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How to Scale a Business with SMM_blog

Marketing Tools — 14 Jun 2022

How to Scale a Business with SMM

Growth Hacks: Social Media Marketing as a Tool for Business Growth

We’ve no doubt that your business has a presence of some kind somewhere on social media, but are you using it to its full potential? If your Facebook page consists of a couple of image changes and the last post wished your customers a Merry Christmas in 2017, it’s time to up your game. 

Growing brands can harness the power of social media to enhance their sales, marketing, and customer service. The opportunities are there for the taking, but how you use them is up to you.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing refers to digital marketing carried out via social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Activities may include publishing relevant and engaging content, interacting with your audience, and running social media ad campaigns. 

With 3.6 billion people using such platforms in 2020 (and predictions of almost 4.41 billion doing so by 2025), social media marketing for businesses cannot and should not be ignored.

Here are just a few of the reasons why:

Social media fuels bottom-line growth

88 percent of small businesses believe their social media strategy positively influences their bottom line. 

In addition, a phenomenal 80 percent of US social media users say they’ve purchased a product after viewing it on social media networks. 

social media fuels
Source (sproutsocial.com)

Brand awareness is a top priority

58 percent of marketers cite brand awareness as their top priority when investing in social media marketing. With the rise of visual social media content, this is an easier digital marketing metric to measure than ever before. 

Also, because social media has a much greater audience reach than options such as email marketing, it organically enhances brand awareness. 

Choosing the best social media platforms to engage with your target audience increases your brand’s visibility too. When consumers start to see more of you on the social channels they frequent, they gain trust in your authenticity and purchases become more likely.

Social data isn’t being used to its full potential

Social media sites contain a wealth of valuable information that your business can use to create more relevant content. Customer listening marketing tools, for example, can deliver specific data about your target audience’s preferences. 

Aspects of social data you can monitor and analyze include:

  • User location
  • Biographical information 
  • Shared links
  • Customer service
  • Campaign performance tracking
  • Brand reputation  

For example, your business could use social data to create a social media advertising campaign that utilizes shared information about Christmas gift ideas. Precisely analyzing social data facilitates targeted social media campaigns, meaning you market only to people who are interested in your product and intend to buy it or something like it. 

This is much easier than trying to sell to a lukewarm audience. You can use tools such as Affise BI to make light work of data analysis for easier campaign planning.   

Younger consumers prefer visual platforms 

Your overall marketing strategy should be tailored to your audience. If you know most or many of them belong to a younger demographic, you’ll want to consider optimizing your content for visual opportunities. 

For example, 53 percent of creators on short-form video content channel TikTok are aged between 18 to 25 years old, demonstrating that visual content – in particular, content in video format – is important to and actively embraced by Millennials and Gen Zers. 

With nine out of 10 consumers in this age bracket reporting buying from brands they follow on social networks, your digital marketing strategy needs to contain a strong visual content element to have the greatest effect on your audience and encourage conversions. 

Consider using a partnership marketing platform to partner up with brands that are experts in their field to attract more of your target audience. Your brand potentially reaches more customers, and your partners have the opportunity to grow their brand authority too.  

visual platform

How to use social media for business growth

We’ve covered the “why” in the section above, so let’s now explore the “how”. Check out how your business can use social media marketing channels to grow using these actionable tips and strategies.

1. Choose your channels wisely

This is one of those occasions where less is more. Bombarding your audience on every social media channel known to man is overwhelming, unrealistic, and ineffective. Instead, concentrate your advertising on two or three channels that best fit your customer persona profiles. 

A strong digital presence on a couple of social channels with strong customer engagement is preferable to lots of social platforms with weak engagement. Social platforms to consider placing your marketing efforts on include:

  • Facebook ads
  • Facebook posts and polls
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn 
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok 

Try to create an online community on your chosen channels that thrives on the content you provide. Your approach should be no different from when you use content marketing strategies on your website. The content you deliver must engage and inspire your audience for them to trust your brand and convert. 

Content that’s shareable works especially well on social platforms, so try to create content that will spark emotion or interest when planning marketing materials for your followers. If they won’t want to show it to their friends, it needs to be better.  

2. Integrate social media into PR and marketing programs

For eCommerce businesses, having the ability to market your products through a range of advertising channels is key to business growth. A management platform such as Affise Reach extends your customer base through partnerships with reliable agencies, affiliates, and influencers globally.

You can use the following to integrate social media into your PR:

  • Understand trending social media topics
  • Connect with influencers
  • Build relationships with other businesses on social media
  • Use LinkedIn business connections to connect personally and professionally
  • Share your business’s history
  • Join Facebook groups and get involved with relevant conversations
  • Use trending Twitter hashtags and track conversations surrounding your brand

To head toward sustainable business growth and development, partnerships with trustworthy affiliates are essential. Utilize partnership and collaboration platform Affise Reach to partner up with confidence.    

marketing programs

3. Consistency in brand voice

Regardless of what social media channel you’re on, your brand’s voice should be consistent and recognizable everywhere. You will want to tailor the types of content for each social media channel though, as what’s relevant for Facebook isn’t necessarily right for Instagram, and it’s likely your audience there is different too. 

In addition, Facebook ad algorithms vary compared to LinkedIn, for example, so it’s a case of experimenting to find the best fit for your business goals and audience. That means tailored content with a consistent voice. 

Why use social media for marketing?

Now, without further ado, here are no fewer than 14 good reasons why you should be using social media as an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. 

1. It helps get the word out and generate brand awareness

Social media enables your brand to be right there in the thick of it with your followers. This slightly macabre tweet mentioning Urban Decay is a great example of how a company’s audience can interact with brands online.

brand awareness
Source (twitter.com)

This kind of exposure does wonders for a brand. Not only does it show Urban Decay’s makeup is car crash-proof, but the social team does a great job of embodying the personality behind the brand, which customers love, contributing to the rapid growth of the business. 

Partner marketing combined with social media further amplifies your business’ presence in the digital space. Affise Reach, for example, facilitates simple connections with your industry’s top agencies and networks. This enables the most relevant business partnerships for maximum exposure opportunities, driving high-quality website traffic and social media channel engagement. 

Data transfer platforms like CPAPI can even handle partnership and connection offers for you, so you can concentrate on growing your business’s brand and its day-to-day operations.    

2. There are no geographical restrictions

From the latest superfood smoothie recipe to how to craft the perfect bobble hat for your cat, anything and everything can be shared on social media. Much like ucaas solutions, which allow us to connect with colleagues and clients alike anywhere in the world, the accessibility of social media makes this form of marketing effective for promoting your business from and to anyone, anywhere.  

3. It reaches all ages and demographics

Research shows every age group spends nearly an hour a day on social media apps. So, regardless of the age of your target customer personas or their demographic, social media is where your business needs to be to be seen. 

Social media advertising allows you to effectively reach whichever audience you want to target. You can even specify exact demographics, behaviors, ages, professional statuses, and more to drive targeted traffic. 

Hyper-targeting your audience in this way exacerbates business growth in the right way because you’re attracting your most valuable potential customers to interact with your business and become loyal brand advocates.   

daily time spent on social media
Source (statista.com)

4. It encourages two-way communication

Social media offers a unique way to interact with your audience. There’s a wealth of tools such as customer polls and interactive questions you can use to ask for audience feedback. This means you can actively encourage customer comments to include in your social media strategy or easily gain valuable insights. 

To join the social media conversation, investigate what’s currently trending, respond to comments, and reply to questions. This establishes your business as an authority in your industry, encouraging consumers to contact you when they need questions answered. Increased communication with your brand strengthens audience relationships, leading to a rise in business and, therefore, revenue. 

Observing brand-related interactions enables you to understand behaviors and traits innate in your target consumers. Using these real-time social insights should shape your content, making it more engaging and giving you confidence that your approach is backed by data.

5. Users are active

The potential for customer reach on social media is significantly more than in brick-and-mortar stores. That hour a day (at least) your customers are spending on social media is time when you can be appearing in their social feeds and delivering your brand’s message. 

Active users of social media are highly susceptible to receiving brand information in this fashion. This audience thrives on commenting, liking, and sharing content on social media channels, so use this to your advantage.   

users

6. It reduces marketing costs

Organic traffic on social media is not as it once was, but you can still be heard on busy social channels. Capitalize on the low-cost social advertising offered by these platforms, which is considerably cheaper than big-budget conventional marketing options. 

As well as social media paid ads, explore avenues like Twitter for what’s basically a free email prospect list. All it takes is some time to connect with your industry’s businesses and/or customers, and you’ve got yourself a lovely list of connections to grow your brand. 

We don’t suggest you bombard these connections with tons of cold email marketing campaigns, but by all means, form good connections and build relationships organically. Get your business seen and heard by the right people by generating an eCommerce acquisition funnel to drive conversions.   

7. It lets you share a lot about your business

77 percent of consumers browse social media channels to seek inspiration and information about brands. This statistic demonstrates that customers see social media as their go-to source of information. Therefore, your social accounts are the place for new product launches, discounts, and business info. The more your business’s message is seen by relevant audiences, the higher the chance of engagement and sales.  

However, sharing information about your business shouldn’t be your entire marketing focus. Be sure to deliver valuable, industry-relevant content, and don’t constantly push for or force sales. Your audience engages with your content because it’s valuable to them; they don’t want hard-selling techniques on a platform they go to for entertainment and engagement. 

8. It improves your search engine rankings and online presence

Switch your social media channels settings to “public” to allow search engines to index your social activity. Search engine rankings aren’t solely based on your website’s content and optimization skills. They look at your digital presence as a whole, including your social media channels. Promoting your business’s message consistently across all digital pathways establishes trust with your friend Google. 

Solidifying your brand’s SEO is always a good marketing strategy and will work to enhance your website optimization further, driving more conversions and additional business opportunities. 

9. It helps you perform competitive analysis and learn about your rivals

Social media marketing is about more than your business’s digital presence. You should be looking at what your competitors are up to as well to identify any unexplored opportunities to grow your business.

Data is one of the tools an industry leader in enterprise cloud services future proof its business operations. It powers insights that help companies make better real-time decisions. In that principle, analyzing your rivals on social media can offer insights into:

  • Which social media platforms to use
  • How strong your competitors’ social media presence is 
  • How your competitors are using social media platforms
  • Potential competitor activities and causes for concern 
  • Gaps in your social media marketing strategy
  • How well your competitors’ social media strategies work 
  • The best times to post on social media according to your industry
  • Content ideas
  • Ways to differentiate you from your competitors 
social media

For example, you may hit the jackpot and come across posts on your competitor’s social media pages that are less than satisfactory, like a flurry of customer complaints with no responses. This might help you identify a need for your business to include better customer service in your marketing strategy and promote the hell out of this. 

Alternatively, if your companies offer market-leading services that customers on social media want but your competitors lack, you’d add those to your social media marketing strategy. An audio conferencing tool with an interactive voice response system feature that improves the management of incoming customer calls will set you apart from the competition.  

10. It enables you to provide exceptional customer service

47 percent of consumers cite fast response times as a factor in choosing one brand over another. We know that delivering excellent customer service and an exemplary experience is a no-brainer for your digital marketing strategy. Social media allows customer service to be taken to the next level again as it’s so easy to respond promptly.

Larger businesses have social media customer service setups to organize communications through all their social media channels. This allows them to address issues like customer questions, complaints, and refunds, typically via a call center-based team of agents. Scaling processes like these enables a business to grow and develop. 

Being there in real-time for customers who want to interact with your business on social media reinforces your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness too.    

11. It increases opportunities and delivers higher conversion rates

Consistent social media activity brings loyal followers to your brand like no other marketing method. The more of a following your brand has, the higher the chance of converting them into paying customers. 

One strategy to consider is using social proof on your platforms. You can easily utilize feedback to show new customers they should choose your business over its competitors. Social proof is a significant factor in conversions – nearly 70 percent of online shoppers read between one and six product testimonials before making a buying decision.   

12. It increases sales and profits

Social media offers numerous opportunities to increase sales, direct customers to your eCommerce website, and encourage them to purchase directly through social channels. 

If your business offers this omnichannel sales approach, then you’ll already be aware of the benefits of inventory management. When sales are flying in from all over the place, keeping track of your inventory is essential, which is a nice problem to have.

Interactions on social media platforms make people feel connected to your brand and like they know you personally. Especially if you’ve done a good job of your PR, you should come across as friendlier and more likeable than a company without a social media presence. 

When people feel they have a good relationship with your company, they’re more likely to become loyal customers and reward you with repeat purchases. A steady stream of new customers and plenty of repeat business leads to rapid business growth, increased sales, and better profits.  

sales and profits

13. You can gain more followers and become an influencer

To improve your business brand’s credibility and potential for growth further, strive to become an industry influencer. This marketing method is widespread on social media and works a treat to encourage consumers to become part of your loyal following. To be successful, your content marketing, social media posts, and follower responses must be spot-on. 

It’s not enough to throw content out there. To become an influencer, start conversations about interesting and even controversial topics to get the conversation flowing. Once it’s started, navigate your audience to your business’s website where they can learn more about your influencer activities. A well-written and maintained blog can provide more informative and fleshed-out content than you’re able to share in your social posts. 

When you’ve established an influencer funnel from your social media pages to your website and back again, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a thought leader in your industry. So that’s business growth and thought leadership – bonus! 

become an influencer

14. Learn more about your potential customers

Social media delivers pretty much everything you need to know about what your potential customers want and need from your brand. Without realizing it, your target market offers you invaluable data on how to improve your product and service offerings to increase conversions. 

eCommerce companies with Instagram-able products often encourage their consumers to post images of their purchases on social channels. These user-generated product images work similarly to customer reviews in that they provide valuable social proof for potential consumers as well as useful commentary on your products.  

Clothing brand ASOS even has a dedicated As Seen On Me Instagram account for consumers to upload their photos, with a neat straight-to-purchase link tool to encourage sales: 

potential customers
Source (instagram.com)

Conclusion

Social media marketing is a must-have for your digital marketing toolkit. To sum it up, it can grow your business by:

  • Increasing brand awareness, authority, and credibility
  • Improving search engine results
  • Providing cost-effective marketing strategies
  • Positively engaging with your target audience 
  • Gathering competitor insights 
  • Discovering what your customers want from your business
  • Increasing inbound traffic

Your social media strategy must be, above all, consistent. Identify where your customers are, pick your social channels accordingly, and post engaging content relentlessly. You can use social media calendars and/or business tools on social channels to plan your activity.

Your customers want to find you on social media. When they do, make sure they like what they see.  

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Richard Conn

Written by

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Check out his LinkedIn.