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Social media marketing drives recognition, loyalty, sales

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“These days, social media waits for no one. If you’re late for the party, you’ll probably be covered by all the noise and you might not be able to get your voice across. It could only mean that if you want to be heard by the crowd, you have to be fast; and on social media, that means you have to be really fast.” – Aaron Lee, American actor and producer.

Social media marketing, one of the most powerful tools in business today, is here to say. The question is how much more powerful it will become.

It continues to evolve and become more responsive to new technologies, especially related to mobile devices. It also seems to regularly exceed the expectations of users with the development of more and improved features and apps.

However, some still believe social media marketing is a fad, has no real business advantages and is complex and difficult to learn to use. The following statistics demonstrate a different perspective.

Hubspot indicates that 92 percent of marketers said social media marketing was important for their business, with 80 percent indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites.

Social Media Examiner reports that 97 percent of marketers are participating in social media – but 85 percent of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are best to use.

LinkedIn says 98 percent of posts with images receive more comments, and posts with links have a 200 percent higher engagement rate.

100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook daily.

More than 1 million LinkedIn users have published long-form content, with 160,000 long-form posts being published weekly. More than 19.7 million SlideShare presentations have been uploaded to the platform.

And 88 percent of businesses with more than 100 employees use Twitter for marketing purposes.

Blogging continues to grow, with more than 409 million people viewing more than 23.6 billion pages each month on WordPress alone.

While these statistics show a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, it also is very important to know the social media marketing benefits that help achieve increased sales.

< Increased and enhanced brand recognition: Your business becomes more accessible for new customers and more familiar and recognizable by existing customers.

Customers and prospects will become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple social media networks.

< Improved brand loyalty: Texas Tech studied brand loyalty and found that brands that engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from customers. The report concludes, “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience.”

Another study by Convince & Convert found that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands.

< Increased customer interaction: Regular interaction with customers is important.

People go to social media networks to compliment or brag about a product or service. They post your brand name, which provides additional exposure to existing and potential new customers who may be interested in following you for updates.

It also provides an opportunity for you to interact with major influencers on social networks and to increase visibility in the market.

< Increased inbound marketing: Without social media, inbound traffic to your business is limited to people who already know your brand and people searching for keywords related to how you are ranked on search engine optimization.

The more quality content you provide on social media, the more inbound traffic will be generated. This means more leads and more business.

< Higher search engine rankings: SEO rankings will be higher when you are active on social media because it increases the probability your brand appears to be credible and trustworthy.

A strong social media presence is a crtical success factor in achieving strong, effective SEO.

< Higher customer conversion rates: Social media marketing facilitates higher customer conversion rates. One of the most significant reasons for this is that brands become more “personalized” through interaction in social media networks.

Additionally, studies have shown that social media have a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand.

< Gaining strategic customer insight: You can gain strategic information and insights directly from your customers by “listening” to what they say on social media.

You have the ability to monitor what is being said about you, your company, products, services and their experiences and use that information to improve your business.

Glenn Ebersole, Professional Engineer, is market development manager at High Concrete Group LLC (www.highconcrete.com) in Denver, Pa. He can be reached at gebersole@high.net or 717-336-9413.

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