In the past, well, certainly 10 years ago, if you wanted an online presence you built a website. Social networks were present but in there infancy and their usage was primarily for personal purposes and the demographic reflected that. The popularity of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook in its early stages was primarily due to the younger demographic using them for their intended purpose – socialising as opposed to the more general and business orientated structure and usage that we see today. A business, in the past would not really consider having a social profile for their organisation, they’d stick to a standard run of the mill website and would concentrate solely on the marketing and publishing of this one, singular address. Fast forward a few years and we see that this is no longer the case and social networks are becoming more and more important in the ever-changing realm of online marketing.
How Important Is A Social Presence?
Given the popularity of social networks it obviously makes sense to have a social presence. In short, you have to promote via the media and methods that your audience uses to connect to you and that means that if you want them to contact you via social networks – you need to have a social network presence. Some old timers would argue that their website is all they need and will ever need in order to reach their customers but the way social networks are being used in recent times, they’re fast becoming the go to point for information or for those seeking the very products and services your company offers. Decreasing are the traditional directors of service providers and even traditional search engines are taking somewhat of a hit because of the ever-increasing usage of networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
There are several reasons for this. Primarily it’s because it’s much easier and it takes less steps if someone is already chatting away on Facebook, it’s easier to just type what you want into the search bar rather than loading a new browser window, going to Google, searching for what you want, finding people, loading your e-mail, writing your message and so on. Via Facebook, you search, click message – job done. The same goes for Twitter, a quick search on any product/service and you’ll see companies offering it, people discussing it and ultimately a much more “real world” outlook on the subject at hand than you would ever get on a traditional Google search.
Getting a social presence is easy enough, you just sign up, fill in your details and you’re all set. This is fine if you’re only looking for a way to push existing customers to your product or service – but what if you want new business? How do you compete with the masses of competition that are ahead of you and the daily influx of new social media presence cropping up here there and everywhere.
The Keys to Social Marketing
Well, if you want to compete, you need to market yourself. Plain and simple. There are numerous articles around the web like this one, which outline the basic of social media marketing to a tee. But unless you’re well versed in website promotion you may find such a detailed guide a little daunting. The key is to simplify it and utilise the skill set you have acquired in your own real-world business.
Obviously there are so many social networks out there with their own advertising options and methods. For now, we’ll just touch on the major two, Facebook and Twitter and explain the options when it comes to advertising on each.
Advertising on Facebook
Your Facebook presence is based around what is known as your “page”. You can sign up for a few Facebook account and make a page for your business or you can even login to your existing personal Facebook account and make a page under that. Your page is easy to create, all you have to do is add your business details and customise it (if you wish) in the same way you would do your regular profile. You can add a logo, change your header and keep your page/timeline updated as you usually would.
In terms of advertising, you have a couple of options. If you’re happy for people to find you either via friends or via Facebook’s integrated search then you don’t have to do anything. Let it naturally happen. If your page content is good enough then it’ll no doubt get likes and shares naturally. If it’s of a more commercial standing though you’ll probably have to invest in paid advertising to gain any significant reach.
Facebook advertising is extremely easy to use. You can set a daily budget and a price per click for your advert. The advert will appear on other people’s timelines and if they’re interested they will click through to your page and may even like it. The more likes and more interactions your page is getting overall the higher it will appear and more often it’ll appear on the Facebook search so there is a chance you could also acquire a lot of free traffic too outside of your paid ads.
Advertising on Twitter
Twitter advertising is all based around “promoted tweets”. Similar to Facebook you set a daily budget and a max price you’d pay for what is known as an interaction. An interaction is someone clicking your ad and either visiting your site, retweeting or adding as a favourite. With twitter advertising you can gain a huge reach extremely quickly and cheaply providing your promoted tweet is good. If it’s a boring tweet with no social interest, you’re just going to be paying for click after click. So if you had a £10 budget and were paying £1 per click then you’d get 10 clicks – that’s it. If however you wrote a tweet that someone clicked and it got 1000 retweets, that’s 1000 extra eyes on your ad and all you’ve paid for is the single £1 click that it derived from initially. This is why it’s important to get the most out of your ad copy and make it go as “viral” as possible.
Twitter is handy as you can be highly specific with whom to target. You can target countries, demographics and general locations as you can with any paid ad service but Twitter also lets you target followers of other users. So if your competitor on twitter has a good following, you can specifically target the users who follow them and your ad will appear in their timelines.
The bottom line here is that if you want a social presence that you can link to from your existing site or even locally in your bricks and mortar business, you can do it, extremely easily and it won’t cost you a thing. Both Facebook and Twitter are completely free to register with and you can have a basic “presence” within a matter of minutes.
Even if you’re not a believer in the power of social media, given it’s free and it’s not time consuming, what have you really got to lose? I guarantee that after you make your first sale via social channels you’ll be an advocate of social media promotion and will be encouraging anyone and everyone to jump on this extremely fast moving bandwagon.