WILL A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY REALLY HELP MY BUSINESS?
Recently, while explaining content marketing and social media strategy building to a stranger at a party they asked me point blank, “Does a social media strategy really work, or is it all just pointless marketing fluff.” It made me laugh, and made me grateful for an opportunity to share the value of creating a social media strategy for business.
Please note that in this post we’ll address developing a social media strategy, but developing an overall content strategy is a recommendation I usually make first to my clients. Which is for a different post. If you’re looking for help in building a content marketing strategy for your brand, check out this helpful post by the Content Marketing Institute.
Why social media?
Online relevance is increasingly necessary for large and small businesses, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. The days of looking up information via printed directories, over the phone or in-person are mostly a thing of the past. Today research, business collaboration, shopping, and personal communication are increasingly performed online and on social networks.
For most businesses, having a presence on at least one social media network is no longer debated. A few years ago, utilizing social media as part of a brand’s marketing strategy was considered a novelty, but now most business leaders liken the importance of their social media marketing efforts to that of their brand’s website.
How can a social media strategy make a difference for your business?
Will all the hype around social media, it is easy to get caught up in what’s new, and not plan for what your target audience needs. When executed within a well-planned and continually measured social media strategy, there are a number of definitive benefits, proven over time by many large and small companies. These include:
- Increased brand exposure
- Increased website traffic
- Developing a loyal fan base
- Generating leads
- Improved search engine ranking
- Growing business partnerships
- Reduced marketing expense (over traditional marketing tactics)
- Improved sales
- Increased market insight (with no added expense)
- Customer service improvement
But we’re a financial institution, can we still benefit?
Many financial institutions feel that they shouldn’t participate in social media because only companies like Nike, and other novelty brands, have something to say. Plus, there’s always a risk associated with more exposure. This is an understandable fear, but also an unfounded one. Social media can be effective for all brands, and provides a unique opportunity to connect your brand to your customers.
Build credibility – No matter what a company sells, who they serve, or what services they offer, statistics show they’re target audience doesn’t really care. What do they care about? It’s an easy answer; just ask yourself, “what do I care about?” Likely you’ll answer something like, “my family, my hobby, my wife/husband, my job, my health, my retirement…”, the list goes on and on. This is what successful brands have pinpointed, and use to build credibility on social media networks.
Be a leader – For financial institutions it’s more important than ever to connect with their customers and prospects where they are communicating with each other – online. That is why it’s imperative to have a presence on social media networks. If nothing else, to communicate that our company is forward thinking, human, has engaged and thoughtful employees, contributes to the community, cares about our customers and answers questions/complaints in a timely manner. Implementation of social media strategies also conveys an institution’s relevance and commitment specific to electronic and direct delivery.