You don’t have to be a social media junkie to understand that this medium has changed the way we communicate. We’re sharing our lives, our personal challenges and triumphs with our communities. We’re also sharing the minutiae, the silly things that humanize us and make us interesting. The collection of our random posts, these snippets of information accompanied by images help tell our stories; they document our lives. This personal component has become an important part of the new marketing paradigm—there needs to be an emotional connection, and people want to know about the people with whom they’re going to be working.
Forget about “not my audience”
Many of my clients are in B2B environments, and they discount social media as a communication tool for kids. I get a lot of “not my audience.” Their single concession consists of a boring profile on Linkedin. But social media isn’t just for kids anymore; creating a social media presence and owning it is a critical part of building your online presence. It has a tremendous impact on your SEO value. Every time your name and that of your business appears in the online space, it contributes to your SEO value. It’s cumulative. Consistent with Google’s last few algorithm changes, there’s an emphasis on quality content. Posts that are thoughtful, timely, well-written and relevant. Use images—people expect to be entertained.
Social media should be part of every B2B marketing strategy
Recent research looking at buyers in the IT sector found that 86% use social media when making a purchase decision. These buyers tend to be the young adults who are also using social media for fun.
But the research also showed where the influential decision-makers tend to hang out:
- 83% research on LinkedIn
- 80% check out Twitter
- 80% look at Facebook business pages
- 61% review YouTube videos
- 39% use Google+
Do these numbers surprise you? They shouldn’t
Twitter just celebrated its tenth birthday. Facebook is 12 and Linkedin is now a rambunctious teenager, at 14. And these are just the Big 4. This doesn’t include Instagram, Snapchat and the gazillion or so other social media apps that are popping up and capturing people’s imaginations every month.
Social media is not going away; it’s an accessible communication tool that’s deeply ingrained in our lives. Informed buyers these days expect to do research before purchasing a product or service, and the vehicle to do that is conveniently located in the palm of their hands—the ever-present cellphone. They’ll look at your website, read your About section and your Linkedin profile. They’ll also go to your social media sites to see what kind of presence you have. They’ll want to see what you’re posting and what people are posting about you.
Just one channel in an overall marketing plan
Social media is just one marketing channel, but it should be part of a larger marketing strategy. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are overwhelmed by social media—they don’t have the resources to really create a robust presence and build a huge community. That’s okay. The important thing is to have a steady, consistent message that’s informative and fun. Don’t become a slave to social media—but you can’t afford to neglect it either.