Your company finally has its website, Facebook, and even a Twitter account set up. You are getting some traffic, you have a small following, and you've thrown up a few status updates and links. Maybe your website or social media handles even show up in a Google search once in awhile. Check "Social Media Marketing" off that list of things to do. Mission accomplished. Wrong! Or maybe you still think that your business can't benefit from social media marketing at all? Wrong again!
It really doesn't matter if you are a sole proprietor or a CMO at a Fortune 500 global corporation. Your business can significantly benefit from social media marketing regardless of its size or business model. Why does social media marketing matter so much? Well I'll tell you why! Here are just a few simplified reasons why your business will grow and improve with SMM:
1) Increase Website Traffic, SEO, Referrals, & Revenue Generation
This is pretty obvious. Your social media platforms like Facebook promote your website links and the content you produce. You get more traffic to your site, your search engine rank improves (and in turn more organic traffic is generated), you get more referrals from readers / viewers / subscribers / followers / customers / clients / colleagues, and you make more money! Depending on your business model, your income may be generated from product / service sales, advertising revenue, sponsorships, contracts, partnerships, subscriptions, investors, donations, or other means. Simply put, increased quality and quantity of traffic derived from social media = more money. This can be true for all companies whether you sell muffins, clean houses, manage portfolios, or market the latest cloud computing software.
2) Interaction, Branding, and Exposure with Customers, Prospects, or Industries
Your business can always benefit from interacting with your customers, clients, readers, viewers, peers, prospects, or industry heavy hitters. Many people and organizations believe this to be the most important aspect of social media marketing. So establish a positive dialogue that will lead to signing a new client. Successfully promote a current client's business. Provide exceptional customer service by answering a question or addressing a concern. Tell the world about your latest campaign, product, or service. Let the customer tell you what they view as your strengths and weaknesses, or how you can improve your business. The possibilities are endless and you'll be missing opportunities if you don't have a strong social media marketing strategy in place. If you don't properly manage or expand your company's community and network, you are leaving money on the table.
3) Increased Perception of Being Connected, Tech Savvy, and Legitimate
A lot of people think this is more of a subjective or less important aspect of social media marketing. I think it's an incredibly important one if you consider basic human psychology. While business professionals can usually distinguish between quality and quantity of social media statistics, the average person may not. So who cares if your company doesn't have many followers, friends, subscribers, views, tweets, likes, posts etc? Turns out a lot of people DO care. If you are a billion dollar corporation and you have 200 Twitter followers, that obviously doesn't look very good. It looks especially poor when your competitors have 200,000 or maybe 2,000,000 followers. Why does your company have 6 tweets when you do business on 6 continents?! Perhaps your business is nonexistent on critical social media platforms or your employees aren't representing your company online. Or maybe there is little or no activity on any of your social media accounts. This can make your company seem out of touch, which can be especially damaging if your target market includes younger or more technologically proficient customers and industries. It certainly won't help you relate to millenials if you are a B2C company and have them as one of your main "buyer personas". I've seen technology, media, marketing, and online retail companies with minimal social media marketing presence! It's not pretty. People and companies do look at numbers and make judgments based on them, fair or not. Having a minimal or nonexistent social media presence makes your company look bad and your competitors look better by comparison. You will lose revenue and market share if you don't successfully compete on all relevant social media platforms.
Part 2 Covers ROI, Analytics& Marketing Integration
There are many other reasons why social media marketing is critical to your business success. For further insight you could delve into each social media platform, industry, or business model to determine what is most important. Those will be different posts for different times. But the message remains the same: optimize your social media marketing or lose out. It's that simple.