Despite being a cultural sensation that many love to hate, social media is going strong with around 3.48 billion total users to date. Whether you think it’s a vessel for meaningful conversation or simply a tool for oversharing, you can’t deny the fact that social media is a prime spot for business communication.
Since starting out as a simple publishing instrument, social media marketing has matured into a strategic tool for many modern businesses. Its rapid growth as a business asset has made it difficult to spot a business without a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page. Still, presence hardly matters if your business isn’t leveraging social advertising effectively.
Social media marketing offers a plethora of benefits—but it’s not as simple as selfies and snapshots. So where do you begin?
6 Benefits of Social Media Marketing
- You Get to Define Who You Are
- You Can Maximise Campaigns Using Industry Trends
- You Provide Better Customer Service
- You Improve Search Engine Optimisation
- Advertising is Cost-Effective
- Higher Conversion Rates Are More Achievable
There are 5 basic social media pillars you want to align with your business philosophy:
Know what your goals are, and how a social media campaign can help you achieve them. Do you aim to develop business awareness, drive traffic, serve as a customer support channel, or all three? Establishing your key performance indicators, or KPIs, helps determine your market persona.
Planning and Publishing
Knowing your buyer plays a key role in timing your posts at a particular frequency. Think about their daily routines and aim to publish your content during their active times. That usually implies mornings, lunch hour, and after school or work hours.
Social media is all about sparking conversations, which you have to listen just as much as you talk. After all, long-standing relationships are what drive businesses towards success. You want to meet your buyers where they are, by means of what they desire most and what comprises an ideal experience for them.
For any online business, there is the potential for an eventual plateau. That being said, at some point, you’ll want to up your numbers in terms of reach and engagement. Powerful targeting options allow social media advertising platforms to display your ads to a particular demographic.
As with any campaign, you’ll want to know how your marketing strategies are performing. While most platforms provide basic insights, you can opt to install tools such as Sprout Social or Buffer Analyze to break down complex numbers.
With these pillars fresh in mind, have a look at these 6 reasons why introducing social media marketing into your business strategy can best benefit your business.
1. You Get to Define Who You Are
An impressive 97% of social advertisers are active on Facebook, while 83% are active on Instagram. These numbers may seem promising, but know that there are also a high number of businesses actively trying to sell themselves.
You’ll want to actively humanise your business: Buyers are more receptive to content that showcases human elements, whether it be features on your employees or collaborators.
This is what makes pages like Humans of Melbourne so popular. Online users love to connect, and more importantly, relate. Taking into consideration that 90.4% of millennials are active on social media, a great way to engage is by incorporating trends, and a “younger” tone of voice.
In an increasingly political environment, businesses that pioneer themselves as industry leaders through advocacy and social issues tend to connect more successfully. Take a look at Nike, one of the largest and most globally impactful retail forces in the industry. By taking part in conversations about access to education and partnering up with basketball legend Michael Jordan, their Jordan Wings program has since funded 1,650 students.
By encouraging relevant conversations, businesses not only increase the likelihood of sales—but they also create powerful buyer-seller relationships.
2. You Can Maximise Campaigns Using Industry Trends
In today’s urbanised landscape, 45% of the world’s population has at least one social media account. That being said, taking part in conversations in real-time is vital. After all, the internet is a goldmine for information.
At present, social listening and competitor analysis is about as vital as ever. Simply being in-the-know about what Instagram hashtags are trending give your business greater opportunities to trend along with them. The stronger your content, the better your likelihood of being the talk of the town (or web).
But what is strong content? Consider common buyer behaviour online—social media is mostly unadulterated. Internet users are transparent and opinionated. If they are satisfied with a service, you’ll know just as well as when they aren’t.
Through social listening tools such as Social Mention, your business can track stats such as keywords, the likelihood of your business being discussed online, and whether these mentions are positive or negative.
By tapping into industry trends, your business, too, has a better chance of capitalising on opportunities to go viral.
3. You Provide Better Customer Service
Let’s face it—your customers won’t always be happy, whether or not your business was in the right.
With the fall of landlines and rise of mobile phone usage, people prefer to settle issues and queries through messaging channels as opposed to a lengthy (and at worst, awkward) phone call. In fact, 63% expect businesses to provide customer service via social media.
Sure, you become more susceptible to less-than-positive comments, but also gain an opportunity to demonstrate excellent crisis communication. Not only do you get to manage your business health by gathering and sorting customer feedback—you can provide speedy solutions to problems or enquiries.
4. You Improve Search Engine Optimisation
While Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter shares don’t directly impact your website rankings, social media profiles do have the ability to rank. Through constant optimisation, social media can stand as a gateway to your other existing channels. Plus, your social media might make a greater impression on users over your website.
GoPro is a business that represents itself effectively online. Plug it into Google and you’ll find that among its top results are not only its primary website, but its Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. That’s presence.
But Google is no longer the internet’s only search resource, despite remaining the most visited website in 2019. Facebook is now a strong competitor for web searches. In fact, it sorts through 1.5 billion searches a day, and at a rate of one new social media user every 15 seconds, it’s more or less guaranteed your prospective audience already exists on your chosen platform (and possibly seeking out a business like yours).
5. Advertising is Cost-Effective
Since the birth of digital advertising, it isn’t just traditional advertising taking a backseat—it’s ad costs too. Remove the likes of printing and physical ad space and watch your conversions increase at a cost-effective rate. Growing your business doesn’t immediately require scaling with paid ads. You can develop campaigns at your own pace.
Online advertising also eliminates “blind” approaches that are high-investment. Thanks to demographic information and targeted advertising, you get measurable results that improve your chances of a higher return on investment.
Features such as Facebook Lookalike Audiences now allow social media marketers to reach out to audiences similar to those that have invested in your business in the past. In the single click of a button, Facebook algorithmically matches your page to new users of like demographics and behaviour.
Among the other perks of digital marketing is the ability to analyse results in real-time using free, built-in tools. Instant feedback allows for instant edits and improvements.
6. Higher Conversion Rates Are More Achievable
Targeted leads are key business goals more easily captured through social media marketing. While quality leads are promising, businesses still need to convert them into sales. This is where social proofing comes in handy.
Getting buyers to invest in your products or services can be as simple as a game of Simon Says. In layman’s terms, people do what others do. After all, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends or family, and although social media is vast, positive testimonials are often enough to nudge buyers towards a full purchase.
User-generated content is an aspect of social media advertising you want to take advantage of. Anything from a Twitter review to an Instagram product shot can be encouraging to online shoppers who are on the fence about whether or not they want to take you up on what you have to offer.
Big businesses like Netflix incorporate excellent UCG to promote new or returning shows. By relaying what fans are binge-watching, non-subscribers learn more about Netflix services at a much quicker pace.
Strong content campaigns make people want to share their experiences, especially when they’re encouraged to do so.
Now begs the question:
How Do I Incorporate Social Media Marketing Into My Business Plan?
The nature of social media is immediate. In a matter of minutes, you can have a page up and ready for posting.
Begin with the social media network that best aligns with your business goals. While the idea of being omnipresent might seem most effective, it isn’t very effective for smaller businesses just starting out.
Take a look at today’s top three social networks, and where they might fit into your strategy:
- Facebook. More than 2.1 billion people use Facebook every day. On that basis alone, Facebook is a standout for those looking to expand their reach. These active users represent an incredible range of demographics, which can be easily segregated through the website’s sophisticated targeting tools.
- Instagram. The most “social savvy” among online advertising channels, Instagram is a melting pot of younger circles. Majority of its users are under the age of 30, with the greatest age bracket being 13-17 at 72%. For visual-heavy businesses, it’s the place to be.
- Twitter. Short, sweet, and fast-paced, Twitter is an excellent platform for broadcasting news and updates, and communicating with users in real-time.
You might also consider other options that better suit niche communities.
Now it’s time to grow your audience.
Already have a website? Leverage your existing channels by linking out to your new ones. A social media button on your website or email blasts are an effective method of getting your current following to branch out and connect with you in ways that are more appropriate to them.
For a gentle push, include a call-to-action. Something as bite-sized as “visit us on Facebook!” will usually suffice. Alternatively, you can reach out to users that correspond to your business on other social media platforms. More established businesses might collaborate with influencers to maximise reach and engagement.
Similarly, you can trigger your own conversations by understanding your audience. Assessable information such as browsing habits, likes, dislikes, and shares allow you to create content that is valuable to them.
Today’s social media bandwagon is no longer an optional ride for many. To succeed, your business needs it. Ensure that your goals are actionable, specific, and most importantly, quantifiable. More than an exception, social media marketing is an expectation, and with time and resources, your business can reap its full range of benefits.