The Importance of Integrating Social Media Marketing
Social networking, via popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube has evolved from peer-to-peer interactions to becoming a viable relationship building tool for businesses of all sizes. In fact, Facebook alone boasts an astounding 845 million active users worldwide; further, the site accounts for one of every five page-views on the Internet worldwide. Collectively, Facebook users share more than 100 billion connections. In the United States alone, over 150 million users log onto their accounts daily.
With numbers like this, social media as a whole (and Facebook in particular) is too powerful a resource for business owners to fail in developing a social media strategy to connect to their customers and potential customers. By engaging customers in meaningful interactions, businesses can effectively increase customer loyalty while providing a platform for valuable feedback to help you to better serve your customers.
For instance, savvy business owners have taken to Twitter as a tool for both promotions and for answering customer complaints in real-time. YouTube nets 4 billion page views daily and has attracted business owners to this free advertising platform. Moreover, Facebook has now given business owners the flexibility of coupon marketing and special promotions to a target audience.
So how do you go about integrating social media into your business marketing strategy? One of the best ways to get started is by establishing a Facebook Page. The personal profile page that many commonly refer to is simply for individuals who wish to use the free site to connect with friends, family and companies they are interested in. However, as a business owner, to comply with Facebook’s Terms of Service, you must establish a Facebook Page (a simple process that is also free to use) to maintain your company’s professional presence on the site.
Among the Facebook Fan Page’s biggest advantages is the ability to connect with an unlimited number of fans on the site. With a mere profile page, an individual is limited to 5,000 “friends.” Establishing a Fan Page will also enable you to assign admins to maintain your account, so you can designate one person (or a group of people) to routinely update your Fan Page to keep fans engaged and coming back to the site.
Before you begin to engage customers, it’s important to define your marketing strategy to get the most from your social media efforts. Determine who your customer is, when and how they want to interact with you, and what calls to action you want to present through this platform. Regardless of the social media outlet you choose, your goal will be to relate more personally to your customers. Keep in mind that people want to do business with other people. While customers are interested in your sales promotions, they are likely to have more loyalty to businesses they feel more personally connected to. Perhaps, then, you could share business-related photos or videos, special discounts or exclusive content. Maybe you could invite Fans to a special event, to use a special discount code with their purchases or to engage in a limited time contest or promotion. Custom application developers like Rackspace can create develop relevant applications to use on your Facebook page for a fee, but the cost is, in most cases, much less than more traditional forms of advertising.
Integrating social media, which has become part of the social landscape for all age groups, can be as simple as adding a plug-in or RSS Feed to your current website, blog or digital newsletter.