Why Social Media?

Over the next few months were going to be helping you with the minefield that is Social media, where to start, which platforms to use, why and how to turn your efforts into qualified leads.

If you’re having trouble convincing yourself, business partners, boss that social media marketing is worthwhile, then read on. Everyone talks about how social media builds brand and product awareness, but what does that mean, and how does it do that?  The goal of any business is to create new customers, and the first step is to let them know you exist. The second is to make them your friends, because people buy from people they like. That’s exactly what social media does.

1. Social media is where your customers are

Everyone is using social media in one way or another. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and mobile apps and games have all become favourite pastimes across the world. Interacting in that environment puts your brand and product messages in a position to be shared and commented which leads to awareness, interest and sales.

2. Social media levels the playing field

My agency gets inquiries from big brands and small start-ups alike, because social media has created an even playing field on which brands, business and organisations can now compete. The advantage is still with larger, more established brands, simply because they started with an existing fan bases and have larger budgets for media spends. That just means you may have to be more creative and work smarter to reach your audiences. You also have an advantage over big brands as most Pilates businesses tend to have a localised clientele which can be stronger and less fragmented than a global or national fan base.

3. Social media is already helping your competition

We always advise any firm to research what their competition is doing with social media and how well they are doing it. You will either find you are ahead of the game or have to play catch up. One thing we know for sure is that at some point in the not to distant future every company will have a social media presence just as they do emails and websites, it is becoming the norm.

4. Social media is searchable

Consumers are looking for your products and services. How are they looking? Most likely, online search is one of the top ways. Social media can affect organic Google search results as well as be an entry point to your website, microsite or promo page. YouTube is the second largest search engine, meaning videos get ranked high in Google results. Photos, graphics, LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks are also searchable. With the recent development of Facebooks Graph search news feeds that have been shared with you and ones you’ve shared with fans and friends are going to be searchable. This is fantastic if your brand has a strong Facebook presence, not so good if you don’t.

5. Social media content is shareable

A vital part of social media is creating and sharing content like videos, articles, photos, graphics and social media updates. The only way you can share a print ad is to physically hand it to a friend. The only way to share a TV ad on the TV is to Tivo it and invite your friend over to watch. Who does that? Nobody does that.

6. Social media allows for real-time feedback and interaction

Through the process of creating content, sharing and interacting, you’ll learn what’s important to your consumers. This builds brand and product loyalty as you jump in and discuss new ways of doing things better and measure response along the way. Smart social media marketers know when to stay the course and when to hold fire. One way of doing this is to be actively engaged.

7. Social media is measurable

Analytics are everywhere and can tell a good part of any social media success story. Since the real bottom line is always going to be sales, social media measurement can help you  and partners determine which actions and reactions are leading to increased sales and  rest assured that you’re moving the graph in the right direction along the way.

8. Social media lives forever and is more cost effective

Videos, photos, LinkedIn updates, tweets, etc. stay online and in Google results for a very long time. This can be both good and bad, depending on what you’ve done. But unlike TV ads and billboards that are taken down once the rent isn’t paid or print ads that are thrown away or line a birdcage somewhere, social media content stays online, working for you and reducing the overall per-unit spend over time.

9. Social media is one click away from the buy button

If you’re staring at a billboard, watching a TV ad or leafing through a magazine, you can’t just “buy now.” You have to go somewhere else, (at lest that was true until very recently when 3zap.com developed a process for buying products directly from the magazine page, bill board or TV screen). Properly set up and executed, consumers should never be  more than one click away from the opportunity to buy – or at least learn more about – the product or service you are selling.

10. Social media marketing involves selling, not just playing around

Far too many “social media experts” are wasting clients’ time and money playing around with social media. Make it clear to your boss or partners that social media is a way of selling more products and services, not just interacting for the fun of it. Marketing is comprised of sales and PR, and social media marketing is no different. Social media initiatives and daily interaction should revolve around clear objectives and calls to action to create an environment in which consumers can easily make buying decisions regardless of whether you’re a service industry like Pilates or have a product to sell.

Post Author: Richard Eccles

Richard Eccles – Partner at http://www.social-uk.com (Pilates Widow – Wife Karen runs www.pilatesfromwithin.com) 20+ years experience in sales and marketing – social & digital media, health and fitness, retail, international music events, experiential, product launches, corporate events, film & tv, investment banking and recruitment.