Just to be sure, if you are in any way, shape or form unclear as to the value of social media marketing, here are just 8 reasons why it needs to be part of your comprehensive online marketing plan. Maybe your current plan puts more emphasis on search engine marketing, maybe you’re currently focused on outreach—those are all well and good.

But to really round things out and add a lot more value to your current online marketing campaign, social media marketing has to be part of the equation. It doesn’t have to take center stage, it doesn’t have to be your overarching priority, but it has to be part of the total mix. Here are just 8 of the thousands of reasons why your company, regardless of its size, needs to do social media marketing.

1: Social media’s huge direct and viral reach

If you build a solid page on Facebook, you develop a direct reach. This means that a certain percentage of people who like your page will see your updates. While it is true that Facebook has been reducing the organic reach of Facebook pages, there’s a workaround to that. When people go to your page, you can instruct them to like your page and then click your page’s setting to show your updates first.

You might want to show a video that teaches people how to do this. You might even post an animated gif. Whatever you do, clue people in that they can fix their settings to see your updates first. Now, for people to take the time and bother to do this, you have to offer content that is really valuable. This puts the onus on you. There has to be real value on your page for them to want to do this. But you can increase your direct reach by instructing people.

On top of that, when people like your content, they can share it on their wall. Since people on Facebook have friends and their friends have friends, this can easily have an exponential effect. In fact, even if your page only has a hundred likes, but these are real people with real friends, don’t be surprised if one of your posts gets really viral and spreads all over the place.

Social media enables you to have a large direct reach. It also provides you with a tremendous opportunity to enjoy an exponential content coverage.

2: Social media is habitual

While different demographics have shown softening or weakening of social media usage on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, this still doesn’t take away from the fact that a lot of people habitually use social media. In fact, a lot of people do this the first thing in the morning.

When they wake up, they go their mobile phone or tablet and check their updates. It can easily become a habit. This gives you a tremendous opportunity to get your content and brand in front of many interested eyeballs.

3: Target audiences use different content formats

The great thing about social media marketing is that you’re not restricted to just one content format. You’re not restricted to video, pictures, links, blog posts, text, or audio files. Instead, different platforms specialize in different formats. And when you create content for one platform, you can easily make different versions of it in different formats to spread out to other platforms.

For example, I write a blog post and post it on Facebook. I create a very attention-grabbing graphic for that blog post. So when I post it on my Facebook page, a preview of the image shows up and it grabs a lot of attention. People click on it, and they end up on my website.

I can take that graphic and share it on Pinterest. I can take the text of my blog post or article and create a slideshow video out of it and share it on YouTube. I can also take the video and embed it on my blog post. I can strip different parts of the article or post itself and feed it into Twitter along with the link to the full post or article.

Do you see how this works? You get access to the different audiences of those different platforms by simply re-purposing or recycling the same content that you made for one platform and sharing those other formats on other platforms. This increases your potential reach.

4: Most social media platforms can be segmented

If you’ve ever been to Instagram, you know that when you see a picture, it usually has many different tags. If you’ve been on Twitter, you’d see that a lot of the hot tweets also have hashtags. Those tags are very valuable. When you use a tag with your content, you are essentially categorizing your content. People use those tags to search for content. This is a very powerful segmentation tool.

People who are looking for cute Chihuahua puppies will use certain hashtags that are different from people looking for libertarian political posts. If you have a very tightly defined audience, social media platforms’ built-in segmentation tools and features can definitely help you.

You probably already know that huge audiences that are not very targeted are essentially worthless. Thanks to social media marketing’s segmentation features, you can get a smaller volume of people from many different platforms, but you can rest assured that these people are actually interested in whatever it is you are saying. These segmentation tools go a long way in helping you build a very refined and well qualified audience base. This, in turn, increases your likelihood of making a sale.

5: Sharing content on most platforms can be automated

Thanks to tools like Hootsuite and SocialOomph, you don’t have to worry about manually going to Facebook or Twitter and copying and pasting materials from a document or spending hours setting up your scheduled posts. You can automate your posts to publish up to six

months on Facebook. This means that you can set up your Facebook account to post six to ten or more times every day, but you don’t have to babysit it because you have fed the content in.

The best part is that a lot of these automation tools use bulk feeds. Meaning, you can format your content in an Excel file and convert it to CSV and plug into these tools. You don’t have to input the materials one by one. Talk about saving a lot of time while also maximizing your reach.

6: You can run a two-track marketing campaign using mailing lists

The heart of a content-based audience relationship marketing campaign on social media is to build a highly targeted mailing list. Now, this is not what you think. A lot of people are thinking that once they build the list, they’re on their way to becoming millionaires. Absolutely wrong. There’s a missing step.

When people join your mailing list, it really is a “general” mailing list. By “general,” I’m not saying that it talks about all subjects under the sun. I’m not talking about that. Instead, I’m talking about general interest in the specific topic. You really don’t know yet at this point who is a buyer and who is a person who is simply looking for information and is still trying to make up their minds whether they trust you enough.

You create a general list and then eventually you try to upsell them to a buyer’s list.

How do you do that? Well, you sell low cost items on your general list. You can sell a booklet for $1. It doesn’t really matter what the price is. It has to be very low because what you’re really trying to do here is that you’re trying to give people a means to identify themselves as a buyer and you want to make it as smooth and easy as possible. A dollar is almost an afterthought to most people.

They won’t think that it’s too painful to buy your product. But once they get to your buyer’s list, you eliminate them from your general list, and now you have a pure list of buyers. That list, my friend, is a goldmine. That’s where you send your money making updates. That’s where you get people to check out your case studies and get them to pay top dollar for whatever affiliate programs or original products you are pushing on your buyer’s list.

This is called a two-track marketing campaign. It’s extremely powerful and it has made a lot of people rich. But you have to step away from the very common mistake of thinking that once you get a lot of people to your mailing list, you have it made. Absolutely wrong. There is another step that you need to take.

7: Your brand gets natural repetition through multi-platform marketing

Assuming that all your social media accounts on all four major platforms look similar to each other, you get many bites at the apple. You really do. When people run into your brand on Facebook, there’s a chance they might run into your brand on Twitter.

If there is enough graphical similarity between your brands, then they can see that you’re all over the place and they can converse or engage with your brand regardless of where they are on the internet.

Eventually, this builds a tremendous amount of familiarity and people might become so comfortable that they join your mailing list when you call them to action. The best part to this is that it happens naturally by you simply creating

accounts on all the major platforms. Your brand speaks to people who are interested in your niche, regardless of where they go.

8: Save money through content re-purposing

Make no mistake about it, content generation is expensive. Even if you hire highly qualified, talented, skilled and experienced people from countries with huge numbers of people who speak English as a second language, you can still be out thousands of dollars every year. High quality writers from places like India, Pakistan and the Philippines may be cheaper than American writers, but their costs still add up over time.

One of the things about social media marketing that really excites me is the fact that you can create content and re-purpose it into many different formats. This reduces your cost.

If I hire a writer from India and pay that person $1,000 a month, I can get a fixed amount of content. At this point, I can choose to pay that person another $1,000 to get even more content, or I can take whatever content he or she produced and turn them into videos, infographics, or strip them down into questions for tweets.

I can turn them into diagrams, I can take the voice-over of the video that I produced and turn it into a sound file. I can even make a slideshow of these materials. Once I have all these re-purposed content, then I can share them on format-specific platforms. For example, I can share the slideshows on Slideshare. I can post the infographics on Pinterest.

I can post the product shots or general product pictures on Instagram. I can post the questions on Twitter. I can also post the videos on YouTube. Best of all, I can post all the formats on Facebook. Do you see how this works? When you do this, you buy content once, re-purpose it, and share it so you get a higher chance of getting traffic or visibility with that re-purposed content.

You’re not creating content constantly. In fact, the name of the game is to produce as little content as possible, but market these high quality pieces widely. This is how you maximize their value. The old idea of constantly publishing content just to get a few eyeballs here and there is dead. Seriously. That’s a one way ticket to the poorhouse.

Your better approach would be to make that content work for you by converting it into many different formats. You then share these different formats on platforms that specialize in those formats.

I hope the 8 reasons above are clear and that you are pumped up to do social media marketing right. In the next series, we’re going to talk about picking a social media marketing campaign that is most likely to produce results for your type of online business.

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