How Social Media Can Help Your Business

Millions upon millions of people have created their own presence via social media. It isn’t just a place for individuals to keep in touch with family and friends, it has also grown into an extraordinary marketing tool that businesses should take advantage of. Facebook and Twitter for example have upwards of 600 million and 400 million users respectively, providing businesses and marketers with a vast platform of people to market to. Marketing is an action businesses need to take to attract consumers to their products or services. Social media marketing is just a new form of  marketing in the new digital age we are living in.

Social media marketing has many benefits for businesses. Here are 4 ways social media marketing can help businesses and marketers.

1. Increase exposure: If social media is just used at its simplest form by just minimally creating a presence and updating it on occasion, you are still creating exposure to your business. Social media marketing allows for your name to be seen. Since millions of people participate in social media, the more you use social media increases your chances for exposure.

2. Increased traffic: Social media marketing allows for traffic to be increased. One benefit of social media is that you can provide links to your website or anything else related to your business. By providing links and information for people, there is a higher probability of creating traffic as your exposure becomes more proficient.

3. Lead Generation: If you think just teens and college students are using social media you are wrong. Businesses all over the world are using social media for marketing. This provides businesses with another way to generate leads and interact with them. Social media networks also provide a wider reach and database of people who could be leads.

4. Advertising: One of the main benefits of social media is that most sites are free. This gives companies the ability to have their name present without spending a dime. The best part of using social media for advertising is that users that know and like you are automatically endorsing you.

Marketing via social media is a great way for businesses to get noticed. It is easy to get started as well as easy to maintain. Social media is changing the way we market businesses, products, and services.

Effectiveness of B2B Social Media Marketing

Social media in a business setting has begged the question…how does this whole thing translate into sales? It’s a great yet complex question.

Now that social media has been around for a short while, marketers are beginning to understand how to use the medium to its full effectiveness. And hard selling via Facebook, Twitter, etc. is not the way to go. In fact, it’s a definite no-no to over-saturate your company’s blog, Twitter, & Facebook feed with advertisements and overt sales propositions. Using these social networks tastefully for business requires one to “know their audience”. It’s ok to inform your social networks about your company and engage in conversation- that’s the point. Show your personality.

Social media for business gets even more tricky in a B2B arena. Businesses are especially less patient with other businesses blatantly selling on social networks. B2B companies need to look at their social media strategies as branding devices rather than a virtual member of the sales team.

A recent social media marketing survey shows what B2B companies are identifying as the most effective uses of social media. The sample size was approx. 1,800 people.

Most Effective Uses of Social Media for B2B Companies

Influence brand reputation- 39%
Improve search engine rankings- 38%
Increase brand awareness- 37%
Increase website traffic- 33%
Generate leads- 17%
Improve internal communications- 17%
Increase online sales- 13%

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Social Media and B2B Lead Generation

A new study by Leadforce1 shows that social media right now might not be the best way to garner leads for B2B companies. In fact, very seldom are visitors from top social sites looking at product or contact pages. This suggests that they’re not in the market for the company’s products or services rather, they’re most likely to be interested in a company’s blog or ‘About us’ page.

This ranked list reveals the site pages of interest for visitors coming from Facebook to visit B2B websites (#1 being the most visited page):

1. About Us
2. Blog
3. Management Team
4. Contact Us
5. Careers
6. Products

Another list shows the rankings of site pages of interest for Twitter users visiting B2B websites:

1. Blog
2. About Us
3. Products
4. Contact Us
5. Management Team

These lists may not seem too promising for sales however, the visitors seem to have an interest in learning about the company which is a common behavior and usually the first step in B2B relationship building.

In addition, most B2B site visitors from Facebook and Twitter are not sticking around for very long. This data reflects the percentage of visitors referred from social media sites to B2B sites who only visited a single page before leaving:

1. Facebook- 63%
2. Twitter- 63%
3. LinkedIn- 39%
4. Wikipedia- 39%

LinkedIn and Wikipedia referrals generally were more likely to browse around on a company’s website before moving on. Further, LinkedIn visitors were most interested in “Careers” pages suggesting that the network refers many job seekers.

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Email Marketing Objectives

Email marketing is becoming an increasingly effective marketing tool and is replacing direct mail marketing more and more each day. Because of the recession, companies who may have taken longer to migrate to email marketing have done so sooner because of its cost effectiveness. Costs associated with mailing and printing are being avoided while marketers are thrilled with email marketing’s flexibility.

So what are you using email marketing for? What objectives are important to you and your bottom line? A recent “Email Marketing Benchmark Survey” was conducted by Marketing Sherpa. It shows which objectives are important and not-so-important to your peers who are relying more and more on email marketing. Here are the results from the six most important email marketing objectives that topped the list from the 1,493 respondents:

To no surprise, retaining existing customers was the most important objective. After all, keeping customers is a lot more cost-effective that finding new ones. Lead generation is typically more important to medium-sized companies than large ones as they are more agile and may be able to seize opportunities quicker to gain market share. B2C companies are putting more value into driving online sales with email marketing while B2B companies are relying on the medium more heavily to drive offline sales.

More info:
Marketing Sherpa

So, Your Company Doesn’t Use Twitter Huh?

With all of this buzz about Twitter and social media, it’s hard to decifer exactly how or why we should use them as marketing mediums. We know social media isn’t a trend but it’s new and hard to quantify its relation to our bottom line. To even make a strong commitment to a social media marketing strategy, it’s difficult to visualize the opportunities of these social universes. It’s fantastic to run across research data like the following to help us understand the magnitude of social media.

Research by internet marketing firm Hubspot shows that once a B2C company has more than 100 followers on Twitter, its monthly lead generation dramatically improves. 101-500 followers is the lead “Sweet spot”.

A B2C company with 1-20 followers will generate an average of 11 leads per month while the average grows 27% to 14 leads with 21-100 Twitter followers. The most significant lead growth happens when a B2C company enters the 100-500 range of Twitter followers. At that point the lead average growth is 146% or 35 leads.

However, according to the research, lead growth does not grow after 500 followers. B2C companies with 501 or more Twitter followers report an 8.6% decrease in leads to 32. Hubspot suggests that this is due to the challenge of growing engaged followers. Engaged followers will retweet content to their own followers and be more active in general in following the company.

B2C companies who use Twitter generate two times more leads overall than companies who do not have a Twitter account. These results stay consistent relative to company size. Hubspot recommends that B2C companies use Twitter to build relationships with individuals who prefer shorter content to build their Twitter reach by following companies related to their industry. These are the users who are most likely to be engaged followers.

More info:
Hubspot Blog
Marketing Vox