There are more than three billion active social media users around the world. Social media marketing is helpful for both brand exposure and closing business. Although statistics vary when looking at the significance of social media in driving a purchasing decision, even the low end of the scale is a significant number. Though it’s great for reaching larger demographics, traditional media can be more expensive, where social media offers a lower-cost alternative or companion medium at the very least. And there are other ways to use social media to help your business grow, too. Companies that fail to take advantage could be passing up significant opportunities to attract and engage new audiences and appear relevant in the eyes of their increasingly tech-savvy customers.
There are a number of compelling reasons for a business to be active on social media. Some of these reasons include:
This advantage tends to be more obvious for newer brands; if you’re not well established, social media is a good way to get on a prospect’s radar. But legacy brands can benefit as well. After all, your products may be cutting edge, but not being where your customers are can lead to the impression that your business is behind the times. This can influence their overall perception of your business and its ability to keep up with changes in both your industry and your clients’ needs.
Social media allows your business to hold a conversation with your prospects and customers. These conversations are necessary because they encourage a relationship that lets your customers feel included, rather than feeling like they’re on the outside looking in. Studies indicate that 53% of people who follow a brand on social media are more loyal, which is why it’s so important to build and nurture those relationships.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the only way to drive traffic to your website. The easier it is for your customers to find your brand, the easier it is for them to start conversations and make buying decisions. If an SEO algorithm changes – or if something goes wrong with your website – your site suffers downtime. Your social media presence is a crucial backup so that your business gets traffic even if your website doesn’t.
Your customers are on social media even if you are not. They’re talking about their experiences with your brand. Can you hear them? Having a visible and attentive social media presence gives customers a place to bring their questions and concerns and gives you the opportunity to know how others are talking about your brand and your products/services. More importantly, you can respond in real time, guiding conversations rather than losing control of the narrative.
There are also social listening platforms available specifically for monitoring what people (outside of your own social media networks) are saying about your company and products or services.
We’ve all seen companies caught flat-footed by a product recall, a string of problems, or a major scandal. If you’re not on social media, the time to learn the ropes isn’t when you’re in the middle of the crisis; you’ll only compound your problems, especially if it looks like you’re rushing to play catch-up. If you’ve demonstrated your brand story, genuinely responded to customers’ needs and problems, and built and nurtured relationships with your followers, your brand will be much better positioned to weather any storms that come your way.
Analytics and retargeting are more reason to leverage social media. The number of insights available to businesses through social media is staggering. This data will help you better understand who your clients are, where to find them, and what they need, which leads to more precise ad targeting. This usually comes with an added benefit: better reach with smaller ad spend than would be possible with traditional media.
Aside from learning more about your customers and how they interact with your brand, social media is also a valuable tool for keeping up to date with what’s new in your industry. Some platforms even allow you to track your competitors. For instance, a section of Facebook allows you to track multiple competitors, so you can see how you compare.
It’s pretty clear that, although it’s not the only tactic a company should use to reach its audience, social media offers a range of advantages that can’t be ignored. Getting your social media strategy right includes knowing your customers, developing a rock-solid content strategy, consistently monitoring your accounts and engaging with your followers, and making sense of the data you can collect from customer interactions with your brand. That can seem like a daunting amount of work, especially if you’re just starting out on social media. At Cain & Company, we’ll help you develop social media strategies and content that serve the immediate needs and long-term goals of your business.