 year olds use LinkedIn
- 33% of 30–49 year olds use LinkedIn
- 24% of 50–64 year olds use LinkedIn
- 20% of 65+ year olds use LinkedIn
This demographic should not be so surprising but is drastically different than the other social media networks. An overwhelming majority of the members graduated college.
- 50% of adult college graduates use LinkedIn
- 27% of adults with some college attendance use LinkedIn
- 12% of adults with a high school diploma or less use LinkedIn
And as expected with higher education, you will find higher income.
- 45% of adults making over $75,000 use LinkedIn
- 32% of adults making $50,000–$74,999 use LinkedIn
- 13% of adults making $30,000–$49,999 use LinkedIn
- 21% of adults making less than $30,000 use LinkedIn.
Though backed by the giants of the internet themselves, Google Plus had a very unsure start. But the folks at big G have got their act together and now the network has been growing leaps and bounds. It reportedly has 540 million active users and the highest number of visits every month to any social platform – 1,203 million.
While the Pew Research Group did not research G+, we think its value needs to be acknowledged as this plays not only into social media but SEO as well. Google rewards businesses that play their game and use their products.
YouTube has long been associated with free video streaming and now since Google has taken it over, it has reached new heights with regard to its ability to market products. How-tos, product comparisons, sneak peeks, trade expos can all be uploaded here and viewers can get a feel for it even when they aren’t actually present. Add video to your social media and you will certainly see an up-tick in engagement. Platforms like Facebook reward video usage as it creates engagement and more time on their site, which in turn makes Facebook money via ad sales. Video, Video, Video, get your camera out – you must get on board with this one.
Summing it all up
Social media has been a motive force in the schemes of businesses today. It has become so critical to get your brand online that these days most businesses consider it their first step. But even after you pick your social network, chalk out your posting strategy, pick the appropriate tone and get your brand online, the job is still only half-done.
Social networking is an iterative process, meaning it truly never is done. Sort of like Mondays.
A few more notes I would add to the post-implementation phase is:
There are tools available that can help you do this and I strongly encourage you to do so because they save you a lot of effort and time which is better spent elsewhere.
You need to collect and update all aspects of your social media feed. This includes, but not limited to, prospect questions, feedback, currently trending topics and past engagements with customers. Also note that this intelligence should be automated to feed into your CRM through AI collection at different stages of your inbound strategy, including chatbot technology.
The consumer these days expects you to respond to service requests through your social feed. This isn’t unreasonable and most of them are currently doing it.
Set Goals and Monitor Performance
Have measurable goals and performance attributes. This means that follows, engagement, sharing are indicators of your customers’ trust factor and should be monitored carefully. The more trustworthy your brand is in a particular domain, the more people will trust your word on a subject.
Hopefully, this article has been useful to you. I’ve tried to keep it as concise and informative as I can! If you think that other people would also get value out of it a share on a social medium of choice would be an excellent way to encourage us to give you more useful content, thanks!
To see well executed and successful social media campaigns, check out our Social Media Best Practices blog, where we share leaders doing what they do best in their craft, excellent marketing.