Social media & online communities marketing

Social media has become popular and powerful enough that any website should be taking advantage of it. Is a cost-effective promotion tool for reaching thousands of potential customers without spending a single dollar on pay-per-click ads. There are quite a few widely known social media sites that are worth checking:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Profiles
  • YouTube or Vimeo (if you have or will have any video content)
  • Flickr or Instagram (if you have any graphics or images content)

Each of the site above has its own pros and cons and its target audience. There are also many other online communities that are worth a look:

  • Quora
  • Pinterest
  • Slideshare (if you have any presentations)
  • Scribd (if you have any document content)
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit

Depending on the industry you are in, there are many niche communities and social media service you may join (e.g. in software, this might include places like StackOverflow, Github, Hacker News, etc.)

Reaching people via social media

“ 64% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more and 41% for 11 or more hours weekly. More than half of this marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales.. ”
Social Media Examiner, 2016

Reaching people via social media

Using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow, here are some of the benefits

  • Increase brand awareness: Having a presence on social media, makes easier to your customers or users to find and connect with you. This way is more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty.
  • Higher conversion rates: Studies made by Hubspot reveals that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, improving your probabilities of conversion.
  • Higher brand authority: Engaging and interacting with your customers regularly is a demonstration of good faith for some users. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users.
  • Increase inbound traffic: Without social media, your website traffic is restricted to users already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile is a path that leads to your website, and every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is an opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you post on your social media channels. The more inbound traffic you will generate, also increasing your leads and conversion rate.
  • Better SEO rankings: SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic through search engines, but the requirements changes very often. Currently updating your blog, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, and distributing links pointing back to your site is not enough. Google and other search engines make social media presence a significant factor in the formula to calculate your website rank. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
  • Richer customer experiences: Social media it’s a communication channel like phone calls or email. Giving thanks for a customer compliment or addressing a comment about a customer issue and taking action to make resolve the matter, it’s is an opportunity to prove your customer service level and improve your relationship with your customers.
  • Improve customer insights: Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue.
  • Potential losses are minor: The amount of time and money it takes to create your profiles and start posting is minimal, compared to other marketing channels. Just six hours a week or a few dollars is all it takes to establish your presence.

You have a limited amount of time and resources that you can spend It’s very important to consider all these online communities carefully before choosing the ones you want to focus on. Setting up these accounts diligently is important – don’t just re-use the same short bio or snippet over and over. Spend the time to build fleshed out profiles that have comprehensive information and interact/network with peers and those with similar interests to help build up reputation on the site. Be sure that you are active and post updates approximately once per week. You don’t want to spam your connections, but regular postings will keep you top-of-mind and boost your thought leadership credentials. The effort is worth the reward – empty, unloved social accounts do virtually nothing, but active ones can drive traffic, citations, awareness and value.

Maximize your website return on investment

Your website is an investment, if you manage it smartly, it can generate great profits for you. You invested money and time into your website not just to have a website, but with hope that your investment will lead to greater visibility, leads, sales and most importantly the bottom line. Lets see how you can make the most out of your investment.

Utilize the website as your lead tool

  • The very first thing a potential client/partner usually does is visiting the organization’s website. The website which is always available online (or should be), and always updated with the latest news and information (or should be) is no doubt a good source for information about the company.A smoothly functioning and well designed website is an effective presales tool for an organization. Via the company website, the visitors can understand more about the products, services, or solutions it offers; and may consider taking the next step as a qualified lead with the organization’s salesforce.Given that leads can turn into real sales, it is essential that a website works effectively and its performance is monitored constantly. To maximize website return on investment (ROI), we strongly recommend a proven list of things to do:

    Monitor the website performance: the website should be available and accessible to users most if not all the time. Disasters will happen, and your website should always have a recent backup to go back online as soon as possible when bad things happen.

    . Drive traffic (visitors) to the website: via organic search (google, bing, etc…) or via paid advertisement (adwords, facebook ads, etc…)

    . Constantly optimize the website: by testing and determining the best combination of graphic elements and content.

    . Increase the efficiency of your website: (increase the time visitors spend on your site, the amount of products/services/leads you can generate per visit)
    . Do not let the website become a standalone tool: link it with your other sales and marketing tools to maximize its effect.

    Many business owners consider website design and development as a short term project which leads to low Return On Investment. The above steps must be done continually to track website ROI, improve performance, and add value to the users and the organization bottom line.

    Interact with your customers via your website

    Your website can be your Customer Relationship Management portal (or at least linked to it). With the website, you can track the users’ exact time spent on the website, the content they are interested, the number of interaction per month and much more. You can also link to their social network and with their permission can offer them even more personalized service. This level of customer relationship is unheard of before the Internet.

    A few things you should consider to maximize the level of interaction with your customers:

    1. Have clear Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, and strictly follow them. Nothing turns off the potential clients faster than the fear of having their private/sensitive information being used without their acknowledgement.
    2. Provide useful information and ways for your customers to interact, ask questions, share knowledge (a comment section in the company blog can be a good start if you have a good team to monitor)
    3. Provide multiple ways to interact with visitors (newsletter, chat, contact form, phone etc…). However, do not over-provide the visitors with so many communication channels that you cannot manage. For example, if you do not have resource to manage the chat, or do not have anyway to create newsletter periodically, do not offer them (yet).