You need it.
Social media as a marketing tool should no longer be considered an option for companies. These interactive platforms are extremely important and powerful in building brand awareness and reputation. It is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe by 2019 (Statista, 2018). With numbers that large, social media marketing is not just relevant for brands anymore; it’s essential.
I’ve seen it work.
As the Digital Content Coordinator for a premier NASCAR racetrack I have personally experienced the many benefits that social media provides for our company. The main platforms that we are present on include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Flickr. Our main goal with social media is to spread brand awareness and promote our track as a summer destination in Michigan. We have also seen success with using social media for the following:
- Building relationships with consumers
- Promote events
- Ticket sales and ticket upgrades
- Increase website visits
- Engage in conversation with fans
- Collect feedback from fans
- Provide customer service by answering fan questions
- Advertise our community efforts and charitable giving
- Recruiting and hiring qualified candidates for open positions
- Staying up-to-date on current industry trends and topics
Multi-media is important.
“A social media campaign goal is to increase engagement to grow reach and build fan loyalty—asking questions and commenting help build social media relationships” (Lipschultz, 2018; pg. 25). Achieving such positive engagement with consumers is not easy and requires a true strategy. The days of posting content on social media and receiving thousands of interactions are gone. Brands must constantly be monitoring consumer conversations and develop content that is meaningful to other users. Mixing in photos, videos, surveys, giveaways and other interactive content is a large part of spreading online content (Lipschultz, 2018; pg. 33). My company has seen large engagement numbers through the use of recorded and live video content. Below is an example of recent videos and analytics for each.
Post with a plan.
Lastly, having a social media presence with consistent messaging is vital for a brand. “To survive in business today you need a social media presence—one with a clear social media strategy” (Schaffer, 2013; pg. 4). The biggest mistake some companies may still make on social media is not planning ahead. Developing a strong social media plan and keeping that plan fluid is important. Our company tries to follow these 11 essential components of a social media strategy (Schaffer, 2013):
- Branding – Being consistent across all channels
- Content – Engage in conversation
- Curation – share meaningful content
- Channels – Join the right networks for your company
- Frequency – Post strategically, not constantly
- Engagement – be worthy of being followed
- Listening – Interact meaningfully with customers
- Campaign – Regularly introduce new ways to engage customers
- Influencers – Take advice from other users
- Brand Ambassadors – Recruit fans to spread the word
- Crisis Management – Be prepared to handle trouble
Regardless of the size of your company, you should take advantage of social media marketing. The opportunity to reach millions of users through a cheap and convenient source is unbeatable. Consumers want to connect with your brand and you should want to connect with them. Social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s not just a fad, it’s here to stay, and your company can benefit from this influential tool.
Lipschultz, J., H. (2018). Social Media Communication: Concepts, practices, data, law and ethics. New York, NY: Routledge
Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions). (2018). The Statistics Portal. Statista.com. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
Schaffer, N. (2013). Social Media Strategy. Sales & Service Excellence Essentials, 13(11), 4-5.