Social media has exploded into our lives, both personally and professionally, over the last few years, but there are still many businesses who are wondering exactly what are the benefits of social media marketing are, and whether it’s really worthwhile to invest the time, money and effort to deliver it effectively. Here are some really strong reasons why you should do it.
1. Brand Awareness
This is one of the more obvious benefits of social media marketing. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your brand out into the public domain. Post interesting information about your business, let people know what you can do to help them, contact key influencers and so on. It’s surprising how quickly word gets around. Social media posts that add value will get shared, so make them interesting and relevant to your audience, and your brand awareness will grow.
2. Customer Service
Social media’s impact is immediate – which can be either good or bad for a business. If someone has a grievance against your company, fair or unfair, real or imagined, it’s quite possible that they’ll put out a negative comment on social media. But, thankfully, if you’re set up right, you’ll see it too. By responding professionally, apologising where necessary, and trying to resolve it, you can turn around not only that customer’s experience but also many other people’s view of your business.
3. Customer Research
A great benefit of social media marketing is that it enables you to find out what your customers, or potential customers, think. You can ask all sorts of questions to find out what they need, are unable to find, choices of flavour/colour/size, how much they’d pay etc etc. Use this insight to launch products or services where you know there’s a demand, or to develop clever marketing messages that address their needs.
4. Prospect Customers
As your fans and followers share your content with others, your potential audience grows. You’ll be reaching new sectors that you may have had no way of reaching before. Plus, there are some great social media marketing tools that enable you to find people in your area who are talking about the services or products you offer. You can then reach out to them with introductory offers and tailored marketing tactics.
5. Lead Generation
Ultimately, just like any other marketing activity, social media needs to try and justify its cost. So use it to generate direct sales with flash offers and limited time discounts. Social media marketing can help you to target customers by interest, location, demographics etc..
6. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
A major benefit of social media marketing for business is how it increases website traffic. Not only by directing people to your site through posts, but the more shares your content gets, the higher your search ranking is likely to be – because Google ranks according to authority. Posting interesting, entertaining and informative posts that are more likely to be shared with retweets, likes and favourites will positively improve Google search results.
7. Competitor Research
Whilst it’s highly unlikely your competitors will want to share their latest news with you, they probably will on social media. Set up alerts for mentions of your competitors and their products and you’ll find out what people think about them, what offers they’re running and any new launches. Not only that, but you can follow their followers too.
8. Brand Value
People expect businesses to be on social media now. It’s how we consume data and it’s become one of the main sources for new information. Customers want to see what you’re saying on social media, and what others are saying about you. Recommendation is a big benefit of social media and endorsements provide reassurance.
9. Thought Leadership
Creating content in the form of blogs, white papers, surveys etc. (that you post on a web library (for example) and distribute through your social media channels) will enhance your reputation as a credible industry source. It will also have the inherent benefit of making you think in a more strategic way about your business, a factor that will help to shape and improve your corporate plans.
10. Public Relations (PR)
We should not forget that social media is – to a certain extent – a digital form of PR. It is an obvious way to communicate with journalists, bloggers and opinion formers within your industry. These people are really keen to get great content that they can share with their channels. If you can demonstrate that you are a credible and professional source of fresh information in your industry, then you have the potential to generate significant value to your social media marketing bottom line.
11. Competitive Advantage
Right now, almost nobody in the SME marketplace has an effective social media marketing plan in place. If you decide to invest the time, money and effort in this medium, you will unquestionably stand out from the crowd. We would unhesitatingly recommend that you redirect some of your marketing budget into social media marketing, and we strongly advise that you use a marketing agency which understands that an effective social media marketing strategy is not just about tweets and likes. It is much, much more than that.