Really, is there anything left to discover or discuss about using social media for marketing? You bet there is! There are always fresh approaches to experiment with and new ideas to put into practice. And while social media is not the only marketing game in town, it’s an important one to play. Whether you need to try something new, or take a look at how well what you’re doing now is working to best position your brand, resolve to begin the New Year with a reinvigorated enthusiasm for using social media as a part of your marketing campaigns.
As we get ready to call it a wrap on 2015, let’s take a look at where we’ve been and where we’re headed in the world of social media marketing. As the numbers show, it's still a very big deal and will only continue to grow in the coming year.
In 2015, peer-to-peer online reviews took a big leap in what influences consumers. A recent survey of over 21,000 active social media users found that 83% of shoppers say they discover new products and services every month through social media before any other source. Sixty-seven percent say they always or often use family and friends’ online recommendations when researching a purchase. Combine those statistics with the even larger and more impressive global numbers and it becomes clear that in the coming year Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook will be joined by up-and-coming players like SnapChat to further position themselves as important marketing platforms.
For 2016, your business should, at a minimum, be using social media to do one or all of the following to establish and grow your brand recognition, gain qualified leads and improve customer relationships.
Focus on Desire and Keep it Simple
Are you familiar with the “law of least effort?” Psychologist Daniel Kahneman wrote about it in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” The theory put forth by the Nobel Prize-winning author is compelling: when given several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action.
To master the art of appealing to your audience’s desires in a simple way, use some basic psychology to win them over. Start with thinking about each reader as a real human with a distinct personality, not simply a lead in a funnel. If you want to build relationships that lead to more engagement and higher profits, your readers will need to believe you truly care about helping them overcome a problem or succeed at a desire. Make the process move quickly and easily by breaking down your content into easy-to-handle pieces of information.
Provide the “Why” Answer
People love discovering the why of something. In keeping with the Psych 101 analogy, the word “why” in your marketing content is a great way to connect with your leads, igniting their brains to want to know the answers. Have your content communicate to these knowledge seekers two key motivators:
- Why they need your product or service; and
- How they’re going to get it by reading your content, using your product or watching your video
Build Real Relationships
If you truly want to know what makes using social media for marketing work, it is keeping your focus on building genuine relationships with your audience. It isn’t enough to just post links to your site. It isn’t even enough to say “check out my new article.” You need to get creative and make people want to click on that link! The more you engage with your audience in an authentic way, the stronger the bond with them becomes. The ability to build solid relationships and work the emotional connections you make is what will make social media deliver the results you’re seeking.
There will always be those businesses that chase the big numbers, focused on getting as many followers as possible. Let them. Your task is to start thinking of your audience as a community, and your job is to tailor your content to inform, excite and inspire them. While doing so, always keep in mind the mantra that the value of your community is not tied into the size of your following.
When using social media for marketing, keep your eye on the real prize: gaining more meaningful relationships that translate into loyal, returning customers who become valuable referrers. If there is only one thing you put into practice for 2016, make it getting a handle on effectively integrating your community’s ratings and reviews.