10 Advantages of Using Social Media Marketing
To many business owners, social media marketing is a bit of a fashionable craze, a temporary yet powerful fad that must be taken advantage of while it’s still in the limelight. To others, it’s just a buzzword used in digital agency circles with no practical use and a steep learning curve.
Social media has appeared quickly on the scene leading to a healthy scepticism of its marketing relevance and, most importantly, scope for profitability. Can social media marketing really help your bottom line? Let’s take a look at the evidence:
According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 stated social media marketing was important for their business. 80% reported that using social media for their business increased traffic to their websites. Another interesting report by Social Media Examiner showed that 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media but 85% aren’t sure which social media tools are best to use for their specific needs and market.
These findings demonstrate a massive potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of insight on how to exactly achieve these results.
We’ve put together a top 10 list of ways social media marketing can improve your business:
1. Develop brand recognition.
There’s great value in maximising the reach of your published content (think Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram/Snapchat stories, LinkedIn comments, the list is seemingly endless). All these channels are simply new ways for your business and brand to be promoted – and they’re often much more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods (radio/TV/print media). This is of vital importance as it simultaneously makes you easier to access for your target market, and makes you more familiar and recognisable for existing customers. Examples of this are a new customer only hearing about you by stumbling across a Facebook post or an unsure prospective customer being converted due to being better acquainted with your brand after feeling its presence on a number of networks.
2. Improve brand loyalty.
In a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands on social networks are more loyal to those brands.
3. Increase inbound traffic.
If you don’t use social media, your inbound website traffic is limited to the people already exposed or associated with your brand, or dependant on your search engine ranking. Each and every social media profile acts as additional sites connected to vast networks of customers. Each of these networks provides a path leading to you. Each of the pieces of content you publish on these sites are additional avenues for a new visitor. By publishing quality, relevant content on social media, you generate opportunity for more and more inbound traffic. More traffic means more leads. More leads mean more conversions.
4. Increase sales opportunities.
Leading on from number 3, every post you make on a social media platform is specifically an opportunity to convert a customer. When you build a social media following, you’ll have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every tweet, post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. It’s also an opportunity to learn about your customer. In business, people buy from people, and having knowledge of your clientele can be the distinction between you and your competition.
5. Higher conversion rates.
Using social media to market your products and services results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways not available using traditional methods. Of these, one of the most prevalent is social media’s ability to humanise a company. Social media is a platform on which brands and can act like people do. Your business can react, like, share, and chat with your customers. This is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies. A report from Hubspot also showed that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. Furthermore, a higher number of social media followers lends more credibility and trust to your brand as it represents social proof. Due to this, simply building up your social media audience can aid your sales staff in converting your visiting customers.
6. Higher brand authority.
Communicating with your customers and providing them with high-quality content is a show of good faith. Many business owners are experts in their area of work and customers appreciate being kept informed. It attracts other customers to you as people often compliment or brag about products and services through social media. When your followers post about or share your content, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to your target market. Another avenue to take is networking and collaborating with external authority figures. Celebrities and experts are more accessible using social media. For example, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your brand appeal and authority will soar.
7. Reduce marketing & advertising costs.
Social media marketing has a distinct advantage in that if you are willing to devote time, it is essentially free. According to Hubspot, 84% of business owners found investing as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Understandably, many business owners do not have six hours a week to spare and even if they did, many are unsure which areas to develop. Luckily, digital agencies such as ourselves (www.brightbiz.co.uk) specialise in helping small and medium businesses in this arena. Collaborating with us on your social media strategy and content creation essentially pays for itself as ultimately we connect you to more customers and therefore increase your sales. By comparison to traditional marketing and advertising, hiring a digital agency is extremely cost effective. And even if you go it alone, paid advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is still relatively cheap when used strategically. By developing a social media strategy/marketing plan, you’ll never have to worry about going over budget to see the results you expect.
8. Improve search engine rankings.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a highly effective method to capture relevant traffic from the likes of Google and Bing. So much so that there are numerous companies available online that offer this service. The rewards are excellent but a word of warning – ensure that the techniques used to optimise your rankings are “white hat”. Many companies offer services to improve your rankings in the short term only to be penalised in the long term by the likes of Google. This is because falsely manipulating your content, services, or website HTML code and playing the algorithms to improve your search rankings is unethical and viewed as such by the big search engine companies. However, using social media and increasing the number of different sites linking to your brand is perfectly legitimate, and in fact, encouraged. Google and other search engines use social media presence as a significant factor to calculate your rankings. The requirements are always changing but it’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, place a few title tags and insert a meta description. Being highly active on social media acts as a signal to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible and trustworthy. Therefore, if you want to show up on Google, having a social media presence is almost essential.
9. Enhance customer experience.
Social media is fundamentally a communication channel – much like email or phone calls. Unlike email or the phone, social media is much more visual and interactive. Using YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram stories is a great way to give your customers a multi-sensory experience. Each and every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your service on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologise publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. Furthermore, depending on the nature of your business, you can provide customer support services using video blogs/posts. All in all, social media allows for a more personalised experience and lets your customers know that you care about them.
10. Greater knowledge of target market.
Social media gives you the opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in, how they behave, and importantly – what they don’t like – via social listening. For example, you can monitor your Facebook business page for feedback and comments to see what people think about your business directly. Social media platforms now provide analytical tools to quantify the results of your marketing efforts. This gives you solid data on which types and subjects of content generate the most interest. You can then produce more of that content. Due to the way social media works, it’s easy to identify your target markets either through hash tags, virtual groups, social circles, or traditional demographics (male/female, age groups, etc).
We hope that these benefits of sustaining a long-term social media strategy have caught your interest. If you’re still sceptical, we encourage you to consider these points:
- Your competitors are already using social media. Your competitors are already involved on social media. This means YOUR potential social media traffic and customers are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits while you stand idly by. If, somehow, your competition is not involved on social media, there’s even more of a reason to get started—the market is there for the taking.
- The quicker you start, the quicker you see results. Social media is all about relationship building, and it grows exponentially as your followers tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, and so on. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have an audience you can convert into revenue.
- There’s essentially nothing to lose. Realistically, you don’t have anything to lose by getting involved in social media. The amount of time and money it takes to create a social media strategy is very minimal. In fact, we offer a free review service with some friendly tips & advice on how best to get started for your particular business area. It’s no obligation, and ultimately, any money you do spend you get back from new customers. It pays for itself.
The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. Social media marketing, when done right, can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions, and it’s here to stay. If you’re interested in getting started but aren’t sure where to begin—give Brightbiz a call today on 0808 284 9630 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!