We’re moving into 2018 and the number of businesses (especially here in my hometown) that are still lacking a social media strategy is crazy.

The fact that there are still companies spending more to advertise on a billboard than on the content they create for their social channels is baffling.

Now, I understand that attempting to create a shift in the traditional outbound mentality most business owners like to rely on is a difficult task.

Exploring uncharted territory is never an easy thing to do when it’s your business on the line. That being said I do also believe 100% that you should experiment with everything, which includes both inbound and outbound methods of marketing.

Then you double down on the outlets that are MEASURABLY producing the best results for you. Measurably being the keyword here, and the main reason I love social media so much. Through social media (and other 3rd party tools) we can quantifiably associate things like sales with the content/posts we create.

Now, before we discuss the 6 reasons you need a social strategy…

Allow me to highlight some very important numbers from 2017 that ALL business owners need to be aware of.

 

In 2017 users spent an average of 135 minutes a day on social networks

 

That’s over 2 hours a day!

The potential to present useful, informative, or entertaining content that resonates with your potential customers only continues to grow.

 

Facebook is the most widely used social network with 79% of American internet users

There are certainly people who believe the golden age of Facebook has been tapped out and it’s time to look elsewhere. Someday that may very well be the case, but that day is not today. We are still in a time where Facebook ads hold an immense amount of potential for small business owners.

Have you created your own Facebook business page yet? If you haven’t make that the first thing you do in the new year.

 

YouTube reaches to ages of 18-34 and 18-49 year old users more prominently than any other social network

 

With attention continuing to build on Facebook, YouTube is being overlooked. If your buyer persona falls within those age ranges I would be remiss if I didn’t advocate experimenting with a YouTube pre-roll ad.

32% of all Teenagers believe that Instagram is the most important social network

51% of Instagram users access the platform daily and 35% access it several times a day

 

If your company sells a physical product of some kind you’re missing out on the underpriced attention that Instagram commands. You need to leverage everything from influencers to the catalogue style product ads in 2018. The numbers clearly show that attention continues to build on social networks.

Now how does that attention also translate into a possible advantage for you?

 

You Can Target Your Audience Much More Effectively

 

Platforms like Google and Facebook (Facebook especially) have made it incredibly easy to target potential customers based on their specific interests, location, job title, education, income and so much more.

See, one of the biggest problems with a lot of outbound methods of advertising is the lack of control you have over your targeting.

With a billboard, for example, you’re showing your message to anyone who happens to drive by that day.

Even if they happen to be outside of your ideal age range or location, you’re still paying for them to see your ad.

Here are a few screenshots from the targeting section on Facebook that should help illustrate my point.

 

Geo-Targeting (Targeting or Excluding by Location)

 

Social Media Strategy

 

Additional Detailed Targeting

 

Social Media Strategy

 

 

Facebook has by far the best targeting capabilities available right now, and they know it. Which is why you have to “Pay to Play”

The lack of organic potential currently available on Facebook seems to be preventing a number of businesses from devoting their time there.

Which in all honestly is a huge mistake and potentially an opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage in your local market.

 

Gather Immediate Customer Feedback

 

Social media allows for immediate feedback (both negative and positive) from your current and potential customers.

This allows you to grow and adapt based on that feedback while being able to respond directly.

Social media can often help you avoid having to send out surveys via direct mail or email.

Which as you know means it can save you both time and money. It also allows for a very powerful form of social proof. Social proof being the proof on social media that customers enjoy your products or services.

 

Web Traffic, Lead Generation, Search Ranking

 

One of the primary uses of social media is to drive traffic or “clicks” back to your website. Most platforms will give you insight on how your audience is interacting with your posts. However, if you want to track the volume of users actually heading back to your site start with free services like Google Analytics or Bitly.

Traffic and clicks are part of the larger funnel for converting more customers online. First, you need attention, then you need to convert that attention into web traffic. Finally, you convert web traffic into leads. That’s usually accomplished through landing pages or some type of promotional offer. The starting point for generating both attention and traffic can be traced directly back to social networks.

 

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Social media can also positively contribute to your search rankings in a number of different ways. One of the biggest ways is through reviews. When people search for your business or name, Google will display reviews found in 3 key places. Those being Facebook, Yelp, and Google. You’ll also find that when your content is shared on social media by you and other potential readers. Google sees this as a sign of relevance, if people share your content it must be good content to display to users searching on Google.

 

Customer Service and Brand Loyalty

 

Every day it gets easier and easier to directly connect and interact with your customers via social media.

Which allows you to build a very strong bond with your customers while fostering a very powerful network.

Timely, and relevant communication with your customers will also help you build a very loyal fan base.

Which contributes to the number of advocates you have on social networks.

Loyal fans who become advocates of your brand contribute to the overall traffic and visibility of your products or services online.

 

Social Media Can Save You MONEY

 

You heard me right, an effective social strategy can save you quite a bit of money. One of the biggest challenges facing start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses (SME’s) is increasing brand awareness on a budget.

Social media is an excellent way to generate substantial brand awareness. Especially compared to the potential of more traditional marketing mediums. In fact, on a cost per impression basis, social media is the only way to reach (on average) over 1000 people for less than $3.

 

 

 

Brand Awareness and Exposure 

 

If it’s cheaper to reach more people on social media….that means….it’s probably a good place to increase your overall brand awareness….right?

RIGHT!

The whole idea behind a social media presence is to represent your brand through a wide variety of content. Images, blogs, videos, live video, long-form posts….the list goes on and on.

Outside of full-scale ad campaigns, networks like Facebook also have great brand awareness tools…like boosted posts. When you’re not after direct lead generation you can leverage cost-effective boosted content for as little as $3 a day. Which is a great and cheap way to grow your base of traffic and overall company awareness.

 

 

All these major platforms are fighting to become more and more integrated into our daily lives.As a small business owner if you want to survive you need to be present where the attention naturally is. The potential customers you’re looking for (local or not) are not naturally placing their attention on billboards.

But they sure spend a heck of a lot of time on their phones.