Social media is proving to be the single most transformative method of marketing for small and medium-sized businesses due to its accessibility and ability to reach an unprecedented number of consumers. However, managing accounts on these platforms can be difficult, especially considering that many owners are inexperienced with the concept of growing a brand in 140 characters or less.
An effective social media presence can help an SMB become established as a thought leader within its industry, and drive traffic to its home page. Generally speaking, the impact of a marketing campaign is measured by noticeable increases – or decreases – in sales figures, and transactions primarily take place on a company’s website.
Therefore, social media accounts should offer thoughtful and engaging content that will grab a reader’s attention and compel him or her to learn more about the organization or its products and services, which drives website traffic.
But not all social media platforms are created equally, and each individual business’s needs will vary depending upon industry trends and target audience interests. A photography company, for example, may find that Pinterest is more useful than Twitter due to the former’s visually oriented nature and the latter’s quick-hitting textual setting. On the other hand, a local retailer or restaurant might be best served by establishing a strong presence on Facebook or Instagram due to those platforms’ ease of interaction with consumers. For companies that are more professionally oriented, LinkedIn can be a great tool for connecting with prospective clients and establishing thought leadership by posting insightful articles.
It’s important to keep in mind that no matter which social media platforms a small business adopts, the end goal should always be focused on generating interest in a website.
Below are some tips to best synchronize your organization’s presence and brand voice on both social media and your own site:
1. The key word is complementary
Small Business Trends noted that while an effective social media campaign leads consumers directly to the company’s website, the reverse should also be true. Websites should occasionally showcase posts from social media, while providing links to those accounts for further accessibility, the source said. Each medium in a marketing strategy should serve to complement its counterparts, rather than act as a distinctly separate entity. Improving the organization’s brand voice through a strong, consistent brand voice that resonates with the audience is important, and this can be achieved most successfully when each extension of the marketing team conveys the same message.
2. Social media gives you free exposure
Debra Carpenter wrote in an article for The Huffington Post that for most startups, the hardest part of building a customer base is gaining and retaining the first 100 regulars. After that point, she said, sustainable growth becomes more manageable and a business is more likely to be successful in the long term.
When building a recurring – and presumably loyal – customer base, branding and exposure are crucial. This is where social media comes in – it’s an effective platform for interacting with potential clients, and it’s inexpensive in comparison to other marketing practices. Carpenter stressed the importance of developing a recognizable brand online, and social media can help shape this identity in the minds of consumers.
3. Lead, don’t follow
Thought leadership is a term that is commonly thrown around in the marketing industry – and for good reason. Businesses with consistent and memorable online content will generally be viewed as experts in their particular fields, and Carpenter suggested that consumers are more likely to trust such organizations. Establishing your company as an expert or thought leader can set you apart from your peers within the industry and increase the chances that the average consumer will turn to you when in need of the products or services you offer.
While it’s critical to demonstrate your expertise on social media, producing a blog containing industry news and analysis can further cement your status as a thought leader. Bridging the gap between social and Web content makes online marketing more effective – a Facebook post of Tweet containing a link to new blog posts can drive traffic and increase the chances of successful transactions taking place.
Social media is no longer just a distraction for teenagers who are bored in class. It is an imperative part of a successful marketing campaign, and should serve to strengthen your brand. Perhaps the most important aspect is to make sure that the voice established in your social media posts is reflected in the content on your website, and you should aim to create a positive and memorable experience for customers when interacting with them online.
Social media platforms can be extremely effective in exposing a company to a massive potential customer base, and this is a vital part of building a resonant brand.