According to a Pew Research, 74% of online adults use social networking websites. Over 84% of B2B marketers use social media, and Facebook just announced that it has 25 million active small business (SMB) pages.
Some businesses have seen a dramatic increase in sales since participating in social networking sites. Of the top 100 global brands, the most heavily and widely engaged in social media saw an increase in sales, according to Engagement db’s social media engagement report. Back in 2009, Dell made a big splash in the news when they announced that they generated $3 million dollars directly via Twitter.
Social media marketing is not just for large companies. Take Naked Pizza, a small pizza parlor in New Orleans, for example. The pizzeria is equipped with a large, prominent sign encouraging people to follow the eatery on Twitter. Naked pizza also measures its social media success through sales. On a record breaking day, over 68% of total sales and 85% of their new customers were from Twitter.
Your small business can benefit from a successful social media marketing strategy. Social media seeks to build relationships and create brand evangelists to spread the great news about your business. It can raise your search engine listings and increase brand visibility.
Link sharing is a key element in social networking sites. Post interesting content on your Facebook Fan Page, blog or in a tweet and your followers, fans and readers will share links to your content with their online peers. Monitor the number of inbound links your target audiences are generating.
To foster link sharing, utilize services such as ShareThis or AddThis, where ‘retweet’ and other types of share buttons can be added to web pages and blog posts making it easy for visitors to share your content. Facebook Insights offer analytics for your Fan Pages, allowing you to monitor how many clicks your Facebook content garners and the level of engagement you get from your posts. Twitter has also released Twitter Analytics to help gauge the performance of your tweets and the types of engagement it generates.
Social media can help build and strengthen brand awareness. Monitor blog traffic and press mentions inspired by blog posts or other shared online content. You can use services such as NewsWhip.com to track mentions of your — and your competitors’ — brand name in social media as well as see the articles that are fast gaining social media traction.
To best harness the power social media, learn what channels your target audiences are using or most likely to accept. Social media engagement is more than posting links to your website or tweeting your success on a routine basis. Instead, foster conversation and position your business as an industry leader. With several metrics available to measure your social media effectiveness, be sure to set clear goals. Consider metrics comparing sales, website traffic, social media mentions, brand awareness or other business goals.
For a positive social media return on investment, it is important to set clear business goals and milestones to measure your success. For maximum impact, listen to your audiences and adjust your efforts accordingly.
Recommended Books on Social Media Marketing:
- 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach
- The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue
- Social Media Marketing Toolkit: Tips, Tools & Tactics For Marketing Success
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