What are the benefits of using social media for business? What impact can it have on your brand and is it worth the effort long term?
These may be questions that you ask yourself over and over again, but consider this – there are 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, that’s not something to take lightly. The people on social media are engaging with brands and businesses, they are following celebrities or influencers and they are making their purchase decisions right from the social platforms.
If your business is not on social media, you could be missing out on huge potential and the chance to engage and build relationships with many customers in an extremely cost-efficient way.
Let’s take a look at the benefits to using social media for business.
1) Brand Awareness
We all want to see our brand grow and become established. As a business owner you need to reach your customers where they are and to be where they hang out. With the large global number of people on social media, your audience is going to be on there somewhere. The more you post, the more active you are, the more times you push your business out into the social media world – the more chance there is of people seeing and hearing about you. When someone discovers and likes your brand, they will tell others about you, and the awareness and journey of your business begins.
2) Become a Thought Leader
Whatever niche you are in, there are people searching the web for answers. The more you assert yourself and provide valuable content, the more content there will be available to be found by people looking for solutions. Social media allows your brand to grow and become established within an industry niche. It’s a way to build trust and relationships, it’s a way to engage with consumers and for them to know that you’re a ‘go to’ place for information.
If you’re looking to establish your brand in this way, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Network with people relevant to your industry. Provide answers in comments that can solve issues or problems. Give people a reason to trust and like you and you’ll soon become recognised as a thought leader if you are consistent and reliable in your approach.
3) Increase website traffic
When you create killer content, you want it to be seen by as many people as possible, otherwise what’s the point, right? Once you’ve created your content, you can use your social channels to promote it. Blog post, article, press release, offer, new team member – whatever it is that you want to shout about on your website, you can use social media to do it more effectively.
Not only do you need to create the killer content on your website, you need to write just as well on your social channels in order for people to want to click through to your site. And once they’re there, you want people to stay there for a little while. Although the incoming links and shares from your social accounts aren’t as great as authentic links from high-quality sites, they are still important for SEO purposes and help to rank your site on the search engines. And you want to rank high to be found!
The best way to think about using the two platforms together is by using both your website and your social media accounts to direct traffic from one to the other. Great content on website, promote it on social media. Great post on social media will drive a consumer to your website.
4) Generate and increase leads
What’s the point of getting a consumer to click from social media through to your website? The ultimate goal is usually to gain sales. The more leads (people) you have that discover your site, the more chance of them being interested in what you have to say along with liking your brand. If they like your brand, there is a higher chance of them purchasing from you.
Not only thinking about the sales aspect of your business though, the exercise of generating leads is extremely important. It creates a database of people that are interested in your brand. It’s a resource that you can tap into when you need to. Most of the social media networks provide paid advertising ways of providing lead generation – and always worth a try if you have the budget to do so.
5) Faster and easier communication
Communicating via social media is great for responding to customers in a quicker and more effective manner. People are after ‘instant’ and that applies to questions they may have about your brand, about your product, or anything… if they can’t get an answer, it’s just as easy for them to go to the next business on the list. Many businesses miss out on opportunities when they either do not have a social media presence, or they have it and are not using it effectively.
Now it’s even easier to contact a business, file a complaint or provide a positive feedback experience. As a business you have a responsibility to be where your audience is and communicating with them on a level which they feel comfortable on.
6) Great customer service experience
As with the above point, having a faster and easier communication line going, customers can have a better journey with your business. The user experience is an important factor to get right. Lose the customer on the first hurdle and it could be hard to get them back.
By using social media for business, you are providing a way for them to communicate with you at any step of their journey with you. When they first hear about you, when they want to ask about your services, or if they have something to discuss – providing great customer service goes a long way. And if a person is happy with your services, they are more likely to recommend you to a friend. Loyalty and trust are built on relationship, use your social media as your customer service help desk.
7) Create engagement
Social media allows you to engage directly with your customers or followers. It’s a safe place for them to interact with your brand and to provide a two-way street between you and them. Unlike offline communications where often it can be one-sided, social media provides a way to have a dialogue or to engagement with you as a business.
This allows them to get to know you, what your business is about and if you can provide them with value. If they engage and interact, if they share your posts or like and respond to comments, you’re creating people who respect your brand. The more engagement that happens, the more changes there are of building on that relationship and in turn, building your business.
8) Learn about your customers
The more a person engages with you, the more information you can obtain about them. Social media generates a lot of information about a person, the longer they use the channels and the more they interact with posts and brands.
By utilising the analytics functions on all the platforms, you can create a picture of your audience and angle your content directly towards what they are looking for. If you tailor your content to what the audience wants, you’re providing them with value. When a customer sees value, they start to trust you.
Encourage your followers to engage in your posts, ask them questions to gain responses and insight, learn more and more about their needs – and then use the data to create a perfect environment for them to take a step forward if they want to.
9) Keep on top of competition
You’re not the only brand out there doing what you do! Even if you think you are, there’s probably more competition than you realise. Social media gives great opportunity to keep an eye on the competition and to see what they are doing. If you can see that what they are doing works, use their ideas. Note, we didn’t say ‘copy’ their ideas! But if something has been tried and tested and it works, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.
It’s also good to know what people are saying about your competition. If you find someone complaining about a service they have receive or a product they have bought, there is your opportunity to swoop in and let them know that you’re there to help.
Social listening is great for hearing about new product launches and offers and generally anything that relates to your brand. If you can stay up to date with the competition, you can stay ahead of the game.
10) Tell your brand story
Using social media is perfect to tell about your brand’s story or journey. It’s a place where you can be completely open and honest, share the heart of your business and its core values and mission and be transparent to your audience.
Every business has a story. Every brand has a journey. Social media gives you a platform to share that story and to make your brand unique and stand out from the crowd above all the other competition that is out there.
You can use different social platforms to tell the story, you can use one form of medium to tell the lot, but be consistent in whatever you choose and allow you potential customers to get to know and love who you are and what you stand for.
You can also share the stories of people who buy your products or services, again building on brand awareness, customer service and engagement to create a fuller picture of what your business is about.
People love a story, what’s your story?
KJP Creative is an online marketing agency, specialising in social media management and there to help business of all sizes grow their online presence. If you’re looking for guidance in creating a social media strategy for your business or help managing your social media, we’d love to speak with you. Get in touch and let’s talk!
You can also download our social media checklist to ensure you don’t miss the basics when it comes to your social media marketing. A daily, weekly and monthly checklist to help you grow your business using social media.
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