Gone are the days when an ad in the Sunday newspaper was a guarantee for an influx of customers. Today, all the customers are online, and they don’t just want ads – they want information.
Eighty-four percent of B2Bs use social media marketing. Although it may not seem like every business needs a social media presence and a standout content marketing strategy, that’s simply not true in today’s business world.
22.69 million people in Canada were on social media in 2017, with the majority of those users spending time on Youtube and Facebook. Now, Instagram is also on the rise with its creative platform, stories, influencers and bloggers - the average person will spending an average of 32 mins per day on Instagram only. That’s a huge client base right there.
You may sell a service or a product and wonder if you even need to be on social media. Maybe you have a page, but you don’t post information or even ads regularly.
Though social media is a new horizon for business owners, it’s one every single business needs to learn and master its many particularities to succeed.
Why Social Media Marketing?
Almost all (91%) Canadians use at least one social media network. Fifty-one percent of smartphone users found a new company while using their device. Do these numbers sound convincing? Now let’s look at a few other important points on why social media marketing is crucial for any business.
1. Social media can take your prospects and customers directly to where you want them to go - your product or service, booking, shop, or order page - with one click.
2. Social media brings more traffic to your website, which boosts its position in search engines like Google. Say you sell handmade organic soaps. The more people visit your website, the higher others will find your site when they search for “homemade organic soaps.” This means more business you didn’t even need to pay to reach.
3. Social media makes you more presentable and interactive with your prospects and customers. You can get input, put out a poll, and even reply to comments on social media. Being able to communicate back and forth with your customers helps them develop a relationship with you and a connection with your product or service. Think about the community you can create around your brand – the events, privates groups, newsletters, and many other activations that can therefore come out of it!
4. You will find customers out of your regular networks. Some people may be searching for a service or product online only, and you could be missing them if you don’t have a strong and appealing social media presence. You will be surprised to realize how many customers are lurking in groups, events, and pages on social media. One recommendation in a large group or network, or sharing a link to your latest content, could spell the difference between a killer month or a bust.
We’re currently loving Facebook private groups because they gather a much stronger sense of community. There’s a sense of belonging and exclusivity. Think about how you can create one of those groups for your brand, or join one to connect with fellow entrepreneurs or people sharing a similar interest!
5. You can use social media for actual marketing. Networks such as Facebook allow you to pay to “sponsor” a post to reach a targeted audience. In fact, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. It’s extremely inexpensive compared to traditional marketing, and it’s even more successful.
6. People trust social media. That may sound crazy, but consider that instead of seeing your social media page as another salesy ad, they see it as valuable information. You, of course, include a link to your product or service in the content, and it becomes trusted marketing – just like that.
However, remember that people need to gain value from following you as a brand. Always orient your content to EDUCATE, INSPIRE, or give an INSIGHT.
7. Everyone’s doing it. While this isn’t always a good reason to do something, most businesses that are slow to jump on social media are doing so because they realize their competitors are. Simply, don’t be a dormant brand!
Social Media Success: In It for the Long Haul
A social media network and following can’t be built in a day, or even a month. It takes a long time to build a solid social media following, but it pays off in the long term in sales and lifelong customers that trust your brand. Here are some tips to building a social media presence.
Be original. Speak to your people. Not the people who don’t get you or your brand, but the people who say, “Woah, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
Target your audience. Most social media networks allow you to optimize your posts and even pick your target audience when optimizing, giving you more bang for your buck.
Optimize. Social media allows you to schedule posts and pay to boost or sponsor them, putting them right in front of your target audience.
Create goals and a calendar. It may take up to 12 hours per week to develop a strong social media strategy. Spend that time wisely by creating daily, monthly, and weekly goals and measuring their success. Many find creating an editorial calendar – a schedule of when they will post and promote new content – especially helpful.
Post informational content, not sales ads. Your potential customers don’t need to see another ad; they need to see why your brand solves their problem best, so focus on information rather than sales pitches.
So you have your social media strategy and you’re ready to make big bucks off of a few posts a week. Not so fast. Social media brings a mix of short- and long-term success. While a post may bring in ten new sales, the real gold is in the content. If the post creates a connection with new customers, they will turn into lifetime customers. They may not purchase now, but you are slowly building a relationship and credibility. On social media, people may even share your post before purchasing. On average, a social media strategy takes 6 months to pay off, so plan for the long haul.
The truth is your business needs social media to survive, and there is a lot that goes into that: good graphics, great writing, a consistent flow of updates, and useful information – all targeted to your audience.
Content Marketing Is Essential for Every Brand
Everyone knows a business does one main thing: it solves a problem for a customer through its products or services. A good part of marketing demonstrates to the prospective customer that they have a problem that you can resolve for them.
So you have the solution to their problem, and you have the information they need to know to understand their problem. Great. Now, how do you tell them that?
This is where social media comes into play. Most brands on social media post informational content – content that is geared towards what they produce or provide. Buyers need to be reminded of the “why” behind their purchase – and that’s where content creation comes in.
In today’s world, with information at everyone’s fingertips, your customers can quickly turn into someone else’s customers. That’s why it’s important to keep them updated on your business and remind them why they still need your product, and not your competitor’s. There’s no better way to do that than on the media they’re on every day – social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
People don’t need to be reminded of your service or product; they need to be reminded that they need it.
For example, a shoe company may post informational content about the importance of wearing correctly fitted shoes, a how-to guide on buying the right shoes, or an overview of different shoe materials. In that content, they will include links to their shoe products that are mentioned in the article.
The potential customer comes for the information, and stays for the product or service. Content marketing makes the customer feels like they’re gaining useful information rather than reading a sales ad.
Social Media and Content Marketing Payoff
Even though it may take time to get a loyal following on your social media, it does pay off. Over half of marketers report that after two years of using social media, they saw an increase in sales, and 90% say it has increased their business exposure.
You may want to hire someone to help you with your platforms if social media isn’t your thing. There’s a number of social media agencies in Montreal that can take all the guesswork out of social media and content marketing for you.
In addition to a social media presence, you need solid content. The majority of B2B businesses spend 28% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Content creation is on the rise, especially on social media. On Facebook alone, content consumption has increased 57% over the last two years.
When asked what inbound marketing channels business marketers plan to use this year, 48% said Youtube, 39% said Facebook Video, and 33% said Instagram. If you aren’t already investing time and resources into content marketing and building up your social media network, it’s time to jump on board.
Although diving into the world of social media and content marketing may seem daunting, there are a lot of resources to get you started. Social media has changed the game from high to low stakes with inexpensive, fun, and easy marketing. Focusing on content rather than advertising changes the aim of your marketing to a more gentle, informative approach. Social media and content marketing agencies exist to help you get in the game and grow your business on social medial. And the best part is, it works.
From your favourite Montreal social media team,