Making Sense of Social Media

Social Media
Americans are addicted to their phones. There’s no longer an age gap when it comes to online and mobile phone usage – old, young, tall, small – we’re all on our phones. So as marketers, our goal is to be where the customers are. Now more than ever, businesses of any size and type are reaping the benefits of social media. 

But before we jump right in on social media, its crucial that we take a moment to talk about how social media is a segment of your online marketing. Whether you’re talking about SEO or paid search,
preroll video or social media – they all play off each other. It’s all about meaningful impressions and frequency.

How Does It Fit? 
Let’s say a potential customer is on his phone playing a game and an ad pops up from your home remodeling business.  He may not click on it--- but his eyes have seen the ad and it registered somewhere in his brain. He then gets on Facebook and sees your post AND notices that a few of his friends have liked your page. Well – he IS considering remodeling his home, so he Google searches the name of your business and sees your website in the search results. Three digital tactics –including social media – played a part in pushing him to your website. 

Make sure your personal tendencies don’t get in the way; just because you might not be sparked by social media does not mean that your customers aren’t interested in it.
  • 3.196 billion people use social media – that’s a 13% increase over 2017.
  • In 2019, Millennials will be the largest generation – they now account for ¼ of the US population and by 2020 –when the top tier hits age 37 - they’ll account for 30% of all retail sales – that’s $1.4 trillion in spending!
  • The fastest growing age demo on Facebook is actually those over 65!
Map out your customer base by zip code/neighborhood– Does your business come from the entire area or, more likely, pockets of areas?  Use this information as a roadmap for targeting online. 

HPR clients report that 80% of their business comes from repeat customers and referrals.
That’s where the social media ‘web’ can vault your business to a new level.  If one customer comments positively on your company’s Facebook post, their friends will see the comments and more likely trust your company, because they trust what their Facebook friends say about you. It’s all about engaging your followers.

Pick Your Sites:
There are HUNDREDS of Social Media sites. What is most popular in YOUR market depends on WHERE you are and who you’re going after. This is a quick break down of the top social media players:
LinkedIn This is a great tool to promote yourself and your business…and to make connections with other professionals.
  • 44% of Linked users earn more than $75,000 in a year
  • There are 87 million Millennials on LinkedIn
  • 21% of LinkedIn users are over the age of 65
  • 11 million on Linked In are in decision-making positions
YouTube has 1 BILLION active users each month.  Video is where it’s at!  In fact, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. Advertising on YouTube has an advantage of getting your business in front of target customers who are searching topics specific to your business offerings.

PinterestIf you’re targeting 18-49 year old women and want to show ideas, Pinterest is the place to be!
  • More than 250 million monthly users
  • Over 175 billion “pins” (photos) this year, up 75% over 2017
Instagram It’s all about the imagery! This is the go-to social media site for Millennials. In fact, Instagram just surpassed Snapchat as the most used site with Millennials!
Twitter - A real-time, public microblogging network where news breaks first.  Overall, Twitter is the social media platform that boasts the most engagements with its users but it’s important to take note of your industry and market area. Twitter does extraordinarily well in some markets and can seem non-existent in others.
Facebook - In 2018, Facebook had 2.23 billion monthly active users, with 1 billion people logging on daily. It’s no secret that Facebook usage has been declining, but if you dig in on this number you’ll uncover a very important finding! It’s declining in usage for those under the age of 21. However, it is growing in the middle to upper age groups – those more likely to have disposable income.

What to Do?
Now that you are a bit more familiar with the big players in social media, what do you do with all this info? How can you cut through to get your message seen?

Consumers are wise – they no longer respond to simple marketing tactics anymore. It’s not enough to tell someone they need a product. You have to tell them why it’s better to buy from you than your competition.

Don’t just sell-sell-sell. Build up your culture and use your social media to give customers a window into your company by sharing something interesting to them: 
  • New services or equipment upgrades in the company
  • Stages of production of a product (you don’t have to give away trade secrets, but consumers do love glimpses of production facilities!)
  • Before and after photos
  • Employee birthdays and anniversaries
  • Giveaways
  • Social consciousness/charity events

Planning:Want Vs Need
It’s important to build out a content calendar to lay out all posts for at least 3 months ahead. Make these posts a mix of culture messages, tips/good information and then interject a good call to action message in there. The key is mixing these up.

If you’re going to be effective on social media, there are some simple rules:
Be Truthful
Be Local
Be Personal
Be Visual
Be Engaging
Be Consistent

and always measure ROI---Return on Investment - through stats. If you turn to an agency for assistance, never sign a contract. Your business MUST have flexibility to adjust strategies. Let the stats and your cash register tell you where to spend your dollars.

So, I’ll leave you with this – we know all of this can be a bit overwhelming… But hey! that’s why there’s companies like HPR! We can help you sift through and be successful with your message.  We’re on the web at hprmarketing.com

--Kari Downey is the CMO of HPR Marketing, with 20+ years of successful digital and traditional marketing to clients in Central Illinois and Nationwide. HPR Marketing’s phone number is  800-991-9356.
At HPR, our message is somewhat different than that of other marketing blogs. In an effort to illustrate our expertise, we often share insights into our marketing strategies. We believe that when a prospective client has a better understanding of what will work for attracting new business and improving customer retention; they’ll also gain a greater idea of which marketing firm to choose to assist them in those endeavors.