So everyone raves about social media but what is the real value for business owners?
While social media marketing aims to gain likes, fans and retweets this is not all it is focused on. That is merely a means to an end for marketing your business. There are REAL benefits to playing in this ever increasing realm.
1. Brand Awareness
Social media marketing is an excellent, easy and cost effective way to introduce people to your brand especially the way that content spreads. It is simple - if people are not aware of your brand your business will not grow. Social channels make you more accessible for new customers and ensure you remain familiar for existing customers.
Research shows that information found in the social arena has a huge influence on purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.
2. Brand Validation & Loyalty
Before purchasing products or services people want information and the easiest way to access this is online. While websites are great we often find they become static once set up whereas your social presence should be updated regularly. Your website becomes a tool to show that you exist while your social presence shows that you are active - very important! Your likes or fan base show how popular you are too. Research shows that people who follow brands on social networks remain loyal to the brand.
3. Increase in Sales
Once you have a following you have immediate access to customers. Every post you share creates a possibility for someone to react which can lead to additional interest and possible conversion. Not every interaction will lead to a sale but every positive interaction increases your chances.
Brand awareness and loyalty should automatically increase your bottom line but there are other ways to direct customers towards purchasing. These include posts that link to products or promoted content and adverts aimed at a carefully selected target audience. The great thing about social networks is that they know a lot about consumer interests and demographics which helps target the right people with your message. Social media can find new customers or expand your audience with the use geo-searches using apps like Hootsuite where you can locate people tweeting about a service you provide and you can then reach out to them about your offering.
4. Customer Service
When people want to compliment or complain they turn to social media. Using your social network you can have instant feedback from customers. Now days people want feedback in real time and there is no better way to execute this. Answering concerns or queries timeously through social networks validates your brand and instils loyalty. There is no easier way to create meaningful relationships with customers.
People prefer conducting business with people - not companies and social media allows for your company to create a human element to it.
5. Content Distribution
We all know that the easiest way to spread information is to put it online. Social media accounts for a huge percentage of referral traffic and should be utilised to spread your content to potential or current customers. Using social networks is the fastest and easiest way to reach people.
6. Market Intelligence
Social media monitoring allows you to gain marketing intelligence which allows you to make good strategic business decisions. Knowing what your competitors are doing by creating search streams will always keep you ahead of the game.
7. Increase in Website Traffic & Search Rankings
Without social media, inbound traffic to your website is limited to existing customers or people searching specific keywords. With every social media network you use you create another avenue for people to find you which means another opportunity for a potential sale. Not only does social media direct traffic to your website but the more social shares you get the higher your search ranking will be. SEO is no longer just about updating your website and optimised title tags and meta descriptions. Search engines are using social media presence too. Being active on social networks show search engines that you are legitimate and trustworthy.
8. Industry Authority
The more followers you gain the more your influence grows. The same is true about your content. The more informative your content the more people will talk about you and share the content. This in turn creates authority and reach in your industry which adds to brand awareness, validation and loyalty.
The most important point to remember is that your social media activity needs to be consistent and continuous.