The pipes below your sink started leaking today so you head to Google and search for “Dallas Plumbing” only to see a deal you can’t refuse in one of the ads listed on the side. You click the ad and land on the company website, then proceed to read a few reviews about the service. After a few 4 and 5 star reads, you decide it’s a safe bet and put in a service order. They show up, fix the pipes in under an hour and say goodbye with a smile and a handshake.
You’re impressed by their quick and amiable service, but not enough to think about liking or rating them on Facebook.
However, a month goes by and your coworker mentions their water isn’t running properly so they had to take a cold shower. You remember the plumbing service and tell them their brand name and they pull their phone out of their pocket and instantly find them on Facebook.
When businesses start seriously considering online marketing, they often first consider complex actions like search engine marketing and social media marketing, without understanding the differences in each approach.
The cool thing about online marketing though, is that although there are different routes to take like SEM and SMM, they all play off of each other and support each other.
First, let’s talk about what why people engage in these marketing activities in the first place.
Social Media Marketing
The review effect
If you didn’t already know, 85% of people read up to 10 online review before deciding to trust the business on what they offer. Not to say this is all that social media is about, but it is a great bonus.
Having a presence on Yelp, Facebook, and Google Plus to allow for reviews to aggregate is a wise decision, especially if your platforms see a lot of traffic.
Natively allowing your ads to integrate into Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn feeds has historically been shown as one of the least intrusive forms of advertisements that leads to the highest overall engagement. When you’re casually scrolling down a feed and see a “sponsored” post that sparks your interest to click on it, you just fell victim to the beauty of native advertisements.
The best part is that viewers can comment on a native ad to give feedback, thus allowing for others to see that comment in their feeds by association to increase overall ad reach.
Perfect opportunity to promote, create deals, and add customer lifetime value
Social media is too often looked at as just a center for distribution of content when you can and should be doing so much more. You can run campaigns that integrate social media into a deal/limited time offer that have been proven to have massive success.
But the best part is, when you add value to the lives of you social media fans, more fans naturally congregate, no payment to social media required. Instead of throwing money at something to get leads, using social media marketing to enhance the customer journey should be looked at as an opportunity.
Larger target audience
Intuitively, we all head over to Google or some other search engine to find something, especially services. Google is the main platform over which we directly discover websites that show their stuff, thus, it is also grounds for marketers to reach you.
It’s not exactly a secret that the overwhelming majority of people check out the results listed in a search engine before doing any actually purchasing. Which of course in turn leads to the need to rank high in search results.
Infinitely measurable metrics
Especially when it comes to doing search marketing, discovering what works and what doesn’t is unbelievably easy. Keyword tools, analytics, competitor analysis tools, automatic graders, and so many more options keep you in the know.
To emphasize this, you can lookup a keyword like “Urgent Care Centers” in Google’s keyword planner and find out how many times that word has been search for in Dallas in the last week, and the demographics of who did the searching.
Not only audience settings though, you can measure every single little metric to gauge the success of your search marketing campiagns.
With so many big names ranking for highly contested keywords on Google, trying to outrank someone on “Buy flat screen TV” isn’t exactly going to happen unless you’re Best Buy. The good news is that Google allows marketers to essentially buy traffic to their site if your campaign is structured properly.
In Google AdWords, you can purchase “inorganic” listings to show up at the top of the search results, have you ads show up elsewhere in display, or have a text ad on the side of the search results. The effectiveness of some of these strategies looks to be waning, however, particularly display advertisements.
With such an interconnected system of online flows, choosing to funnel every bit of your energy into one strategy or the other isn’t a realistic choice anymore. Using multiple different sources of expertise or freelancers to run segmented campaigns is one option. The other is to find a company that knows an online strategy is overarching, and requires multiple routes to be successful.
Actually Actionable Advice: Using Social Media Marketing as an Opportunity
In the daily blur of grinding away at our checklist for social media, we too often forget what it means to be a human with our strategy. Instead of reading yet another formula made of standards, sometimes you need a refresher on how to see social media as an opportunity rather than an obligation; which is what this post is aimed at accomplishing.
Here are a few things to consider on your current journey:
It’s not “what you can do”… it’s “what they can do with you”
To serve as a starting place, go check out your company’s Facebook “about” section. Although this section is not hugely important, it is indicative of what else is posted in other sections of social media.
All too often we see social media pages that simply state: “This is the official Facebook page for _____” then end right there, or pages that go with something unhelpful and uninformative to users like “Working for Dallas residents for 12 years”
Instead of using phrases that don’t offer valuable information on how to make the consumer a better version of themselves, try something like this:
“Providing Dallas families with safe memories for over 12 years through our leading security systems”
Address your audience, describe the benefits, and clearly describe what your offer is in as short, and concise a manner as possible. This should be your motto not only for your “about us” section, but for the majority of your posts.
This is the majority because you want to make sure that at least some of your posts are incentive/deal posts, of course. And by incentive, I don’t mean “Follow us for more great info!” I really mean incentive.
In an incentive post, try something like “New Service Coupons offered every Friday! Follow us to grab one and discover other free safety tips for you and your family!”
Drop the business suite act already
I know LinkedIn is the hub of all things professional, but the feeling of most social media platforms is really quite informal. Additionally, when most people use social media in their free time they generally are looking for some quick entertainment or to see what friends are up to. This in combination with the informality of most social media is highly indicative of how most people interact on social media – casually, in good-humor, and expressive.
Don’t believe me? This is why people behave like they do by and large.
As you can see, people aren’t really looking to “Read a formal article meant to promote a product I don’t care about”… so you might want to go ahead and drop the boring business suit already.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being human. If you can easily laugh and empathize with your audience, that’s the best kind of personality you could build for a brand.
Being just another social media zombie is the last thing people are looking for.
Balance your creative and proven media
Unless you’re Richard Branson, you’ve probably already discovered that coming up with a new idea or new campaign is hard work and you’ll burn out quickly if this is all you do. Finding a balance between producing something new and pulling from the currently popular is a proven strategy for success.
The thing is, you can’t just steal an idea off of Twitter’s trending list, and you have to strategically market yourself around that topic in a way that makes sense.
And to do this you need to make the connection clear, meaningful, and appealing.
The best place to get an in-depth view of this is a simple glance at Google trends.
And for a geographic view, I recommend taking a look at my personal favorite: the real-time Trendsmap
With all the free tools out there, there’s no excuse for social media managers to not know what is going on in the world today. After you have a picture of what’s huge, then you need to form a strategy around leveraging that topic’s momentum. To get some ideas, use the pointers listed above and check out how other brands are doing this in currently trending hashtags, like this Coke sponsored post leveraging #ColumbusDay
Text-only posts need to finally be put to rest
And preferably replaced by video. Images are nice too, as they receive 39% more interaction on average than a pure text post.
However, videos have the largest reach of any form of media, and perform over twice as good as a post with only a photo and some text.
That’s right, videos reach over twice as far as photos, so a good bit of advice is to snatch up some video when you can that captures what your work culture is like, what your clients strive to achieve, or what your products or services can accomplish for those that use them. Even if you think you have a boring industry, there is always some good to be done in the world that could be captured in a series of moving images. Rather than looking at this as a task, consider this an adventure into social media management like none other.
From requirement to opportunity
If social media management is nothing more than a requirement to your business, you’re missing out on the most powerful tool a business can have. It all starts from our point of view, then funnels down into our ability to use our knowledge to create something great.
Statistical data from: http://wersm.com/the-10-top-reasons-why-we-use-social-networks/#!prettyPhoto