Social media is arguably the single most powerful tool online marketers have at their disposal, and there's no arguing with it anymore. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a whopping 97% of businesses were using social media as a part of their marketing efforts.
Even though almost everyone is doing it, very few businesses know how to properly develop a strategy that builds brand recognition and grows business. In order to really harness the growth powers of social media, you have to properly strategize and implement.
The Power of Social Media
Social media offers numerous opportunities for marketers because of its potential for virality and targeting. Depending on how much information users are willing to give networking sites, it’s possible for these platforms to know everything about a person. Facebook is the best, often knowing highly detailed facts about users – such as where the person went to college, what age they are, what music they like, where they live, how much money they make, what their spending habits are, and more.
Combine the fact that social media sites know so much about users with the built in abilities to effortlessly share content and you can easily understand the value. But despite the fact that social media is conducive to marketing and growing a business, you still have to know how to take advantage of the resources in front of you.
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8 Tips for Using Social Media as a Growth Tool
Looking to tap into the value of social networking sites? Here are eight tips designed to help you grow and expand your business or brand.
- Actively build a community. It’s no surprise that the most successful businesses utilizing social media are the ones that find ways to build communities and highly-engaged groups. While it can be tempting to cast a wide net and target anybody who will listen, it’s much better to diligently pursue users that can add value to your community. These community members are much more likely to become advocates, supporters, and social sharers.
- Integrate elements into your site. There are plenty of capabilities built into the social networking sites themselves, but onsite features don’t limit you. There are a number of ways to integrate elements of social media into your website, blog, and landing pages. These include allowing social login, incorporating share buttons, and letting customers post reviews.
- Generate natural backlinks. Those in the digital marketing community agree that social media is one of the most effective ways to generate natural backlinks on the web. Brian Califano of SEMGeeks explains, “Social media is a mighty helpful tool in this instance, and when used correctly, it can have a huge impact on your link quality. With better links come better link placement, and with better placement comes the world new business.”
- Be original and provide value. It may take time to perfect the process, but you can expect to see results over time if you commit to posting original content, sparking conversations among followers, and encourage sharing.
- Pursue followers. In an ideal world, followers would come to you and latch on to your social profiles; however, the internet is anything but perfect. If you want to grow your customer base and expand your list of followers, you’ll need to pursue users in the beginning stages. There a number of tools designed to help you find followers, but remember to focus on quality over quantity by targeting users that will add value.
- Post regular content. The only way to consistently generate natural backlinks and keep followers engaged is to post regular content. Use the 70-20-10 rule, which says 70 percent of the content you post should add value to your brand and build brand recognition, 20 percent should be shared ideas, and only 10 percent should be promotional.
- Invest in visual content. Over the past few months, there’s been a pretty obvious shift in the marketing industry towards visual content. On social media in particular, visual content is preferred. You should invest in producing quality videos and engaging images to maximize the value of each post.
- Utilize Facebook PPC ads. While much of social media depends on organic strategies, there are also opportunities for accelerating growth through paid advertisements. Facebook is arguably the best place to start, as their advertising platform is incredibly sophisticated. It allows you to target users based on a number of criteria, including location, economic status, and buying habits, and you can choose whether to pay for each impression, click, or conversion.
- Measure your results. Finally, it’s important to measure all of your efforts and continually analyze your results. There are hundreds of third party apps and tools to help you in this area. Discover one that’s capable of measuring your specific goals and use it religiously to determine if your efforts are working.
Developing a Targeted Strategy
As a marketer or business owner, your ability to understand social media and use it as a growth facilitator will play a major role in how well you connect and engage with your market in the future. Use these eight tips to point you in the right direction and always keep an eye out for new opportunities.