Social media marketing is more important than ever for a business. Follow these tips for finding the right social marketing service.
Studies have shown that over half of all shoppers are turning to the internet to research products or services before buying. Over 80 percent of shoppers trust the recommendations of a friend over those of an expert or the claims of a company itself. Social media has become the most common place for people to get those recommendations as well as learn about other people's interests and opinions. As a result, it's important for businesses to create and maintain an active online presence.
Types of social media marketing
Social media marketing covers a lot of ground, and each company has its own focus. In fact, most companies use more than one social media marketing service in order to get the best service or software for each task. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is decide exactly what you want out of social media marketing. Here are the main areas.
Social media monitoring and consolidation
The most basic of these services provide software that consolidates all your social media accounts into a single program so that you can view, post and answer from one window. It often allows scheduling of posts. In addition, most of these services provide analysis of your follower demographics, traffic sources and most popular posts. More advanced services also offer monitoring of keywords, such as your brand name, products or other important phrases. This lets you jump in on important conversations you may not have known about.
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Social media campaigns
Campaigns, whether you post them on your social media or use pay-per-click (PPC) ads, specifically inspire an action, whether that's signing up for a newsletter or making a sale. In addition to writing and scheduling posts and creating a landing page or way to connect a post to the action (such as a sale), you need a way to do A/B testing, track success of specific posts or campaigns, and make changes if a campaign is going sour. Some services only provide the software, while others take you from determining your key performance indicators to writing and monitoring the campaign for you.
This covers several angles: making sure your information is correct on business locators, designing campaigns or PPC ads that only target people in your area, and monitoring social media for posts in proximity of your store. This last one makes it easier for you to identify potential customers and entice them with offers or inspire them to follow your social media page by providing entertainment or information that interests them.
Some social media services concentrate on generating useful content, from memes to white papers, that you can post on your social media sites, emails or websites. The best of these services understand the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, how to utilize the best features of a specific venue (for example, hashtags on Twitter), and how to analyze and adapt to audience reaction.
How to choose the best social media marketing services
No matter what your social media marketing goals are, seek out companies with these capabilities:
Social media monitoring and analysis
The best social media marketing companies do an analysis of your company's social media engagement, how often your company or service is mentioned, and the sentiment of those mentions. They can give you a clear idea of your audience demographics – who follows your sites and, most importantly, who responds to your calls to action. This information is vital for successful campaigns.
When looking at software, check out the features that make it easy to schedule posts and respond to actions like someone following you, messaging you, or liking or sharing posts with specific keywords.
If you don't want to depend on a service for the rest of your business's life, then look for companies that offer tools and training to help your staff take over the duties themselves in time.
People increasingly use their mobile devices for reading, working and purchasing. Therefore, every campaign must be mobile friendly. Further, any programs you may use should have a mobile app to make it easier to use on the go.
Social media marketing works best when integrated with your other business systems. When people tweet about a purchase, they provide social proof that leads to more sales. Customers who complain on social media expect a rapid response, and if you have an idea of the customer's history (through CRM software), you increase your effectiveness. Therefore, the best social media marketing software integrates with your website, point-of-sale software, customer relationship management programs and other existing software.
The best social media marketing services not only offer easy-to-use software but also access to their tech support during your business hours at least. In cases where they are creating campaigns or content, their representatives should work with your sales and marketing staff and your website designers as needed to create a tailored campaign that addresses your needs and provide timely feedback.
Whether you have restaurant with just one location or a chain of retail stores, social media marketing, done well and consistently, can increase your sales and your potential fans.