6 Ways Social Media Marketing Can Help Grow Your Business

If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve already considered using social media marketing to help get the word out about your business.

As society becomes more and more reliant on the digital landscape to connect and stay informed, social media becomes an increasingly necessary tool for businesses. That said, social media marketing isn’t only imperative for staying relevant. Social media platforms offer a versatile, new way to reach potential buyers. You can get more creative, experiment with new approaches, stay on top of current trends and conversations, and immediately course correct on any efforts that aren’t working.    

An enormous tool you can use for online marketing and in different sales strategies for your business is Social Media. Generally speaking, most business websites use social media to boost their sales and to promote their business for their own good. More specifically, 82 percent of small business owners are already tapping into social media grow their brands. But in your particular situation, how can you transform social media into your best sales opportunity?

The most important thing to realize is that social media marketing does not stand alone. As with any public platform your business uses, your brand’s presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn should be deliberately designed to integrate with a larger digital marketing strategy. That’s why it’s especially important to fully grasp all the implications of social media marketing. Take a moment to understand the specific strengths of social media outreach and how this approach fits in with your overall marketing strategy.

Social media isn’t going anywhere. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to jump in, that time is now.

1. Social Media Helps Get the Word Out & Increase Brand Recognition

Do you know anyone with a social media account? Ridiculous question, right? Currently, around 81% of Americans have active social media accounts. From a marketing perspective, that’s an opportunity for a level of exposure no business can afford to pass up. If your business still isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on an exceptional opportunity to gain brand recognition and build brand affinity. You can promote your business and take significant steps toward building a loyal customer base.

Not to mention, the very nature of social media allows you to create actual relationships with your buyers. Every platform offers you a way to engage with your target audience directly, respond to their questions, concerns, and enthusiasm, and keep your brand front and center even when they’re not looking to make a purchase. Your presence on social media also makes it easier for fans and followers to share and promote your business.

2. Increasing Search Engine Visibility

Let’s talk about SEO. The goal of search engine optimization is to boost your business’s visibility in organic search engine results. Most likely, SEO already plays a role in your current marketing plan. After all, more than 95% of search traffic ends with the first page of search engine results…meaning if you’re not on the first page, 95% of buyers looking for your product will never find it. They’ll find your competitor instead.

What you may not realize is that social media is a noteworthy factor in search engine rankings. Search engines assign greater authority to peer-endorsed websites. To put it another way, if other sites talk about and link to your website, the search engine algorithm assumes your site is high-authority, high-quality, and should therefore be high-ranking.

This is where social media comes in. It isn’t just that your presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram help your search engine rankings. The more great content you share on social media, the more linking relationships are generated as your audience shares and engages with your posts. That can mean a huge boost for your business in organic search results. To put it another way, you can’t afford to neglect social media for SEO reasons alone.

3. Social Media Reaches All Ages and Demographics

Sure, there was a time when social media was only for the young and hip. Those days are gone.

Through a study performed in 2015, Pew Research Center found that 65% of adults in the United States use social networks. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, social media use increased from 8% to 77% percent among adults ages 30-49. That’s a bump of 69 points. Clearly, social media isn’t going anywhere, and the longer it sticks around, the more diverse its user base becomes. No matter who you’re trying to reach, you’ll find your target audience on social media.

4. Gain Valuable Consumer Insight

For every business in every industry, the ultimate goal is knowing your customer as well as you know your own product. When you know your target audience—from age to income to personal values—you can tailor a truly effective marketing strategy. However, sometimes buyers seem unknowable and unpredictable, and research efforts like focus groups take considerable time and money out of your budget.

Social media, however, is a tool designed specifically for the purpose of sharing personal information. By interacting with your buyers online, you have direct access to their opinions, thoughts, and priorities. You learn what they hate, what they love, what they aspire to, and even how they make purchasing decisions. Through social media, you gain valuable insights into your audience, and you gain these insights easily and at no real expense.

5. Social Media Can Optimize Your Email Marketing

Email is the old standby in digital marketing, largely because it remains the marketing channel with the biggest ROI. With social media, you can extend the reach of your email marketing even further, which means increasing your return on investment.   

Every email newsletter can now be shared on social media platforms. You no longer have to have email addresses to share your news, content, and announcements. You can reach anyone at any time. Even better, sharing your newsletter on social media makes it easy for modern buyers to pass the news along, create buzz, or engage with your business directly.

Sites like Facebook even include an option to create a “Join My Mailing List” link on your Page. And because your Page will already feature the kind of content that resonates with audiences, that link will hold a little more value to prospective customers. They already know that the information you share is information they care about.

6. Driving Web Traffic

Social media is essentially another gateway to your website. The more you use social media, the more opportunities there are for customers to find you online. Every engagement and every interaction creates another avenue guiding new visitors to your site. That’s why it’s especially important to not just establish a social media presence but to maintain it. The more you participate, the greater your ROE—return on engagement.

So much of social media marketing is about building awareness and bolstering curiosity. In digital marketing terms, we would say most social media marketing tends to sit higher on the marketing funnel. However, just because our ultimate goal is revenue, don’t make the grave mistake of underestimating what a game-changer social media can be. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook represent your opportunity to shape buyers’ perception of your brand from day one. It’s an opportunity to engage, inspire, motivate, and establish your business as a quality resource at the very beginning.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see buyers charge through that marketing funnel faster than they ever have before.

3 Website A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing is becoming more and more common as teams realize how important it is for a website’s success.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Web is a huge, competitive marketplace with very few (if any) untapped markets, meaning that being successful by offering something unique is rare. Much more common is that you’re competing for the business of your customers with several other websites, so attempting to convert every visitor into a customer or upselling/cross-selling your services better could make all the difference to your bottom line.

Due to this, the market for A/B testing tools and CRO (conversion rate optimization) tools is growing exponentially. But choosing one can be quite a time-consuming challenge, so in this article, I’ll compare the best A/B testing tools to help you decide which is most suitable for you or your team.

A/B testing is about experimenting with visual and content changes to see which results in more conversions.A/B testing often follows usability testing as a means of testing a solution to a flaw in the user experience identified using metrics like bounce rate in an analytics tool like Google Analytics, and thanks to the depth and quality of A/B testing tools available now, A/B testing is accessible to designers as well as marketers and developers.

 

1. Optimizely

Optimizely is one of the leading — if not the leading — A/B testing and CRO tools on the market today. It offers analytics tools to suit users of all levels and a multitude of A/B testing tools. (You could think of it as the Google Analytics of A/B testing, with a much simpler user interface.)

Consider this scenario: You have an eCommerce store built with Magento. You’re aware that in certain cases it may benefit stores to add a one-step checkout solution instead of the standard multi-page checkout, but you’re not sure if your store fits that use case. You need to test both options and compare the results with/without the one-step checkout experience. You know that running two versions of the checkout simultaneously requires changes to the code, which is a complex matter.

With Optimizely, you can send a certain amount of your users to a totally separate checkout experience to collect conversion data. If the experiment yields negative results, you delete the experiment and the original checkout web page still exists and works fine. No harm was done.

With their Web Experimentation tool, which offers an easy-to-use visual editor to create A/B tests without requiring a developer (optional), the ability to target specific user types and segments, and create experiments on any device, Optimizely has all your bases covered.

Although you can run A/B tests without a developer, your variations can be more targeted (for example, your variations can go beyond color, layout and content changes) if you have the skills and/or resources to develop custom experiments with code. By integrating your A/B tests into your code, you can serve different logic and test major changes before pushing them live.

Also, if your product extends beyond the web, Optimizely works with iOS, tvOS and Android apps. Optimizely’s Full Stack integrations make it possible to integrate A/B tests into virtually any codebase, including Python, Java, Ruby, Node, PHP, C#, Swift, and Android.

2. Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a free, easy-to-use tool that integrates directly with your Google Analytics Events and Goals to make A/B testing quick and easy! It’s ideal for traditional A/B testing, focusing on comparing different CTA (call to action) elements, colors, and content.

Developers aren’t required for implementing Google Optimize since it’s as simple as adding a line of JavaScript to your website and then customizing your layout with the visual editor. With this, you can change the content, layout, colors, classes, and HTML of any element within your page.

It’s not as sophisticated as Optimizely, since it doesn’t allow you to create custom experiments with code/developers, but it’s free. It’s great for those starting out with A/B testing. For each Google Optimize experiment, you’ll need to specify which Google Analytics Goals or Events will be the baseline for your A/B tests. For example, if you were A/B testing a product page, you could use an “Add To Basket” event that you’ve defined in Google Analytics to evaluate which of your variations converts the best. The Google Analytics report then gives you a clear indication of which variation converts best. It’s ideal for those on a low budget!

Just don’t get carried away, as Google famously once did, by testing 40 different shades of blue to see which converted best!

3. Unbounce

Unbounce focuses on landing pages and convertible tools. Convertible tools use triggers, scenario-based overlays and sticky bars to A/B test offers and messages to learn when, where and why your visitors convert. An example? If a user tries to leave your site, they’re shown a discount code in a modal or a sticky header, and a test will determine which is more effective.

Landing pages can be an amazing way to validate your ideas, build excitement around a new product, and/or re-engage dormant customers. The problem with them is that they can result in false positives. If you get very few conversions you may feel like your idea is invalidated or demand for the new product doesn’t exist, when in reality users were just unimpressed and/or unconvinced by the landing. Unbounce helps you to determine what your landing is missing.

While you can choose from over 100 responsive templates designed for many markets, goals, and scenarios, and then customize it with your own content using their drag and drop UI, you can also integrate Unbounce with your own design, making a terrific solution for designers and marketers who need to collaborate. Unbounce also works with Zapier and Mailchimp, so data can be transferred across the other apps and tools that marketers use.

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Author: Jamie Murphy
Source: sitepoint.com

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