Social media marketing has exploded within the past few years. With the launch of Facebook in 2004 and its tremendous success, consumers have gotten in the habit of turning to their online social communities to shop, research, and compare products—as well as interact and share daily updates about their lives. And with Facebook’s success, numerous other social platforms have emerged, all being used daily by consumers. These social platforms have captured the attention of modern marketers who recognize the endless opportunities that exist when they build online relationships with these consumers. Now, in fact, a full 59% of marketers use social media for 6 hours or more every day to connect with shoppers and convey their brand messages.
As a marketing tool, social media has become indispensable. It has quickly risen to the top for those who want to extend their reach and connect with more potential customers, as well as strengthen relationships with existing customers. After all, the internet is just about the biggest single audience you could tackle. With approximately 2.3 billion active social media users, marketers could keep themselves busy for quite a while connecting with potential leads. Over the past year alone, the number of social media users has risen by 176 million, with a full 1 million new active mobile social users being added very single day. It’s an enormous audience, and smart businesses realize that with the right messages, they can tap into a market that’s eager to connect.
A fairly new job title for most companies is that of Social Media Marketer, but it’s now a must-have position for businesses looking to stay ahead in a marketplace that’s dominated by social consumers. Consumers are not only spending time researching and shopping online, they are also engaging with the brands they love; and they expect quick responses and quality content from those brands. 70% of Twitter users expect a response from the brands they reach out to, and 53% of those want a response within an hour! Without dedicated social media professionals working to build relationships with online consumers, many businesses would miss out on essential interactions.
These marketers spend their days finding new ways to reach out, and they work to put together strategies to build the strongest possible presence on social media. For at least 6 hours per week, they are soaking up information, looking for current trends, monitoring likes and shares on their content, creating new content, and searching for posts and reviews others have shared about their company. They’re continuously on the lookout for new ways to appeal to their audience, and they’re ready to respond quickly to social trends in order to stay relevant to consumers. It’s a hefty job, but businesses that realize the real-time, ongoing value of building relationships with online audiences are reaping the rewards.
Social media platforms have changed the way businesses, consumers, and individuals in general interact with one another. Now, everything from everyday interactions and conversations to shopping, brand researching, and purchasing takes place on social platforms. Even more complicated processes like financing and loan paperwork are beginning to find a place online as fast-paced consumers demand quicker processes for every aspect of their lives. For businesses, the amount of time spent on social media marketing has a direct correlation to the benefits of social media marketing. Or, simply stated, the more you put in, the more you get out. A strong social media marketing strategy takes time and effort, but it pays off in the end when it results in strong business-consumer relationships that lead to increased sales and retention.
Even a small amount of social interaction has benefits, however. Any time marketers spend on social media building their online presence is time well spent. Many marketers spend 5 hours or fewer per week on social media, and while most see benefits from this time, it’s not as significant as that being seen by dedicated social media marketers. It’s important to have some sort of online presence, and even if your dealership starts small, you’ll gradually see an increase in consumer interaction with your content over time. Focus on consistency and provide relevant content, while steering clear of sales pitches, and consumers will see the value you’re adding to their feeds. When you are able to dedicate more time and offer up more content, you’ll see even greater results.
The younger crowd holds a great deal of buying power today, millennials in particular, with $200 billion available for spending. Coincidentally, this generation is also very active on social media. It’s their immediate go-to for shopping, spending free time, product research, and product reviews—and for smart businesses that want to reach these consumers, a strong social media marketing strategy is a must.
With social media, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. The more time spent building an awesome social media presence, the more benefits you’ll see, including word-of-mouth recognition, a larger audience, more traffic to your website, and even an increase in sales. Your efforts won’t be wasted when you build relationships with your consumers via social media; after all, a little time spent on your strongest platforms could result in a big boost in sales. A majority of your consumers are social, and they’re waiting to connect with you!
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.