When a business decides to take on social media marketing, there are multiple factors to keep in mind if a positive outcome is desired. One of the biggest components to success is often overlooked: social media is a long term investment.
In the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report more than half of marketers who have been using social media for at least three years reported that it has helped them improve sales. From this information alone, it is clear that if a business wants to see a return on investment through their social media efforts, they need to be in it for the long haul.
A couple of additional factors that can help marketers and business owners gain a clear picture of what to expect and if they really want to make the investment in social media include: relationship building and brand awareness.
- Relationship Building – The beauty of social media is the opportunity for brands to build relationships. Not only are businesses able to target their potential ideal client when they curate content and online presence in accordance to their community’s needs and interests; but brands can also engage with the target audience to further build the relationship and gain trust.
Building relationships is what leads to loyal customers, so the longer a business works on this aspect the better the outcome of their social media efforts. Not to mention that giving and caring should be the number one priority of any company. When thinking about doing social media, brands should have as their first objective relationship building (sales will follow).
- Brand Awareness – The second factor to keep in mind is that not everyone knows a brand and thanks to social media this can change (and has changed) for many small businesses. Being visible and consistently sharing valuable content generates awareness because a brand gets seen. The most important part of brand awareness is consistent presence. A company must be present on a continuous basis if they are going to get noticed. If one’s online presence is on and off, people don’t continue to come back; they will move on to another company’s platform and soon forget the former brand.
In order to build trust a brand needs to be known. Validity of what one offers comes with social validation, which can only be obtained as one’s community grows and customer experiences with one’s products or services become visible to others. As businesses take on social media, they need to remember that brand awareness means visibility, and without this it will be much harder to gain trust. Nowadays, there is no way a business can avoid an online presence if they wish to be successful.
The starting point of a social media strategy is setting objectives. If businesses manage to set objectives based on the knowledge:
- That social media marketing is going to be a long term investment (that will take more than one or two years)
- That building relationships and generating brand awareness to gain trust are what need to take precedence
- That an increase in sales will follow
Only then will a business not be disappointed with the choice of taking on social media marketing. If on the other hand, sales are the only objective; not only will brands be ineffective in their social media approach, but they will also be dissatisfied. Commitment and perseverance are essential if business owners wish to succeed with their social media efforts.