Here at Zen Media, we often get questions from businesses about online marketing, and we do our utmost to answer every one. But it occurred to us recently that it might be helpful for us to put together a little blog series answering some of the most common questions we get related to web marketing. Today’s installment? The 21 most common social media marketing questions we receive, answered just for you!
1. Can social media marketing really help my business?
Most definitely! It’s been proven again and again by business after business. In fact, 73% of businesses surveyed by Constant Contact in 2011 had already started using social media marketing with measurable results. Not utilizing social media marketing can actually harm your business, since having an online presence on social media is simply expected of any reputable firm these days.
2. What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company?
Whether your business is taking advantage of it or not, social media has forever changed the way that consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa. Being accessible to your customers – and your prospective clients – via social media is a vital means of developing relationships with them and helping them through the sales funnel.
3. How should companies measure their social media marketing success?
Success is measured using the same metrics you use for any other marketing activity: traffic, leads, and customers. Counting the number of fans or followers you have can help you understand your social media reach, but the bottom line that determines its success is how many people it drives to your site, how many of them are qualified leads, and how many of them actually become customers.
4. How much does social media marketing cost? What’s the ROI?
One thing is for certain – social media marketing is never free. Whether you’re spending your own valuable time on it, asking an employee to add it to their workload, hiring a social media employee, or outsourcing to a marketing firm, there is always a cost. The key is to get the maximum ROI out of the time or money you put into it. It’s important to remember, however, that ROI doesn’t have to mean revenue. It can, but it can also mean meeting other objectives, such as getting new leads, increasing email subscriptions, or even boosting customer satisfaction. The ROI you end up with is the direct result of how focused your social media marketing strategy is.
5. Which social media platforms should my business have a presence on?
There is no set answer to this question, because you need to have a presence wherever your customers are – and different businesses have different audiences. One demographic spends most of their time on Facebook, while another really only engages on LinkedIn, and some divide their time equally between three or more sites. Find out where your customers are, and follow them there.
6. Does my company really need a blog for social media marketing?
Yes! A blog is one of those nonnegotiables. Apart from all of the benefits it provides on its own, such as increasing your credibility as an industry expert, and providing fresh, keyword-rich content on a regular basis to please the search engines, a blog is a vital component of social media marketing. One of the most effective types of content to post on social media – especially Facebook, with its recent algorithm changes – is a link to a blog post. Without fresh blog posts being shared on a regular basis, you won’t have nearly as much to talk about with your fans, and you won’t be driving as much traffic to your site, either.
7. Is social media marketing better for B2C or B2B businesses?
It’s important for both, but in different ways. While B2C businesses can focus on more light-hearted, fun social media posts, B2B businesses need to use social media to share valuable B2B marketing content. As a tool for connecting a business with its customers, however, social media is vital to both.
8. How should we be using Facebook for marketing?
Facebook is the social media platform of choice for over a billion people worldwide. Use it to connect and interact with your audience, and to share your content in a way that encourages your fans to share it as well.
9. How should we be using Twitter for marketing?
Twitter has over 313 million users, and is ideal for sharing your content and connecting with other influencers in your industry.
10. How should we be using LinkedIn for marketing?
LinkedIn has over 433 million users. It is a great place to share your credentials with the world, but more importantly, it’s the perfect place to interact with your audience online. Using LinkedIn Groups, you can answer questions and contribute to discussions in order to demonstrate your industry thought leadership as well as your willingness to help others generously.
11. How should we be using Google+ for marketing?
With 300 million users, Google+ is another platform perfect for sharing content and entering into discussions with your audience.
12. Is YouTube important for marketing?
Videos are becoming more and more important in the world of social media marketing. YouTube gets 4 billion views per day! Promote your brand’s image through a video, let your audience have a peek behind the scenes at your business, or make a how-to video.
13. Is outreach an important part of social media marketing?
Guest blogging is one of the most effective and widely discussed methods of outreach, but social media can help your outreach efforts significantly, as well. Connect with other influencers in your industry via social media, and then build relationships with them through conversations and helping them to promote their content. Building a relationship in this way before reaching out to ask for a guest blogging opportunity can boost your chances of success greatly – and when your audience sees that you regularly converse with other experts via social media, they’ll see you as an expert, too!
14. How can I take control of my brand online through social media marketing?
Taking “control” of your brand isn’t really possible anymore, thanks to social media. Whether you’re in the conversation or not, people will talk about you online, and there’s no way for you to “control” what they say. But what you can do is join in those conversations, and influence them by being a part of them. From negative reviews on Yelp to customer complaints on Twitter, the way to influence your audience’s perception of your brand is to participate in the conversations, and steer them in a direction you’re happy with.
15. Should each department in my company have its own social media initiatives?
A company’s social media activities don’t have to all come from the same place – but they do need to be coordinated, and that can be hard to do when each department is doing their own thing. Sending differing messages causes more confusion to customers than anything else – consistency is key.
16. What type of social media content converts best?
Just like question #5, this one depends on your audience. The best way to find out what type of content converts most effectively for you is to test, tweak, and test again until you find the right fit.
17. How much time should social media marketing take each week?
Both the positive and the negative side of social media is this – it’s all real-time marketing. The good: By using social media you have the opportunity to reach your specific audience in real-time. The bad: Timing is everything. Social media management is an all-day-long task.
18. How long does it take before I’ll start seeing results from social media marketing?
With social media constantly evolving, this depends on variables such as the time and effort you’re putting into social media marketing management, your budget, your audience, your strategy, and whether you’re using paid ads or not. Regardless, it’s important to remember that social media is a marathon and not a race.
19. What are some common social media marketing mistakes business make?
One of the worst mistakes is inconsistency – only posting sporadically, and not responding when consumers reach out to engage. Another biggie is using social media as a place to announce your own content and nothing more, without ever engaging in discussions or adding comments to the post that make your audience want to click or like or share.
20. What are some general tips for social media success?
Post consistently. Let your passion and personality shine through. Engage in conversations. Answer questions. Encourage audience engagement. Provide valuable content freely, without getting salesy. Be creative.
21. Is it better to outsource social media marketing, or take care of it in-house?
If your company has all the time and resources that it needs in order to successfully manage social media marketing, then handling it in-house can be beneficial. But allowing a marketing firm like Zen Media to handle your social media marketing for you frees you up to do what you do best, while we do what we do best. We have the experience, the expertise, and the cutting-edge industry insider knowledge that allow us to make the most of what social media marketing can do for your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help!