Traditional marketing and advertising strategies just aren’t going to cut it anymore. In order to stay competitive, your business strategy needs to match the fast pace of our increasingly technologically-savvy world. The realm of social media marketing offers a host of benefits and is essential to staying up to date not just with your consumers, but your competitors and the rest of the world as well. Incorporating social media platforms into your overall marketing strategy says that your business is adaptable, current, and motivated to keep up with the times.
Marketing your business using social media is a cost-effective way to increase brand exposure and traffic to your webpage. Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people that are already familiar with your brand and others who search for keywords you currently rank for. According to a report conducted by SocialMediaExaminer.com, 92% of businesses reported increased exposure and 80% reported increased traffic to their websites as a result of social media marketing.
Increasing your brand’s visibility through social media is incredibly effective, and the small cost expenditure required for such efforts makes incorporating social media into your marketing strategy an easy decision.
The interactive nature of social media lets you connect with consumers in ways that have never been possible before. With social media, you can share photos and videos with consumers at the touch of a button - or click of the mouse. Businesses are able to create a strong bond with customers while keeping them updated on their latest offerings and current events. Every opportunity you have to syndicate content is valuable and should be taken advantage of in order to strengthen your brand’s voice and reach.
Social media also offers a great way for you to get personal with your customers, build relationships, and establish trust. Interacting with customers online not only allows you to better care for their needs, but also lets you demonstrate your customer service skills to the public. For example, if a customer complains about a product on your Facebook page, you can immediately address the comment, apologize, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products, which lets customers know that you care about them and their opinions.
Because social media is such an efficient way of connecting with people, you can use social media to conduct marketing research. You can create surveys or polls about new products, ask people to offer reviews, and also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. This can be helpful in planning your own business strategies, such as what kind of service or product you should be launching next, and seeing how customers are reacting to competitor’s products.
Social media marketing has the potential to make or break a brand. It offers new, exciting, and evolving channels for your brand’s voice to be heard. Don’t let your business fall behind - learn how to use social media marketing to your benefit.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing Graph & Data - 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report via SocialMediaExaminer.com
Having a strategic plan in place to guide your organization is key to ensuring its long-term success. At its most basic level, a strategic plan determines where an organization is going, how it’s going to get there, and mechanism to evaluate its progress. Strategic plans set priorities, focus energy and resources effectively, strengthen operations, unite staff towards a common goal, and asses and adjust the organization’s direction in response to an ever-changing environment.
Strategic plans typically focus on an entire organization, rather than a particular product, service, or division. The way a strategic plan is developed depends on many factors - things like the size of the business, the nature of its leadership, and its culture. There are a variety of strategic planning models, including goals-based, issues-based, and organic ones, but they all work towards the same goal: keeping your business on track, growing, and focused on the future.
The first step when creating a strategic plan is to assess and analyze where your organization currently stands. A great way to do this is with a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis. This sets the tone for the plan and ensures that you understand the environment your organization operates in. Next, you must identify what is important to your organization. Here, you set the long-term goals for the company and the direction you want to go in the future based off mission and vision statements. Once you have this in mind, it’s time to create a more detailed plan on how you are going to achieve those goals using operational planning and actionable items. You can incorporate budgets, strategies, plans for human capital, money, and action plans in this step.
Once you have your strategic plan in place, your work is not yet done. Strategic plans are dynamic - they offer opportunities for constant review and evaluation. You should continually go over strategic plans to assess company performance and identify what is and isn’t working, and make changes when needed.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always shifting and changing as search engines update their algorithms, so there are very few rules and specifics that can be stated as fact at all times. Put simply, however, SEO is the process and result of crafting changes to your website so that the site becomes one of the highest results for specific keywords identified as relating directly to the products or services your business is able to offer.
It is also important to note that Google states explicitly that no representative or company can guarantee a number 1 ranking for a search term. The constantly shifting algorithms Google and other search engines use means that results vary for each user, dependent on things that you cannot control, such as the type of device they are using, where they are geographically located, and what your competition is doing. Certain things, however, can help ensure that your site appears on the first page, and ideally in the top 3 results. This SEO is focused on two broad areas: what happens on your site, and what happens off your site.
On-site SEO is mostly behind the scenes work on your site. The code used to write your website has to follow certain rules set by search engines to be ranking highly. Search Engines want to return the best results for users, and having straightforward coding means Google or Bing can be confident that your website is understandable and they know which users would benefit from seeing your website.
The SEO that happens off your site is mostly the result of the internet’s form of word of mouth, called backlinking. Search Engines notice when people are talking about your site in forums, websites, and blogs. These backlinks to your site help search engines evaluate how popular your website is and how reliable or trustworthy your page is for a given search term. The more links you have from other reliable sources, the better you site will rank.