In today’s digital business environment the key to an optimized marketing strategy is to take the social media marketing route. The returns and the cost-effectiveness of such a campaign are so high that any business not taking advantage of it is bound to miss out on massive sales and conversions opportunities. At present, marketers have realized the importance of social media in business and the huge potential of social media platforms for creating campaigns. To understand why consider these statistics on Internet usage and social media penetration.
Of the world’s population of 7.593 billion, there are 4.021 billion Internet users, and 3.196 billion active social media users, that is a mind-boggling penetration of 53% and 42% respectively. Again, there are 5.135 unique mobile phone users of which 2.958 billion or 39% of Internet users are active on social media from their smartphones. Given the magnitude of these statistics, no business can afford to ignore social media while structuring their marketing strategies.
As a business owner, if you are still confused about the benefits of social media marketing for business, here is a 30 point guide to help you along.
- Social media is free – Social media is free to use. While advertising on other media might help you achieve your goals faster, you can drive and demonstrate success by making some smart tactical moves. Make the posts and messages customized for every social media platform and use unique images and videos to capture the attention of the visitor. Host Facebook Live events and invite email subscribers to participate in the conversation. It’s all free!
- Increasing brand awareness – Implementing a social media marketing strategy increases brand awareness manifold. This is because you will be engaging with a vast segment of existing and potential consumers. Start with creating social media profiles of your business and begin interaction with “like”, “share” and comments from your employees. Marketers say that by investing a few hours every week the efforts in creating brand exposure and awareness is greatly increased.
- Social media is fast growing – By investing in social media coverage now you are also investing in the future. Social media is growing stupendously, and by being on their platforms today, you will also be a part of their growth in future. Facebook has an estimated 2 billion monthly active users, and this number is growing. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and Instagram has gone from 500 million users to 1 billion active users in one year. You can leverage their growth to reap benefits for your business.
- Higher inbound traffic – In traditional marketing, your inbound traffic is restricted to your loyal customers. Not so when you reach out on social media platforms. With every profile, you create a gateway to your website and, each content that you post has vast opportunities for acquiring new customers.
- Two-way conversation – Regardless of whether you are on social media or not, people will be discussing your products, business model and your brand. But the point is, are you a part of the discussion. On social media, you can engage with your customers, answer queries from potential ones, get feedback and adjust your business model accordingly – all in real-time and quickly, thereby maximizing customer se4rvice.
- Improved search engine rankings – According to the Social Media Examiner, there are very positive effects of social media advertising on business. Marketers who have used social media for a year or more have seen a rise in search engine rankings. Just by creating high-quality content for social media posts that target your keywords, the social media community will like and share your post and motivate the influencers to write about your posts and create a link back to the site. All this goes a long way to improving search engine rankings.
- A source for referral traffic – As your social media interaction grows and the content becomes richer in quality, the vast social media community will get to like and trust your brand more and more. When the number of followers grows, there will be increased referral traffic to your website from people who would want to know more about your brand.
- Improved conversion rates – Once your business gains high visibility on social media sites, the opportunities for conversions and sales rise too. This is because people will have more confidence in your brand. With higher traffic to your website due to increased exposure, the rate of conversions will increase leading to growth and development of the business.
- Maximized customer satisfaction – Social media platforms are highly interactive and very effective networking and communication medium for being in touch with customers in real-time. Personalized responses rather than automated messages increase customer involvement and interaction thereby optimizing customer satisfaction.
- Helps shape brand personality – Social media marketing is especially beneficial for brands that are not that “exciting” and generally fall in the average category. An active online presence coupled with engaging posts and messages on social media instead of the usual boring verticals on other advertising channels helps to bring about uniqueness and exclusiveness to even the most lackluster products.
- Easiest conversion points – Social media is the easiest and the softest conversion point when you are looking to drive sales, bring more traffic to your website, or increase brand awareness. Reacting to social media content and making a “buy” decision is much easier than signing up for a newsletter or subscribing to email for a customer.
- Higher brand loyalty – One of your primary business goals is developing a loyal customer base since customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty are integral to each other. Social media platforms are not merely a medium for introducing a brand and promotional campaigns but also for personalized interaction with customers. There is always an increased level of brand loyalty which is beneficial for your business.
- Higher brand authority – Along with brand loyalty, your brand authority counts too. When customers see that you are active on social media, replying to queries, posting unique and original content and updating news and information of your business, your business appears more credible and authoritative. Your customers will then be a referral point for your business.
- Gain market insights – One of the ways to gain a competitive edge for your business is to get sharp insights into the market, especially related to your industry. And there is no better way for this than to interact with your customers directly. By tracking their activity and comments on your social media profile, you will be aware of customers’ interests and opinions and thereby get an overall view of the market including your competitors.
- More ROI on the market spends – Social media marketing leads to a high Return on Investment because the expenditure on the market spends is relatively low when compared to other advertising media. By spending small amounts of money and time on social media posts, you can significantly increase conversions leading to a higher ROI.
- Become an industry leader – By posting insightful and authoritative content on social media, you will be deemed to be an industry expert and leader in your field. This will directly and positively impact your business as customers will bank on your credibility when buying products and services. You create a customer relationship that they will value, helping you to become an influencer in your field.
- Lead generation – Social media offers a seamless way for customers to show an interest in your products and services directly. This can be channelized for generating leads that will ultimately lead to conversions. You can use Facebook lead ads to directly offer your customers a voucher or a discount once they tap on your website link.
- Associate with Influencers – One way to increase conversions is to drive up referrals through word of mouth from loyal customers. You can do so by associating with influencers who have a large following on social media and can bring attention to your brand. Research has shown that influencers can drive more traffic to your brand than if a celebrity endorses it.
- Reputation management – In the digital business environment of today, it is very easy to smear the reputation of organizations through online posts. Once you are aware of this, you can optimally use social media to address the issue and highlight your positive aspects before the negativity becomes a major issue.
- Track your competitors – Why use social media promotion for business? Because it is not enough to know about your business only in today’s cutting-edge business scenario, you should also closely track your competitors to stay ahead in your field. Through social media, you can know about the adverse issues as brought out by their customers through complaints. By addressing those points, you can win customers over to your brand.
- More opportunities to convert – Every post that you put on social media platforms is an opportunity for conversion, regardless of whether it is from recent customers, old customers or new customers. You will be continually updating the posts, and hence your advertising is always fluid with new offerings. This is an attraction factor for customers. Traditional advertisements, on the other hand, are static without frequent changes.
- Low initial costs – One of the crucial benefits of social media marketing for business is low initial costs for starting. Realistically, you do not lose anything by getting involved in social media. Compared to other marketing channels, the quantum of time and expenses required to start is usually minimal. Further, your profile is always in the minds of customers as you can post and update it almost daily.
- Low marketing costs – If you ask why use social media promotion for business, this one factor should put all your doubts to rest. While you can post free posts and messages, paid advertising too on Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheap when compared to other advertising channels. Depending on your goals and objectives, you can start with minimal costs and increase interaction and marketing spends on social media as your business grows.
- Targeted advertising – Even though social media advertising is a relatively cheap option, it offers powerful tools where you can reach the right targeted audience and make the most of your budget. You can target an audience based on specific location, language spoken, online behavior and other demographic aspects. You pay to reach your preferred viewers only, thereby maximizing the returns on market spends.
- Retargeting your audience – As a continuation of the previous point, there will be some from amongst your targeted customers too who might not have completed a transaction even after showing interest on a product. For example, people who have stored items in the shopping cart should not be ignored. By using specific social media tools like Facebook Pixel, you can display social media ads to these potential customers and nudge them towards conversion.
- Stay abreast of industry updates – The digital world moves at lightning speed. There are constant updates and innovations in every industry. You should always be abreast of the latest developments in your field. Instead of going through voluminous books and journals, keeping a tab on social media posts on industry news can positively impact the way you conduct your business.
- Increased use of analytics – In traditional forms of advertising, it is challenging to have measurable results of the returns on marketing campaigns. But the effects of social media advertising can be measured through sophisticated tracking and analytics tools. These include quantum of website traffic generated from social media, email subscriptions, and conversions.
- Quick responses to customer complaints – Studies have shown that when companies respond quickly to customer complaints or queries, there is an increase in brand loyalty with a corresponding increase in repeat orders from the same customer. This is possible in social media advertising where you can be in constant touch with them in real-time.
- Multiple sources for content – In the usual advertising channels, you are not aware of the content that should be provided based on your target audience. But in social media advertising, you can take feedback from your customers and post relevant messages and videos as per their needs. You can also get your followers involved to suggest content to be put on the platforms.
- Go viral at no extra cost – Your posts and your brand can go viral at no extra cost with infinite reach. When people like and comment or share your social media posts, these are exposed to a new audience of their friends and followers. As the content spreads across the Internet, there can be thousands of shares of your post after it goes viral. Just imagine the reach your brand will achieve after that!
The above points bring out the importance of social media in business.