Walk into your local coffee shop and you are sure to see a sign encouraging customers to follow the establishment on their various social media platforms.

Attend a networking conference and it’s not uncommon to hear, “What’s your Instagram handle?”

Pull up a quick Google search and, more often than not, the business that you’re looking for has a Facebook or LinkedIn page providing regular updates.

Over the years, social media has evolved from a simple communication experiment to a massive digital world spread over various platforms. Businesses make use of social media marketing to expand their reach and visibility, while consumers use social media to research new companies and products that they resonate with.

There are a lot of benefits from using social media for your business. But with millions of people logged on everyday, it can be hard to stick out. There are brands and entrepreneurs who dominate the online world, and have utilized social media successfully.

The question is - is social media marketing worth the investment in 2020? 

Let’s dive deeper into this topic.

The top five social media platforms

While social media marketing can deliver positive results for a brand, without a strategy, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with creating content and choosing between the many platforms available. A quality social media strategy is one that has a purpose, is aligned with the brand’s identity, and focuses on the right type of content that will reach their ideal audience. 

For businesses, the top five social media platforms that we recommend are:

  1. Instagram

  2. YouTube

  3. Facebook

  4. TikTok

  5. Twitter

With many other platforms including LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr, to name a few, it can be confusing to determine which channel is ideal for your business and particular industry. When done well, the benefits of social media marketing for businesses are:

    • Faster, easier communication with consumers 
    • Expanded reach and increased visibility
    • Improved brand awareness and impressions
    • The ability to analyze data and metrics
    • Better qualify leads through your sales process

The seven functions of social media

Understanding the functional building blocks of social media is key to navigating the complexities that can come with building an effective strategy. The seven functions of social media are: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. 

We take a look at each function and how they relate to a social media marketing strategy for businesses. 

  • Identity represents "the extent to which users reveal their identities in a social media setting" and is the most basic function of social media across all platforms. For businesses, this can include information like name, location, and how your brand is portrayed to consumers (i.e. Apple - simple, innovative, forward). Instagram is a great platform to share your brand’s identity through on-brand photos and captions.
  • Conversations address how your customers communicate with others in a social media setting, and that includes your brand. Twitter hashtag threads are infamous for creating conversations and sparking debate. In today’s digital world, consumers have a positive impression with brands that use their platform and their influence to address trending topics and news-breaking current events.
  • Sharing is simply the exchange between people. Think of an article shared on Facebook, a Tik Tok or YouTube video, an inspirational quote on Instagram, or a powerful statement on Twitter - a shared piece of content for your business could help to expand your visibility and your reach.
  • Presence is cultivated through consistent content - whether it’s a status update, a Facebook live, or a quick story on Instagram, presence is an important element of a social media marketing strategy. Consistency keeps you at the forefront of your current and potential customer’s minds and builds trust knowing that your business will keep providing value for them. 
  • Relationships represent the two-way communication between your business and your audience. Building a relationship increases your know-like-trust factor. The more a consumer knows a brand, the people behind it, the more they like and trust them, which significantly increases their likelihood of making a purchase.
  • Reputation at its core is the belief or opinion that your audience has about your brand. The right content and impression can positively support a company’s bottom line in both brand equity and revenue growth.
  • Groups are a way of fostering a sense of community within your online following. Organizations create Facebook groups to drive engagement, share free resources, and provide value for their consumers.

Should I invest in social media for my business?

In short, yes. Any business can benefit from having a social media presence today.

However, social media marketing should be a component that is a part of your overall marketing strategy, and not the focus of it. As you build an audience on social media and drive likes, shares, comments, and follows, it’s important to remember that, as a business, these metrics cannot be monetized.

But what CAN be monetized building out sales funnel through your organic social media content. 

Social media is the concept of creating free content to build an audience. It can enhance and support your other online marketing efforts including:

    • Long tail SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Direct response email marketing
    • Email nurturing
    • Landing pages

Online marketing services allow you to nurture leads into successful conversions, from the first impression of your website to your blog content and email strategy. With social media marketing, you can create free content that adds value and becomes a memorable experience for your audience. This ultimately turns your followers into ambassadors ready to advocate on behalf of your brand. 

Key Takeaways

If your business is not using any form of social media today, you’re leaving money on the table. Social Media Marketing although is a long term play that will increase your brand loyalty and conversions in the long run. Trust cannot be bought through fake followers. 

Make social media part of your overall marketing strategy and just start somewhere, like our 30 Days of Social to walk you through how to level up your social media game step by step. 

Our team creates holistic inbound marketing strategies that incorporates all your marketing efforts to drive growth and get you more time and freedom within your business.

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Queenie Wei

Article by Queenie Wei

Queenie loves to challenge the status quo, whether in social media or social change, she is always on the hunt for more efficient ways to optimize existing structures. As part of the 2017 cohort for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards and the 2019 cohort for Startup Canada’s Global Entrepreneurs Challenge, Queenie (the Chaos Harmonizer) loves to explore boldly and implement change on a global scale.