To the uninitiated, the medical manufacturing and distribution industry and social media couldn't be more dissimilar - to the point where many business leaders could make the mistake of believing that social media, or any online presence, is a waste of time. But nothing could be further from the truth. When leveraged properly, a social media presence can drive traffic to your website - along with potential revenue.
Which platforms should you use?
The first question to take into account is on which platforms your time would be best spent. In our experience, the platforms most befitting our business are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Starting a blogging presence on our site has served as another tactic for reaching out to our audience. In addition, it has provided content to share on our social media accounts, which encourages traffic back to our site. Also, since blogging improves a website's SEO when the right keywords are used (thus making a site more likely to appear higher in search results), this is another method of driving traffic.
What should you say?
Consistently creating relevant, interesting content on Facebook, LinkedIn and such is the biggest challenge for any organization. We have found that the key is focusing on bringing value to the lives of those in our audience. Here are some tips:
- Sharing information about your company is always welcome - make sure followers see you as a group of real people to whom they can relate, while also maintaining professionalism.
- Sharing links to content created by related organizations works as well - as long as you make it clear to readers that you're sharing something from someone else that you thought they'd find valuable, vs. claiming it as your own. Articles and blog posts are two such types of content.
- The next time you see an article in an online publication touching on something you feel your audience would appreciate - be it related to your industry or otherwise - consider sharing that as well. Remember, anything to remind your audience that you care about adding value to their lives. We like to occasionally share such articles to show our audience that we wish to add value to their lives aside from our services.
Does this work?
At first, spending the time on building your social network may seem foolish - especially since it does take time to gain traction and build an engaged audience. However, if managed correctly, even in a very short period of time you can see an increase in the traffic being driven to your site. In our case, we've experienced a tremendous growth in the number of visits our site receives per month - with a nearly 330% increase in traffic between October 2014 and January 2015 alone.
The secret to success is as previously described: Consistent, engaging and informative content, which we "tease" on social media in order to entice visitors to our site. The content is also relevant, addressing problems and concerns our audience faces. Naturally they want to click the link in order to learn more - and when they do, they're more likely to visit again and again.
Creating awareness of your organization is not always enough to drive traffic - but time spent building relationships and creating trust does. Give it time, see which types of content generate the most interest and focus on that, and always remember to add value no matter what you do.
Social media and inbound marketing are here to stay and will help keep your company relevant.