Social media marketing is perhaps the most powerful brand-building tool of all – but only if it is managed correctly. Social media is no longer a reactive project that you pursue in free time on the weekends. It is now and will continue to be an important part of any holistic business strategy and one that provides many opportunities for businesses to connect with their consumers within a variety of contexts. Managing social media can be a full-time job and in order to understand how it may be successful as a marketing tool it is best to know the strategies and engineering behind developing healthy social interactions.
Building Brand Recognition
Building a brand and reputation using social media requires, among other skills, the know-how of building relationships with an audience, targeting those most interested in your service, and encouraging interactions with others. You want to avoid the risk of spending countless hours developing a social presence to find that virtually no one has been exposed to your hard work. An active social media team will have the experience and resources to develop and maintain the presence your business needs to support a healthy social media campaign. This experience allows them to create a positive and active community for your brand, which in turn creates loyal customers.
So you’re deep into reviewing your marketing strategy for the year and the topic of social media is on your mind. Let’s touch on a few of the more common thoughts concerning social media:
“We’d be paying the agency too much for social media each month.”
It is important to think about “the agency” in terms of the absolute value that they are offering your business. When you hire an outside agency, you are hiring a full team of people with varying levels of experience, backgrounds, strengths, and even salaries – regardless if it is the C-level executive or the entry-level technician working on your business, you’re paying the same amount. In fact, you may be receiving a team of professionals for the same cost as hiring one marketer in-house. Which leads us to…
“We could hire an entry-level person to do it instead.”
You certainly could employ a fresh college graduate to work on social media in-house. However, strong social media talent comes with experience and know-how to adapt to a field with constantly changing trends. Besides, it will probably be no time at all before someone in the office starts handing this individual other completely unrelated tasks to complete. Also keep in mind the implied costs of training, researching, and time lost while learning how to fix issues or become familiar with a new platform.
Many decision-makers are still unaware of the potential of social media as a traffic generator. By building a following on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you can expose yourself to a wide audience and share articles and other content that will give viewers a reason to click through to your website. Dedicating the time to building a large following that can significantly boost traffic is just not possible for some companies. Social media managers will have the experience, strategies, and resources to accomplish these goals. We can find relevant followers and even post the content needed to keep them coming to back to your website.
Social Media Is More Than Numbers
Social media is about engagement. You want to build relationships with your viewers and earn their trust and loyalty. There are countless articles written that cover this, and I want to only touch on the fact that in most cases, active and organic social media engagement will lead to more fans and followers on its own. While numbers are important, it is also how you achieve those numbers that is equally important. You have to decide if you have the time and capacity to create new content, respond to inquiries promptly, take advantage of interactions as they happen, and stay up to date on trends as they change daily.
I want to take this moment to mention that there are services available where you can pay to amass thousands of free followers. If all you are looking for are the numbers (followers, likes, etc) you are doing your business a disservice. Please do not take this approach. I’ll briefly explain why:
The companies that provide this service are typically located overseas, in regions such as the Middle-East and Africa, far away from where you may do business. You will get the follows/likes you paid for, but they will be from fake accounts or from people that do not truly exist or like your product. To add insult to injury, any future paid promotions or posts you create may be promoted to these accounts (your fake followers!). What a waste to pay to expose your post to 100 people and all of the ones that receive your paid promotion are fake accounts located overseas that you already paid to like your page. See where this is going? This is difficult to undo, by the way, and we see it happening all of the time. If you’d like more information on this topic, you can check out the article I have written about this here.
Most amateur in-house social media reps are not aware of these scenarios and many businesses have fallen victim to their own ignorance.
Advantage Over the Competition
Despite its increasing popularity, social media marketing is a channel that many businesses have yet to adopt and the ones that have generally take the “anyone can do it” approach. By hiring a marketing manager, you can gain that all-important competitive edge, establishing yourself as the number one brand in your niche and begin capitalizing on an audience that competitors have yet to discover. Moreover, Google now recognizes social media ranking factors, which means that a popular and well-exposed brand on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites may boost your search ranking, giving you a further advantage over the competition.
As new technologies are created and trends change, it will require an individual or team of individuals with proper experience and know-how to exercise social media marketing and engagement to its full potential.