The Coming Together of Search & Social
Description:
In this issue, you’ll discover all you need to know about Search and Social, and how the two have been used interchangeably in recent years.  
 

The Coming Together of Search & Social

Spring 2016

I Need to Buy a New [Insert Product Here]: How Social Referrals Impact Your Brand

by: Brenna Brooks

Social media platforms are no longer just a place to coordinate your next theme party or post your latest selfie. These platforms are an essential tool for a company to engage with their customers – and if you’re listening, the customers will tell you exactly what they want. The first rule of marketing; know your target audience. The second part of that is to know where they are and how to reach them. As technology continues to evolve and our electronic devices play an ever-growing role in our day- to-day routines, we all live our lives online. We pay our bills online, we make restaurant reservations online, we search for our next apartment or house online, and we put our wedding photos and pictures of our kids on Instagram. We use Google instead of libraries, phone books and dictionaries, and we write emails, Facebook messages and Tweets instead of letters. Because of all of these things, it’s important that brands think about how they’re presenting themselves to their consumers – on social media of course, because that’s where your customers are.

The first rule of marketing: know your target audience.
The second part of that is to know where they are and how to reach them.

“But I thought we should pay attention to SEO – after all, isn’t that where referrals come from?” Not anymore – over 31% of all referral traffic comes from the top 8 social networks, with Facebook and Pinterest holding the top two spots. Facebook alone accounts for almost 25% of all referral traffic. So, what does that tell us? Not only are people spending their time on social media accounts, but it also suggests that they’ll do your “word-of-mouth” marketing FOR you just by simply being there. Are consumers more likely to execute on a referral from someone they know? Probably. One-in-three people come to a brand through a recommendation. As we’ve established, people live their lives online – it’s no surprise that they share their preferred and disliked brands, companies, and other businesses. To take this one step further, it’s also the easiest way to gain a new customer and reward your existing customers: If a brand is on that social channel, a person can “tag” that business – that means you can instantly reach out to your new lead (that you didn’t spend a cent to get) and gain a new customer, and also show the person that referred you that you appreciate their business, therefore strengthening their loyalty to your brand. So how does a brand turn online leads into actual purchases? A way to start is by putting yourself out there where your customers are. People can only interact directly with brands that have an online presence, so it’s essential that you’re putting your best foot forward.

A way to start is by putting yourself out there where your customers are. People can only interact directly with brands that have an online presence.

After that, YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL CREATE YOUR CONTENT FOR YOU! Instagram is full of brands reposting their customer’s photos using their products – and it’s the best content to reach your customers with, because it’s how someone is using the products in real life, not a staged photo from a catalog. It’s the social media version of going to a friend’s house and saying “I love your new living room furniture, where did you get it?” Some brands even use these same photos on the e-commerce sections of their websites to show the products being used in actual homes or on actual people – which helps the customer relate to the item better than the formal product photo.

Other ways that brands can generate content from their social following: use questions, comments, reviews, etc. as content generators. Did someone leave a great review or comment card about working with one of your service techs? Post it on your social media accounts (with the author’s permission, of course)! It’s more authentic when it comes from an existing customer than when a brand says “We have great service techs!” It also shows that you value your customers' feedback, and are proud of your employees – which can sometimes speak more for your brand than the products or services you offer.

So the next time you’re checking your social media accounts – take a deeper look into what you see. What does your brand have that would be of value to your social media connections? Think you got it? Good, now go put it out there – and let your customers do the talking for you.