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How to harness the marketing power of social media

Sit at any train-station, bus-stop, café, or even just take a walk around your local town centre and you won’t have far to look before you spot them…

Necks craned, smart-device in hand, craving their latest fix of social media interaction and satisfying their appetite on the fly: But this behaviour isn’t unusual: In fact, it’s become the norm.

Social Media - Selfie Taking
For a large chunk of the populace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have become daily, even hourly distractions (some users might even go as far as to regard their smart-devices as veritable ‘life support systems’).

But aside from being mere forums to share funny videos of cats, carefully-crafted selfies, or snapshots of tasty-looking meals, social networks can be a seriously powerful resource for businesses that are looking to reach – and better engage with – a wider audience.

Aside from the obvious benefit of extending your brand’s reach, you’ll also be able to enjoy a far wider range of perks, provided that you make effective use of an active array of social media accounts in a persistent manner.

Let’s take a look at three aspects of social media marketing which you can exploit to your advantage:

Leverage social media to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your brand

Think about it: Few marketing forces are as powerful as good old-fashioned word-of-mouth: If a friend or family member recommends a business, chances are you’ll value that recommendation far more than a bunch of strangers’ testimonials, or the sales-oriented blurb which tends to comprise many firms’ website content these days.

If you are smart, you’ll make good use of social media to engage with your audience: The trick here is that, by their very nature, social networks enable friends, family, colleagues and other close acquaintances within an individual’s circle to easily share information – and recommendations with one another.

If you can transform your users into advocates for your brand online, you’ll have reached a valuable milestone in unlocking the full potential of social media as a marketing tool.

In order to do this, you need to actively engage with customers new and old: Be helpful, offer something of value to them via the social networks and also seek to address complaints or negative comments swiftly and effectively.  If you treat your customers right and manage to build up a good rapport with them across the social networks, you’ll soon see the value of each ‘like’, ‘tweet’, ‘share’, etc. start to add up and come together to make your brand stronger and more trustworthy in the eyes of your audience.

Use social media to boost your search engine rankings

You can’t ignore the fact that social media is everywhere: And neither can the search engines.

Google and the other major players are constantly revising their algorithms to ensure that their results are accurate, relevant and sit in-line with the way that people use the web.  If you are not active on the social networks and want to improve your search engine rankings, what are you waiting for?

Of course, like all search engine optimisation work, simply setting up a few accounts and making a post once in a while isn’t going to make much of an impact: But by harnessing the technology effectively – i.e. ensuring that you make frequent, engaging posts/tweets/pins, etc. and make an active effort to connect with and expand your audience, you might be surprised to see just how effective these interactions are with regards to improving your rankings.

Make your brand more accessible

Rather than coming across as just another faceless entity in a sea of impersonal organisations, the mere act of connecting with your audience via social media networks helps to instantly make your brand seem more accessible, human and personally invested in developing relationships with its customers, in the eyes of your audience.

Still not sure if social media marketing is going to be useful for your business?

If those three reasons weren’t enough to encourage you to step up and get social media working for your business, pause for a moment to consider your competitors…

What if your competitors are not using social media?

If rival brands do not have a potent social presence, you might be forgiven for thinking: ‘Happy days!’ and putting your feet up: But this would not be a particularly savvy decision.  In fact, this type of discovery should be a motivating factor which should spark you into action – after all, such good fortune doesn’t always fall into ones lap so easily;  This is your chance to gain the upper hand and rise above the competition, by using social media marketing to the fullest, in ways that your competitors have yet to exploit.

What if your competitors have a head-start when it comes to social media?

The very fact that rivals to your brand have an active presence on social media is all the more reason for you to get started.  In a way, it can be an advantage, as this allows you to gain valuable insights into their customer base, how they interact with their users and more: By taking note of this information and developing a strategy to compete with your rivals on the social front, you might even be able to turn their head-start into a valuable analytical tool for your business.

For example, imagine you spot a series of complaints on a rival firm’s social account about certain aspects of their operations: e.g. ‘Your services are unreliable’, or ‘This firm’s products are overpriced’: You could seize this opportunity to target such disgruntled individuals with messages about, for example: the reliability of your services, or the great value of your products – this ability to turn your competitors losses into your gains is a great advantage of using social media to glean priceless nuggets of information about your target market.

Crank up your social media marketing machine!

As you have just read, social media marketing can a force to be reckoned with when it comes to promoting your brand online: But remember, a lot of research and hard work will be required to make the whole endeavour worth your time – when it does pay off, you’ll wonder just why you haven’t started sooner…