Social media is a part of nearly everyone’s daily life. These days, only 21% of Americans do not have a social account on at least one platform. However, even those who do not use social media know that it is extremely influential in the way that we communicate in the modern world.
Marketers understand this, too. 90% of all brands use social media in some form for advertising, and most businesses plan on increasing their usage and budget for this type of marketing in the near future.
But the real question is:
Exactly how useful is social media marketing in terms of driving in leads that actually convert?
You have probably come across some business accounts on social media that are a bit lackluster – whether they rarely post or their content is boring, cheesy, or totally irrelevant. Furthermore, many marketers are still not totally sure how to measure the ROI of social media marketing.
There is no doubt that social media is a key player in the marketing mix these days – so how can you make sure that you are getting the most out of these platforms to generate more leads?
Understand Its Place in SEO
Many marketers do not realize that social media does influence SEO – to some extent. While Google has never outright said that social media is a ranking factor, there seems to be some evidence that shows that it plays a role in SEO.
First of all, Moz’s latest report found that a little over 3% of local organic ranking factors came from social media signals – particularly engagement rates. While this number is relatively small, it still plays a role. Plus, that number could easily change since many consumers use social media to discover brands and products.
Social media can also provide another key part of the SEO mix in terms of reviews. For example, customers can write reviews directly through a business’s Facebook page – and these ratings often show up on ‘Google My Business’ accounts.
Reviews can have a major impact on your organic search rankings. For example, shortly after the online jewelry retailer The Pearl Source started integrating reviews from Google-licensed platforms across their website, they saw a significant lift in rankings. This did wonder to draw in higher traffic numbers and helped to increase conversions.
Social media is the breeding ground for user-generated content (UGC). In the online business world, reviews are among the most valuable pieces of UGC. As time goes on, it’s a fair assumption that reviews on social media – and other credible platforms – will play a big impact in pulling in interested traffic via search.
Use it for Content Ideation Research
Social media can also be an excellent resource for you to get a “finger on the pulse” of your audience and see what kind of content is resonating. You can use social platforms as a form of keyword research by seeing what topics are trending, which hashtags are attracting engagement, and what types of posts are being shared by your target audience.
Obviously, videos are a major indication of the type of content that is really resonating with audiences – since they tend to receive high engagement rates in terms of views, shares, and likes. Be sure that you are keeping tabs on video platforms – like YouTube or Instagram’s IGTV – to gain inspiration that can be used within your own content.
Adjust Your Branding Slightly for Each Platform
The way your brand interacts on Facebook or Twitter should be different than talking to your LinkedIn audience. Your audience changes from platform-to-platform, and so should your content creation and tone.
Pew Research’s report show just how varied social platforms can be. For instance, YouTube caters more towards younger men, whereas Facebook is more popular among women, particularly in the 30-49 age group.
Be mindful of the purpose behind each platform and the intent behind why a potential customer uses them. For example, customers would be more likely to use Facebook to check out reviews for businesses, whereas they might use Instagram to discover new brands and YouTube to see how products work.
You can see a great example of this from Chipotle, who adjusts their content from platform to platform.
On Twitter, they are funny and on-trend, catering to an audience that appreciates humor.
On the other hand, their YouTube account explains how ingredients are made and show the farmers they source from. This works to create content that is insightful and educational – since people often go to this platform to learn something.
Focus on Building Engagement and Loyalty
While you can use social media as a sales channel – thanks to new features like buyable posts, the ultimate goal of this platform is to build engagement and encourage loyalty and advocacy.
As mentioned before, Google looks for engagement rates as a ranking signal – so clearly, engagement is incredibly important.
We know that social media has become a way for customers to connect with brands one-on-one, especially when they have an issue or a question. It is also a place for them to share their experiences (both positive and negative) with their own “audience.” It also allows customers to form emotional connections with the businesses they love – which directly impacts retention and customer lifetime values.
So, you should always be searching for new ways to cultivate engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. Responding to comments is just one way to do this, but you can also incentivize engagement in clever ways.
For example, Tarte Cosmetics rewards their customers with loyalty points for sharing content on their personal social media, which can be cashed in for free products.
You can also see that their social media pages themselves are highly engaging with content that elicits responses or gets people involved to participate in giveaways.
This not only encourages its customers to share UGC on social media, but it also keeps them coming back to the company’s social pages. It works to keep the brand fresh in their mind, which means that they are more likely to return as customers in the future.
It’s pretty crazy to think about how much social media has changed since it first appeared on the internet. Who would have thought that a website you used to connect with friends would one day be a major marketing and sales channel for businesses around the globe?
Failing to utilize social channels to their fullest extent is a huge mistake. So, be sure to try out some of these tips to optimize your brand’s presence on social media and increase sales and revenue from these networks.