The Importance of Social Media in a Successful Marketing Campaign

This is a guest post by Tim at HostPapa.

One would have to be blind not to see that social media networks have been some of the most successful performers on the Internet in the last few years. Say the word “Facebook” in nearly any part of the world and it will be recognized. In the past, the most commonly known words were Coca-Cola and “OK.” This is changing. With the combined technologies of high-speed Internet, cheaper laptops, and now the advent of smartphones, it is much easier for the average person to become involved with social media sites.

Naturally, companies both large and small see these as avenues for a new target audience that was previously unheard of. What may come as a surprise, however, is that while 66% of all companies have a Facebook page and 51% have a twitter account, a mere 16% say that their marketing efforts have been fully utilized and integrated into their existing campaign strategies! Take a look below to get a better idea of just where companies are with this process via this study from InSites Consulting and Marketing Profs:

social-media-importance

Most companies are still in the very early stages of taking this next step. Just as the “dot com” revolution is still being talked about, many believe that the social network revolution may provide companies with an opportunity to grow as never before. By taking full advantage of all the benefits social media has to offer, a company can expect to achieve three things.

Better Marketing Communications

Any marketing campaign is only as good as its effectiveness in reaching the client. As the saying goes, you can have the best product in the world but if the buyers are not located, it will remain a dream as opposed to a reality. One advantage that social media networks such as Twitter, Blogspot, MySpace and Facebook possess is that of cross-communication. In other words, much of the information is shared across different social sites. Why is this so important?

In the past, marketing strategies would target a certain audience based on the resources available. These days, however, if a company has a profile page on Facebook, for example, cross talk alone can generate interest, because of the fluidity of social media websites. Social media sites have helped do away with many geographical and communicative borders; companies who have listings with these sites can place themselves in a position where such communication can be just as effective as a targeted marketing campaign. In the same way, if one person subscribes to a certain company’s web page, it is likely his or her friends will see it and they, too may become interested. Qualified potential clients can come to the company rather than the other way around!

Higher Customer Satisfaction

When a company is seen as being active on social media sites, it has just established itself as having its proverbial “finger on the pulse” of modern society. In a very real way, people take notice and assume that the company has something to say, that it is part of the community rather than simply a static web page. By posting regular updates that subscribers can see, business can appeal to their tastes and, more importantly, that business also has the ability to follow trends and change strategies based on what the business – that means you – observe.

You will then be able to more accurately cater to your audience’s needs. In the past, a happy customer was a customer who could become a regular customer. Today, a happy customer or client has the ability to recommend your company to others in a similar target audience. The bottom line is simple: social networks can accomplish much of the work that in the past was allocated to the more traditional e-mail campaigns.

Stronger Financial Returns

This final factor should be the most obvious and, at the same time, the most motivating. It only stands to reason that with a larger target base, sales and publicity will naturally increase. One important thing to remember is that there are few if any costs when dealing with social sites. In the past, domain names came with a price tag. Even more relevant was the financial burden which often accompanied building a very good website (web design, maintenance, updates, etc). When a company takes advantage of social media, on the other hand, not only does exposure increase if done in the right manner, but also the financial obligation is little, if any. Add this along to user-friendly site designs and the ability to update within a few seconds, and we see the beginnings of a recipe for success, especially for the small business that may not have the funds available to invest in a major website refurbishment.

Why, then, are more businesses not taking full advantage of the tools in front of them? One of the issues is that many out there still consider the social media market a “niche” sector and haven’t fully implemented their campaigns to include social networking as a part of the overall strategy. Other companies state that not all of their employees are open to newer technologies. Still others just don’t have correct media policies in place; i.e. what can be said, how it can be said, the chain of command to approve updates…the list can go on and on. The main issue tends to revolve around the adaptation to changing technologies and sources of revenue.

According to the results of a survey, only 26% of companies believe that their employees should have sufficient social media training. Of those companies, only 29% had the training in place . Many corporations both large and small are still looking to physical client leads (e-mail generated, mail-shot, etc) as the main source of their revenue, though this figure is slowly changing. The main idea here is simple: because many larger businesses and corporations do not yet have plans or strategies fully worked into their social media audiences, the small and medium-sized business has the opportunity to take advantage of what can be termed a market vacuum.

Tips for Success in a Changing World

If you have something to say, people will listen. It should be more than a sales pitch; the Internet is already full of those! Instead, your posts should focus on your target audience while also demonstrating how much knowledge and experience both you and your company have.

Don’t forget, by posting on social sites you are adding a much-needed human aspect to how your company defines itself. If you present your ideas and approaches in catchy and unique ways, it is more likely that readers will continue to follow your page.

Take an active role! The key word in social networking sites is networking! If you or your company take no more than a phantom’s presence in your marketing approach, don’t expect to make many friends or retain any followers. The more active you are, the more comments you give, and the more feedback you provide, the stronger the relationships you will build with potential and existing clients.

Give regular updates. This is important: the more informed a client is, the more he or she will feel as if they are being directly catered to. This was mentioned in customer satisfaction but should be stated again. To give an update by copying and pasting a link to one of your new products takes no more than a few minutes. It does not require changing e-mail templates or calling that costly web designer to have him revamp part of your website. Don’t let the ease at which posts and updates can be performed detract from how important they are to communicate with clients and followers!

Use tag words as much as possible. Many social sites allow the poster to use these words on blogs and have these tags link directly back to your website. Once again, this shows how easy it is to increase web traffic at no cost whatsoever. With tighter SEO regulations from Google’s introduction of Penguin, it is now more important than ever to take advantage of keywords whenever possible.

In Conclusion…

Ultimately, what has been witnessed in the last few years may very well be the tip of a large technological and marketing iceberg. By eliminating costs and increasing exposure, social networking sites have opened the floodgates to both novice and professionals to use the tools they have to offer. The audience for these sites tends to be the younger to middle-aged generation, and if they can be exposed to your products or services, each one has the potential to be a costumer for years to come. Not only has marketing gotten much easier, it has never been cheaper or more efficient to reach out to as many people with as little effort.

By opening yourself up now to what advantages may lay ahead, you can get in on the ground floor of a project that looks set to become one of the most lucrative sectors in business in the 21st century.





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Comments

  1. says

    Nice article Tim!

    There’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that social media has become an integral part of online marketing. Right from the big companies to small ones, all are realizing that without going “social” it’s not easy to relay the right message to your target audience.

    Here are few tips that I think are important if you want to make the most out of social media and make your marketing campaign successful:

    1) People connect to people, so present yourself as a real person rather than a faceless corporation.

    2) Focus on giving extreme value because in the end, it all boils down to value.

    3) Work on making your followers/fans a part of your marketing campaign so that they spread the word about you.

    4) Be patient because like any other marketing tactic, even social media marketing takes time to give results. But as long as you are actively building your network, there’s no doubt that you will get great returns.
    Mustafa Khundmiri just posted The Art of Seducing Google with Great Content

    • says

      Thanks Mustafa for appreciating the article.

      No doubt, like any other media, social media takes time to deliver results. I think the penetration rate and conversions through social media are much higher than other modes of marketing strategies. Because through social media you make contacts with prospective clients, which provides a sense of security for them before buying anything.

  2. says

    Great tips on why social media is becoming increasingly important. One element I would add is that social media allows your potential customers to ‘consume’ you or to virtually get to know you before they have even picked up the phone, emailed or walked into your business. A great opportunity to build trust and credibility in advance of meeting someone.

    Adrian
    Adrian Swinscoe just posted This is not a social media manifesto….it’s much more than that

  3. says

    Even search engines are paying attention to what happens on social media. For instance if you write an article and then post on social media, more people liking it means that search engines likes it as well. The new Penguin update is paying more attention to social media as well. But one needs to be careful as well, interaction with the people is important rather than blindly using social media.
    Shalu Sharma just posted Tourist places in East India

  4. says

    Hi Tim,

    I do agree – The power of social media is undeniable. And with some of the business opportunities certain of these networks or channels offers in terms of free marketing and paid advertising to big and small businesses alike , it is no wonder so many people are turning to social media for a more successful marketing campaigns and in return, increased potential for business and exposure to targeted users.
    Anton Koekemoer just posted Branding yourself on the social web

  5. says

    You’re right, when it comes to social media, there’s no going back. Businesses hanging back, thinking it may just be another trend, are now adding it to their marketing. And they should. Social media can help them get personal with consumers, increase their exposure to audiences, get better rankings online, gather market research information, and we’re still discovering more benefits as we go. So many birds with one stone. And all marketing pluses that cost a lot less than they would have offline!!!
    Louise Mandar just posted 8 Steps On How To Write A Blog Post Fast ~ Infographic

  6. says

    As you indicate in this great post, there’s no going back. Businesses who have been unwilling, holding back thinking it was a phase are now adding SM to their marketing. They’d be negligent no to. It offers way too many benefits like the potential for personalized contact with consumers, greater exposure to audiences, greater online ranking, market research, etc. for so much less than what they’d cost offline.
    Louise Mandar just posted 8 Steps On How To Write A Blog Post Fast ~ Infographic

  7. says

    Social media is all about listening…….and then responding effectively. If you are not ready to listen in the first place, you can easily get the entire social media marketing wrong. There are several social media influencers from who we can learn the etiquettes, do’s and don’ts of social media and use the same to fine-tune our own strategies.

    Thanks.
    Faissal Alhaithami just posted 6 Twitter Tools to Help You Manage Your Followers

  8. says

    Even the fancy social media campaigns can be completely out of touch with the purpose. I want to buy sugar free Red Bull. I tweeted them asking where I can buy it. No reply at all. The purpose of marketing is to increase sales not to get followers and be seen as cool by your friends. Things like increasing followers are useful IF then lead to increased sales. When you ignore direct sales because you are too busy being cool you don’t get social marketing.
    John just posted My New Book: Management Matters

  9. says

    Great article. I would also like to add when trying to connect to people, try to make a 3 to 1 policy. In other words, for every 1 company pitch you make, try to make 3 human connections. This will go a long way to making your twitt or Facebook feel more real.

    Fans are thrilled to hear how the rain made you late too or your son made the winning touchdown. Then when you announce the breakthrough on a product it sounds more natural. The coupon you throw out sounds like a celebrations.
    Luther just posted Introducing Facebook Stories – The Social Site You’ve Never Seen!

  10. says

    Social networks started as simple communication tool between friends and transformed into a monster with huge power which able to create and change industries and even countries and most of all transforming people’s lives.
    Mark Hunt just posted How To Cure Sciatica