Social media has now existed for more than a decade in its current form and continues to become increasingly popular year after year. Across the globe the number of social media users is predicted to rise to 2.62 billion this year and over 3 billion by 2021, with approximately 71% of worldwide internet users already active social network users in 2017 (Statista).
Clearly the use of social media networks and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Snapchat is not set to disappear anytime soon; in fact the opposite is true as these become ever more popular and important in people’s lives. This isn’t just true amongst teenagers and young adults, as many older adults frequently use social media networks such as Facebook.
In terms of entertainment, news, networking, the workplace, finding employment and many other aspects of our daily lives, all indicators suggest that social media will continue to increase in importance, based on its current massive popularity. In fact, the internet and social media is now one of the primary forms of entertainment for millions of people, especially Millennials and Generation Z. This means social networks are now one of the most important ways that brands can successfully market themselves, as this is where attention now lies.
What Social Media Means for Your Brand
Brands that are not actively engaged in social media on a daily basis are missing out on a massively important and hugely cost effective marketing strategy. On top of this, your brand is also well behind many of your competitors who have been utilising the vast marketing potential of social media for potentially over a decade.
The different channels have been used highly successfully by companies to advertise their products, answer a huge variety of different queries, attract new clients to purchase their products or services, and create long term business to client relationships, thus all leading to increased profits.
Many brands are under the mistaken impression that it is enough just to concentrate their social media efforts on their Facebook page, and that this means they have social media covered. This is simply not the case though, as there is far more to social than Facebook. Marketing teams make the mistake of automatically sharing posts from their Facebook page directly to Twitter and other channels. This displays a certain laziness and that the brand doesn’t necessarily care about their audience, thus decreasing the value and trust of the brand to potential clients. If they are lazy with social media, then what else are potentially lazy with?
It is undeniable that Facebook is by far the biggest social network in terms of overall number of active accounts (2.06 Billion), but other social channels are also huge in terms of the number of people across the world using them, such as:
YouTube (1.5 Billion)
Instagram (700 Million)
Tumblr (368 Million)
Twitter (328 Million)
Snapchat (255 Million)
Pinterest (200 Million)
(Statistics from Statista, September 2017)
Clearly it would be a huge marketing mistake to neglect all of these, because your brand is missing out on an audience of potentially hundreds of millions if not billions of worldwide users.
Creating great content and being active on all the major channels is only the beginning though. In order to be able to share all the great content that your brand produces such as excellent blog posts, photos and videos to as wide an audience as possible, you need to grow an active and engaged follower base. One of the easiest and most effective ways for your content to reach a larger audience is to encourage all of your team to be active on social media.
Your Team Can be your Biggest Advocates and Advertisers
Your team working within your company (not just the owner and marketing team) can be your greatest advocates and advertisers. The chances are statistically high that almost all of them are active users of at least one social network (probably Facebook) and quite possibly several others (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.).
Due to this, depending on how active they are on these social platforms, every one of your staff within your company has a potential audience of hundreds or even thousands of people. What’s more amazing is that each of your employee’s connections on Facebook and other social networks also have their own hundreds or thousands of connections, and so on. As you can tell, this is how an effective post on social media can create a ripple effect and have the potential to go ‘viral’ I.e. become famous across the world.
Produce Quality Share-Worthy Content
In order to significantly increase the reach of your brand’s posts on its social media channels, it is important to encourage your team to share this content with their online connections. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by investing in the production of quality content such as professionally produced photos, videos and blog posts. This is due to the fact that your staff will be far more open to the idea of sharing things with their friends, family and wider connections that they perceive will be of value or interest to those connections.
On the other hand if it is a poor quality photo, hastily taken on a mobile and uploaded to your brand’s Facebook page accompanied with a boring caption, it is unlikely that many, if any people will feel inclined to share it, including your brand’s team. Instead people like to share things that they feel will impress, interest, amuse or be useful, that spark an emotional reaction amongst others, just like it has done for them.
Involve Your Staff in this Content
If your content involves your team directly, in photos or videos, or indirectly through an idea that they had, then they will be much more likely to share these social media posts. This is again connected to the idea that people love to share things that they feel may impress or interest their family. It could be a short video of one of your team giving their thoughts on something related to your brand, some photos of your team helping out clients, or some happy snaps of one of someone at your company celebrating their birthday with colleagues.
This kind of content is also great as it helps to humanize the brand and make it look less corporate, money focused and boring. The potential for creative ideas for social media posts involving your team are almost endless, and they will be even more pleased if you give them the opportunity to come up with their own concepts. By involving all of your team more, this will also give them a greater sense of being a valued part of the success of the brand.
Train your Staff to Effectively use Social Media
One of the potential issues to face if you want to get more of your team involved in creating, posting and sharing content for your company, is that many staff don’t know how to use it effectively. They may have profiles on some of the social media channels, but not understand the true power of this new medium for helping to promote your brand to a wider audience.
For many people social media is seen as something fun, but with little serious use. Of course if you look at statistics and case studies, social media marketing has a massive potential to increase your brand’s profits and success. In order for your team outside of just the marketing department to be able to help in this success, they need to understand the potential of social media, how to use it effectively and be given creative freedom to express themselves.
On the other hand they also need to be informed about the potential pitfalls of posting the wrong things, such as how inappropriate content can make them and your brand look bad. Employees should be taught not to post insensitive content that could offend others linked to inflammatory topics, but they shouldn’t be put off from posting things, by worrying about the odd mistake such as if the photo or video wasn’t completely perfect.
Let Your Team Know About the Results
Your staff may question the importance and effectiveness of social media, because to many people it is seen as simply a fun way to waste a bit of time. The possibility to reach a truly global audience is undeniable though, with well over 2.5 billion worldwide active social media users. With the right marketing, content and message, potentially any one of these could be your next customer and future fan after seeing your brand’s social media posts.
During 2018 and beyond, the content you produce and the social media channels you have now and in the future, should increasingly become your advertising channels, rather than TV and print. The old fashioned style of marketing such as advertising on TV, billboards, magazines, newspapers and radio are gradually fading in importance.
Keep your staff within your organisation regularly updated either on a weekly or monthly basis on social media stats showing increases in audience numbers, the reach of the content they are helping to produce, the engagement on this content, and how it is leading to increasing website traffic and sales. Rather than a bit of meaningless fun, this will show your staff that social media makes real business sense.
Both in people’s daily lives and the success of businesses around the world, social media is clearly hugely important in today’s world. There are many examples of forward thinking company founders and owners who see the importance of involving all of their team in their businesses’ social media strategy. According to Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of G Adventures, the largest adventure travel company in the world:
It is critically important for brand engagement with customers and employees. All of our staff get involved. #ScotiaBizSeries
— Bruce Poon Tip (@brucepoontip) October 4, 2016
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