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The job of a marketer isn’t quite as straight-forward as it once was. We’ve come a long way from the traditional process of finding your target market and promoting your product in the right place, for the right price. Now, the expertise of the digital marketer is expected to range from the technical depths of SEO and analytics to the creative realms of content creation and graphic design. And as fast-changing digital trends continue to shape the way we consume content and interact with brands, this skill-set is set to evolve even further.

Differentiating between content and social media marketing is in some ways an impossible task, given that one simply doesn’t work without the other.

And with more brands investing in content than ever before, social media for business is quickly gaining more focus. Whether in the early stages of a marketing strategy or further down the track, the questions of if, how and why we need to focus on social media regularly crop up.

  • Is social media marketing really beneficial to my brand?
  • How can I measure the ROI?
  • Why is it an important part of my marketing strategy?

Finding the answers to these questions is an important yet familiar challenge for any marketer looking to elevate their audience and build their brand, but who are reluctant to wade into uncharted waters. But with 97% of online adults now regularly visiting social networks, and the typical digital consumer spending almost two hours a day networking, can you really afford to leave it to one side? The simple answer to this question is no, and here’s why...

1. Build Your Brand Following

Social media provides the perfect platform for you to build your brand following and increase brand recognition. With one third of internet users now following their favorite brands on social networks, the importance of building and nurturing that consumer-brand relationship through social media is clear. A simple and cost-effective way to put your brand right in front of your audience using the channels that they like, social media marketing can help you to expand on your messaging and make connections that count.

2. Generate More of the Right Traffic

Increasing your inbound traffic is always a top priority for marketers. Whether choosing to focus more on organic content creation or heading down the paid advertising route, social media acts as a way to expand your reach, attracting new audiences and driving inbound traffic. By consistently publishing quality content and social posts that add value to the community you’re building, your traffic will inevitably begin to grow.

This means finding out exactly what works for your audience, and feeding that funnel with better quality leads.

3. Get Better Audience and Marketplace Insights

As the importance of consumer insight continues to grow, smart brands are looking at how to get to know their audiences in more ways than one. For this reason, social media analytics is quickly becoming a must for every business to learn more about what really matters to their consumers, providing a snapshot into their daily lives and conversations. Not only this, social listening provides you with the marketplace insights and intricate glimpses into your industry and competitors that you can’t get elsewhere. This means staying ahead of the curve while connecting with your audience using the ideas, language and channels they like best.

4. Boost Your SEO Rankings

A constant source of concern for the digital marketer, the SEO question forms a key part of the equation when it comes to a well-performing marketing strategy. With SEO and social media now so intricately linked, taking a look at how your strategy can boost your identity in the world of online search is something that cannot afford to be overlooked. As Jayson DeMers outlines in the 6 Social Media Practices that Boost SEO, your social media marketing plays a major role in shaping your brand’s online identity, leading to greater visibility and more brand recognition.

5. Increase Your Brand Loyalty

Research suggests the importance of brand loyalty is growing as consumers continue to wise-up to the sensationalist sales approach and raise their expectations when it comes to the brands they buy into. As a result, smart brands are looking at new ways to engage their audience in a more authentic way, nurturing the relationship with consumers to instil this element of trust and loyalty. As Brian Sutter explains in How Much Do People Trust Your Content:

“Charming a suspicious audience isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible. If you can follow a few guidelines consistently, over time you can build a loyal, trusting audience.”

Social media helps to build that trust over time simply by engaging with your audience in a more meaningful way, actively and consistently adding value to their daily lives.

6. Establish Your Voice

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

Behind every brand is a story worth writing. And with the growing demand for more innovation and creativity to compete with what’s out there, these stories are becoming even more compelling.

Whether it be stories surrounding your brand, your people, your product or your mission, establishing that unique voice and your status as a thought leader creates much deeper links with your audience. Social media helps you to build on that story over time and portray the personality behind the brand, making those emotional links even more durable.

7. Satisfy Your Customers

While the conversation has certainly shifted from ‘satisfying your customers’ to ‘adding value to your community’, customer journey and satisfaction has never been more important. According to the latest GWI purchase drivers report, “3 in 10 cite great customer service as a key reason to advocate a brand, while 15% say that being able to live-chat online with a brand representative would motivate them to buy.” This points to the need for brands to portray themselves in a new light - ever-present, continuously active and always aware - which is precisely what social media facilitates.

8. Drive Conversations that Matter

We believe marketing that works changes people’s perceptions. But how can we do that if we don’t challenge them in the first place? By adding value to your community with rich, well-researched and data-driven stories, this can fuel debate and drive conversations on the topics that matter. Social media acts as a gateway to bring these conversations to life, where you can not only expand on your ideas, but more importantly, build meaningful relationships around them.

9. Make Meaningful Connections

Have you ever asked the question: What urges people to like, share, or even pay attention to content? The answer lies in their urge to be moved. With a world of knowledge at our fingertips, finding the stuff that actually moves you is no easy feat. Social media acts in some ways like a real-time library of ideas, opinions and facts that are making connections with people every minute of every day. Try taking the time to find out exactly what makes your audience tick, and consistently adding your two cents to feed their curiosity.

10. Stand Out From the Crowd

On WordPress alone, around 65 million new blog posts are published each month. Behind these numbers are people, established brands and small businesses, all doing their best to make themselves heard above the noise amid the fast-growing content congestion. How to compete in this overcrowded landscape is a question that’s not easy to answer, but it begins with finding your niche and adding your value. Social media marketing, when implemented in the right way, gives you the insights needed to shape your voice, the tools to elevate that voice, and the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

11. Shift Perceptions

As Al Ries famously states, “Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” Every smart marketer knows that this overall goal of shifting consumer perceptions is an increasing challenge as online audiences become more fragmented. The modern consumer is harder to reach than ever before, so the opportunities to successfully achieve this aim are fleeting. Social media makes this goal more attainable by providing a ‘direct line’ of sorts to your audience, where successfully shifting perceptions is more achievable through powerful storytelling, and where engagement times are extended.

12. Join the Conversation

Charlene Li states, "Twitter is not a technology. It's a conversation. And it's happening with or without you." While social media marketing is key for any brand looking to lead and drive the dialogues that matter to them and their audience, many often overlook the reality that the conversation is already happening. Social media platforms give you the ability to join that wider conversation that’s at play, allowing you to have your say and make your mark. This is an ideal way of keeping ahead of market trends, while getting first-hand insights into your consumers.

Like what you’ve read? Take a glimpse into the latest social media trends that could help you shape your marketing strategy with your free social networking summary report.

Get the Free GWI Social Q4 2016 Summary Report

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