It is well worth your time and effort to build relationships with your audience on social. Here are three ways to achieve business growth through social media.
There are typically three types of companies on social media:
- The ones that spray a firehose of promotions and "me, me, me" content (of which there are far too many)
- The middle ground of companies that get social and keep an active, balanced presence, but don't really give people a reason to want to follow their brand
- And, finally, the holy grail of brands that really harness the power of social and build a relationship with their followers
It's no surprise that the first two types don't create an exceptional experience. They'll never experience the true value of social. On the other hand, companies that invest effort in their social strategies understand just how much power social media holds in establishing their brand and growing their business.
Social media levels the playing ground for companies of all sizes. Yes, it's true that big brands can make a larger investment, but smaller brands can also dedicate time to creating a unique voice and building human relationships with customers and prospects. And that's where the real value of social lies.
Here are three ways to achieve business growth through social media.
1. Build an executive presence.
Your executive team is the face of your company, so they should have a face on social media too. In fact, a report from Hootsuite and LinkedIn found that companies whose executives are active on social media have better overall brand perception.
Look at some of the masters, like Jason Fried of Basecamp or John Legere of T-Mobile, to see just how influential executives can be on social and what that does for their business. It's all about showing the humans behind your brand. Whether you're livestreaming your latest product launch or holiday party or commenting on the latest trends, you're providing a face for your corporation.
You don't make it to the C-suite without expertise, passion and a vision for your industry. It's time to share that with others. Not only will you begin to form a community around these topics and foster a discussion, but you will also catch the attention of experts in your space. Analysts, reporters and other industry insiders may begin reaching out to you for your opinion on these issues.
Social networks are all about building and interacting with a community. So, it's no surprise that executives who are active on social have an easier time recruiting a new hire, engaging with a potential investor or opening a conversation with a prospect – all leading to business growth.
2. Amplify with paid social.
If you're investing in social media marketing at all, you should have a paid social program. Organic efforts, though a required baseline, don't reach audiences the same way they used to. Social networks need advertising revenue, and unfortunately for brands, that means you need ad spend to make your social efforts more effective.
Paid social is most effective at generating leads and increasing brand awareness. To drive leads, think about campaigns that promote your gated content assets, such as webinars, case studies and e-books, or drive to a free trial, demo or consulting session on your website. To drive top-of-funnel traffic or create brand awareness, promote some of your most popular blogs, infographics, media hits or product reviews.
If your company is launching a new campaign or about to release a new product, you can prepare the market with an awareness campaign. Target your key influencers and prospective buyers with top-of-funnel, ungated content like blog posts or videos so that when you launch, your target audience will already be familiar with your brand and your value proposition.
3. Foster social proof.
Do you know who influences your prospects more than anyone else? It's without a doubt their peers. That's what makes social media so valuable for growing your customer base. If you can create a dialogue between you (meaning your brand as well as your executives) and your customers, that conversation will spread to new prospects and their networks.
Social proof is a highly effective and low-cost way to spur referrals for your product or service. Beyond staying active in social conversations, consider rewarding customers with a gift or discount for sharing their positive opinions with their social networks.
Be sure to make social sharing easy on your users – make links to your profiles visible throughout your website or product, create one-click sharing links within your content and emails, and ask customers to share their perspectives. Finally, bring these stories and testimonials beyond social and use them in your marketing collateral and on your website.
Remember the basics to reap the reward
There is always a new development in the social world as the latest network surfaces, another adds new features or another changes its algorithm. It's a lot for any marketer to keep up with. Remember the core purpose of social media – to engage with your community – and you'll be able to find success on any network.