Why does your business need to be on social media?
- Because everyone else is using it
There are now over 3 billion internet users worldwide — and more than 2 billion are active on social media. The big social platforms are huge household names, offering businesses a unique and often free way to reach their customers. Social media for business is now a necessity. This is one of those cases where it’s not good to be different! We love this infographic created by Lori Lewis to illustrate the point.
- Data collection
Social media gives you astonishing amounts of data about your customers. Every single day users post more than 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos to Instagram. If you can extract this data you can get so much information about your customers, and further if you engage with and listen to those customers the information gained can let you make more informed business decisions.
- Brand loyalty
A business of a reasonable size is now expected to have a social media presence. A potential customer will no longer consult the Yellow Pages when wanting to find, for example, a local place to source their favourite kitchen tiles. They will sit at their laptop and Google. Even back in 2013, 67% of customers were using social media for customer service. If you can expand upon that connection by engaging with them, you are far more likely to gain a loyal customer. A recent study (from The Social Habit) highlighted the connection between brand loyalty and social media followers, and the different habits among particular age groups. Catch ‘em young should be your brand motto, suffice it to say!
- Identify opportunities
Social media is also an excellent way to reach key decision makers and identify new business opportunities. Facebook Ads can be targeted strategically to segment users by gender, age, location, interests, behaviour and LinkedIn can zero in on company and job titles. Social media (done right) also increases sales. Nearly 75% of companies selling on social media increased their sales during the year.
- Drive traffic to your website
Social media, with its huge audience, can be a great way to direct traffic to your website, without constantly needing to amend your site. There’s no other source of so many potential customers in one place. Social media can also help you keep an eye on your competitors – social listening (monitoring other accounts to discover what is being discussed) via Hootsuite or another platform can let you monitor particular keywords or mentions, and you can improve or amend your services according to what you find.
- Improve your website search rankings
If you can post relevant, timely content which people want to share, and it is linked to your website, you will push your site and your social media accounts up in the search rankings. Without the need for any complicated SEO manipulation!
- Create a two way, trusting dialogue with customers
Social media isn’t a monologue, it’s a conversation. And if you make the effort to turn it into a rich, fulfilling conversation you can create a relationship which can last. Traditional advertising just can’t do this. Your Facebook page isn’t somewhere you just sell. It’s where you can build a community, offer help, start a relationship. If you show some personality as a brand, customers will enjoy interacting with you without feeling they are being spammed about sales. In this way social media builds trust. In addition, a recent study showed that up to 81% of people are influenced by a brand’s posting on social media before purchasing. If those people can’t find you on social media, or don’t like what they find, they may not go ahead with the purchase.
- The power of influencers
Not using social media would mean forfeiting the mighty opportunity presented by the presence of influencers on each social media platform. Influencers are like the top TV stations of social media, but without the hefty price tag. Sure, some huge bloggers may charge a fairly high price to work with you, but we aren’t talking prime time TV advertising fees here. And followers of a blogger trust the content they produce far more than anyone trusts a prime TV ad. If you build a relationship with that influencer, your brand slips into the trusted niche of all their dedicated followers.
- Build your brand
You will see major brands all over social media with videos, photos, articles and blogs which build their brand and put it in front of potential customers. They must tailor their content to fit in with what their brand stands for, because that is what they are going to be identified with in their customers’ eyes. They must speak in their brand voice. And so must you. Social media allows you to compete with them to make your voice heard.
- The power of feedback & recommendation
Social media should be a conversation. You talk to your customers, and they talk back to you. They also talk to their friends, and tell them about their experiences, good or bad. Hopefully, their experiences with you have been good and you will earn their recommendation. There is always room for improvement though, and feedback should be sought and acted upon (particularly if it does happen to be negative). The internet world is always watching, and a complaint well handled can be turned to a positive if dealt with really well. Don’t waste this opportunity to really connect with your customers in a way that isn’t possible on any other media.
Naturally, to do all of this well is very time-consuming and takes a lot of research. Your business may well benefit from the skills and experience of a professional social media manager. If you would like a free audit of your social media channels you can contact us at Socially Contented.
You might also be interested in reading 6 of the best social media scheduling tools for your business.