Social media isn’t going anywhere. A whopping 65% of Americans use social media sites, according to Pew Research Center, and usage spans all age groups. Globally, at the start of 2015, there were more than 2 billion active social media accounts, and 1.6 billion mobile social accounts. So it’s a key part of any company’s marketing and conversion optimization strategy. Here are some of the reasons why social media has become the workhorse that underpins everything.
1. Build Brand Awareness
If you want people to know your brand, social media is one of the best places to tell them. A good starting point is to harmonize your presence across networks by using the same avatar and cover image everywhere. Fail to do that and your social media outposts start to look a little neglected, as Julie Neidlinger points out:
“When it’s clear the owner of social properties hasn’t bothered to update, change, and unify the appearance–or even keep things in line with what new network updates require–it makes people a bit less likely to get involved.”
And you definitely want your audience to get involved. To make that even more likely to happen, use the tools built into each network to connect and share. That means taking part in hashtag chats on Twitter, and participating in discussions related to your brand on Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora. For example, Constance Hotels and Resorts increased reach by 700% via a Facebook campaign encouraging fans to share their memories of the location.
Learn how Constance Hotels and Resorts dominated social media by viewing the slides above.
2. Create Brand Personality
If you want people to not just know your brand but like it, social media helps there too. After all, you can connect there with far more people than you’d ever be able to meet in person, so it’s a great way to show your personality, with stories, images, personal experiences and more.
Don’t be afraid to do this, as even companies in seemingly unexciting niches have done it well. For example:
- General Electric has made appliances sexy
- Container shipping company Maersk has won awards for social media use. It’s social media sites feature great pictures and a no-sell approach.
- Amex has created a community to give business advice to its users.
— Grammarly (@Grammarly) April 12, 2015
3. Deliver Customer Service
Two-thirds of us check out social networks to get customer service, but many companies aren’t delivering. The stats show that just over half of questions on Facebook get a reply from the company, and that drops to a woeful 20% for Twitter. Overall, it can take up to 27 hours to get a response. That means a lot of unhappy customers, since people expect a response within an hour.
One of the reasons that social media works for customer service is that as well as messaging people privately, you can also post solutions publicly so everyone can benefit. Doing this can pay off for your business. A study by Bain & Company shows that when companies engage with customers, those customers spend up to 30% – 40% more.
To use this strategy effectively, says GrooveHQ, work out where your customers want to engage with you, monitor those accounts so you can quickly respond to mentions, get the tone right and know when to take it offline.
4. Reach and Interact with Influencers
Every now and then you check your social media stats and get a surprise. Someone influential has reshared your content, putting it in front of a whole new audience. But that kind of interaction doesn’t have to be a surprise. If you’re creating content that matches influencers’ interests, social media is a great place to let them know about it and get a discussion started.
To help with that, you’ll need a couple of tools. These include:
- Tools like Klout and Klear (formerly Twtrland) which easily identify your influencers
- Twitter tools that help you build social engagement
- Influencer marketing tools
If you subscribe to influencers’ newsletters, you can also use email-based tools like Full Contact, Sidekick and others to follow and respond to their social media activity, and to let them know when you’ve shared something that’s likely to interest them.
Influitive allows companies to mobilize their army of advocates. Let us know what tools you use for influencer marketing in the comments below!
5. Provide Social Proof
People love to feel that they’re participating in something others love. That’s the whole psychology of social proof. Social media is one way to provide that proof. When you visit a site that has tens of thousands or millions of fans, that says something about the site’s authority and reputation. While you don’t want to collect fans for the sake of it, if the numbers look good, don’t be afraid to shout about them. In the Betfair case study in this article, the company found that showing social proof increased conversions by 7%.
You can also use social media to show what people are saying about your company, product or services. Relevant updates from real people will enhance your reputation.
6. Improve SEO
As well as increasing authority with your customers, social media sharing increases your visibility in search results. That’s because it provides another signal to search bots that external sources find your content relevant and trustworthy. And the more people share, the more that signal is amplified. That’s the reason that we see the same sites appearing near the top of search pages time and again.
Social Media Examiner offers several tips for using social media to improve SEO, including making your content public so people can share and search for it, using keywords in posts and creating local listings.
7. Learn about your Customers
You can’t beat the customer insight you can get from social media. With most sites including some type of analytics, it’s easy to find out more about the people you most want to connect with. Use social media insights to flesh out customer personas so you can target and microtarget content for even more relevance. Here’s some advice on using data from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to improve conversions, which brings me to my next point.
Bonus: Improve Conversions
If you use all the tips in this article, you’ll have a better social media presence optimized so you can:
- provide shareable content that boosts reputation and SEO
- tells your target audience what you have to offer and sends them back to your site.
- increase the likelihood that people will follow through on your calls to action and take up your offer.
Learn more about improving conversions with social media here.
What’s your best social media tactic?
Read other Crazy Egg posts by Sharon Hurley Hall.