It goes without saying that the global influence of Social Media is more visible than it was ten years ago. There now seems to be daily mentions of the different social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the news, whereas ten years ago, still in its infancy, Myspace and Friendster formed the dominant part of Social Media. Today, it is common for TV producers to use hashtags to promote their shows and with an estimated 135,000 new users signing up to Twitter every day (statistics here), businesses are gradually understanding the hidden potential of marketing through Social Media.
The common link between the various forms of Social Media is that users are able to publicly interact with other users, sharing content such as images and videos, which can in turn build online communities of similarly minded individuals. Users seek existing friends and new contacts who share interests, perpetually engaging in topics and conversations about activities, but also about products. In his 1996 novel “High Fidelity”, Nick Hornby says that “what really matters is what you like, not what you are like”, and through Social Media, this has never been more appropriate. Businesses can benefit from recognising the “social” aspect of Social Media, and engage customers as equals, gaining followers and “brand champions”, further increasing the reputation of their brand online.
“Many companies think of their Website as being the centre of their online brand’s universe. But more and more consumers use Social Media sites as a starting point for accessing information about products and promotions, gathering customer feedback, voicing opinions and seeking customer service.” (Jeremy Dedic, Rightpoint)
How can Social Media help my business?
Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be a uniquely modern way of establishing your brand on the internet. However, too many still fall into the same trap, by constantly promoting their products rather than using being “social” on social networking sites. The traditional marketing “push” mentality enacted by companies using Social Media can have its benefits, but they tend to be limited in comparison to a well realised engagement programme.
Linking social profiles to your website allows users to easily find your business online, but in itself, doesn’t necessarily increase your online presence. This is where the shareable side of Social Media is most useful. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook give you a great platform from which to promote quality links, images and videos, helping your business maintain a significant online presence. In promoting your business, however, don’t forget that social sites are not just a form of free advertising. It is important to interact with followers, engaging in conversations and sharing their content as well.
Interaction through Social Media is direct conversation with customers and followers, which in turn builds stronger customer relationships, increases sales and online brand recognition. Businesses can benefit by identifying the key people driving the important conversations, and then engage and manage, with activity trail, to build brand champions through Social Media engagement. The transparency given to businesses by communicating through the public channels of Social Media can help to build consumer trust where traditional paths of marketing and customer service may have failed.
Why update a website?
It no longer makes sense to create a website if it’s not going to be integrated with social networks, as it can be a great way of keeping consumers informed about events, promotions, and news related to your business or your industry. However, in order to take full advantage of the access to potential consumers offered by social networking, offering smooth transitions across existing digital platforms including your website, is essential.
Adding social buttons to a website, using simple WordPress plugins or basic HTML coding, helps existing visitors to the website to share content easily within their social networks and thereby increasing traffic to the site in question.
Search engines also incorporate data from retweets, Facebook likes, and Google+s to help determine their search ranking algorithms. Search marketing integration combines the disciplines from both traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing. In the past, companies have just worked on gaining inbound links to help boost SEO; but increasingly Social Media plays a growing role in the way that searches are optimised. Both of these methods should be about creating quality content, building trust, and establishing your brand.
Creating a social networking presence without building easily navigable links on your website is a recipe for failure. Creating an established online presence comes from integrating businesses’ existing media, and that shared publicly via Social Media; helping to boost the accessibility and increasing the shareability of your brand.
At Social Media Brand Experts, a dedicated Social Media agency, we see the increasing influence of how optimising websites for Social Media can help boost online interaction with brands. Dedicated to all things social, we provide the experience, knowledge and expertise coupled with our subsidiary company Those Brand Guys, to design and build websites fit for social networking, in order to help increase brand awareness, increase sales and create a good sentiment about your services and products.
We are a world leading social media consultancy, marketing and customer care agency. This blog will keep you up to date with relevant business social media industry news and tips on how to progress your company by using social media.