The rapidly changing world of social media has created a playground for some and a nightmare for others. With new sites gaining popularity and old ones changing all the time, the social media marketing game can quickly become overwhelming. Many small businesses realize the importance of a strong social media presence, but lack the experience or resources to effectively market their company across these channels.
Between updating Facebook statuses, Tweeting, posting on Google Plus, and publishing regular blog content, online marketing can become very time consuming and tedious – especially if you aren’t entirely sure what you’re doing. While there are many resources online to learn about how to manage blogs and social media, the varied opinions and abundance of resources can become difficult to navigate.
It may be tempting to hire your niece or the neighborhood kid who spend every waking moment logging hours on various social media sites, but it is important to point out that there are wrong ways to manage social media too. While the obvious way to run social media is to attract as many “likes”, “retweets” or “shares” as possible, you have to consider your end result. “Likes” and “shares” won’t generate business on their own, you have to be able to engage potential customers and know how to attract these potential customers within social media channels.
Recently Google, Bing and Yahoo have begun indexing and measuring your “social footprint” or “social influence” and are actually factoring that into how your core website ranks for your targeted keywords. Some experts estimate that these social signals may add up to 1/3 of the factors that determine where you are in the rankings. It is becoming increasingly important to have a robust and active social presence, including a blog, in order to compete effectively for new customers.
You can use social media and blogs for many different purposes, but the fundamental idea is to bring customers back to your core company website. A potential customer most likely won’t buy from you the first time they visit your website, but social media gives you more chances to reach out and gain their trust. You can use your blog and social sites to keep your customers informed and to communicate with them – you want to provide answers and be helpful. This way, after multiple positive interactions with your company, they can go back to your website and complete the transaction with confidence.
Many social media “gurus” make it sound like you can manage all of this in a few minutes a day. This is patently misleading and will not be effective. Even spending a few hours here and there every week posting, tweeting, and commenting will not generate leads alone. Success depends on a planned strategy and a regular schedule of social activity combined with constant monitoring to add value to your marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and YouTube are all very different platforms for marketing your business. Internet marketers have studied the intricacies of these sites and found how to effectively grow a business and generate leads through an online presence.
Remember that your website, blog, and social media all come together to form the online representation of your business. Effective social media management will help you build a strong Internet presence. Today, before making a purchase, consumers browse their options online. According to Pew Research Center, 58% of American adults conduct research online before purchasing a product or service. And this trend is clearly moving in the direction that will only make Internet marketing even more critical in the future.
You may find that your time is better spent running the company you built than trying to worry about how to manage your business’s profile on the latest social site. If you’re realizing that social media is better left up to the experienced professional web marketers, you can concentrate on what you do best and let your internet marketing company do the rest.