Search Engine and Social Media Marketing
Internet marketing also called online marketing, according to (J. Williams, 2012) is the process of promoting a brand, product, or service over the Internet. As internet marketing is becoming more necessary for a company, not understanding the best way to drive your business forward can really heart the business’ chance of success in the future. As consumers, we currently live in a day and age where the average consumer turns to the internet for reviews and purchase decisions. Fleishman-Hillard states that 89 percent of consumers turn to Google, Bing, or another search engine to find information on products, services, or businesses prior to making purchases. This essay aims to evaluate the available resources that business and companies can use to better enhance their internet marketing.
Due to such a high percentage of consumers turning to Google, and Bing to find information on products and services businesses should utilize search engine marketing and optimization (SEO). Search engine marketing and optimization allows a business’s name and website to appear on a list of search engine results. However, businesses should follow a specific strategy that will allow them to succeed in this area of internet marketing. Following a SEO strategy takes insight and specific steps. Businesses should know their targeted audiences and their interests which is most of the time the first step in marketing campaigns. A businesses target audience is a specific set of consumers of the which businesses are marketing their product or service to. Defining a target consumer audience involves determining the projected consumers age, sex, geographic location, and especially their needs. The SEO strategy should focus on what the targeted consumer wants, and what are their needs that aren’t being met which will allow the business to develop a content strategy. When a business knows these key areas, it will allow the business to be able to better define a content strategy and to better prioritize content to use from a marketing standpoint.
When developing a content strategy, businesses will want to provide content and tools that are relevant to their targeted consumers. When a business has defined its consumer audience that it wishes to target, this will allow the business to focus on the markets needs and deprioritize other content. Once a business has a content strategy and has defined its target consumer audience, the next step will be for the business to do keyword research based on their targeted consumers. Whatever the businesses services or products are, the business shall do keyword research based on whatever content the business already has on their website and determine what the general population is searching for and optimize their current content. In doing so, business may find that there are needs that their business is not meeting. Knowing what your targeted consumers are primarily interested in, businesses should make sure they are providing the product or service, and then further research the top keywords in these areas. Having once researched the top keywords in those areas, businesses should use those keywords in relevant and high visibility areas on their websites.
However, consumers aren’t only using search engines such as Google and Bing for product or service information. According to GO Digital Discovered, 62 percent of millennials research products on Facebook before buying. Furthermore, 58 percent of consumers who plan to buy products in store visit businesses Facebook pages before they buy. (Butzbach, 2014) states that the number one reason for both online and offline consumers visit the social network is to see what other customers think. Whereas, 80 percent of consumers check customer reviews and feedback on review sites and third-party pages before buying.
As stated above when a business has defined a target consumer audience which in many cases targets the Millennial demographic which includes people between 18-29 years of age, demonstrates exactly how internet marketing has changed and will continue to evolve. The fact that this age group of consumers feels most comfortable spending money after doing some Facebook research perfectly identifies the importance of marketing on a social media platform such as Facebook, or Instagram. According to the firm Inmar, brands are finding that as social media platforms are becoming more common for consumer reviews and it is becoming harder and harder for these brands to keep reviews and opinions off of these social media platforms. The firm states that one of the most striking differences between Millennials and older consumers is the younger group uses social media to conduct a large amount of research before any purchase, no matter how big or small. Brands that don’t have social media marketing strategies in place and forgo video marketing, may find themselves missing sales from consumers who won’t buy if they cannot find a business’s Facebook page, or Instagram profile with reviews from other consumers.
At present time, it is very important for business to advertise to consumers through a social media platform to drive consumers to their websites and storefronts. According to Hubspot, 92 percent of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80 percent stating social media increased traffic to their websites. Furthermore, Social Media Examiner states that 97 percent of businesses are currently participating in social media, but 85 percent of businesses on social media aren’t sure of what social media tools are best to utilize.
Social media has many benefits, but these benefits don’t only include driving consumers to businesses websites and storefronts. (DeMers, 2014) states that having a social media page can increase brand recognition. Social media networks can be a new option for a brands voice and content. This is important because it makes it easier and more accessible for a business to obtain new customers, and makes consumers more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Facebook user may hear about a business for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed.
Not only does social media increase brand recognition but social media also increases brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, businesses who engage on social media platforms enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report states that companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their consumers. A strategic and open social media marketing plan could prove influential in consumers being more loyal to a company or brand. This translates to consumers continuing to support a company by returning to buy products or services.
In conclusion, businesses in the 21st century need to have a strong marketing department of the which utilizes a search engine marketing and optimization plan as well as having a strong social media presence. Having SEO research and a SEO plan will prove to be successful having researched the top keywords in specific areas, and businesses once using these keywords in relevant and high visibility areas on their websites will drive consumers to their webpages. Furthermore, businesses that have a strong social media presence have increased brand recognition and increased brand loyalty. With 62 percent of millennials researching products on Facebook before buying, and 58 percent of consumers who plan to buy products in store visit businesses Facebook pages before they buy it is evident that the two most powerful internet marketing tools are search engine marketing and optimization and for a business to have a strong social media influence. Based on the evidence explored above it appears that the future of internet marketing is promising.