No doubt most of you reading this are fully immersed in social media. We live and breathe it. Most of our job is focused around it. But shockingly, to those of us that ride or die with our friends on social channels, there are still businesses on the fence about utilizing the medium, and there are still marketers writing proposals to their superiors trying to convince them of the need to start a social media marketing program.
The truth is, people are using social media to engage with brands more than ever. With over three billion people using social media around the world, if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.
In this post, we'll look at just a few ways in which social media can help you grow your business.
1. People Buy from People They Like and Relate to
Social media gives a voice to who your brand is. Before purchasing from an unknown entity, people are scouring that company's social media profiles to see if people are happy with it.
Is the brand doing what it says it will do? Do the products it sells actually work?
To truly connect with potential consumers, you need to be able to show who you are. Do you have relatable brand values? Does the work you do back those up?
The more you can create 1:1 relationships with people, the more likely those people are to do business with you. Social media enables you to do that with infinitely more people than you would be able to meet if they just walked into your storefront.
2. Reputation Management
Like it or not, people are talking about your brand, whether you're initiating or involved in these conversations or not.
If you're “doing social right,” you'll have an active social listening plan in place, which enables you to pick up on and track where and when these conversations are happening. Join in on them - not only as an outsider looking in, but as an active, engaged member of each community.
Are you finding that people are saying something that isn’t true about your company? Share your side politely and professionally. Just the same, if people are talking up your brand, make sure you're finding ways to thank them, publicly and personally.
3. Make Your Brand an Industry Leader
As noted, people buy from people who they like and trust, and social media offers you the chance to become the go-to thought leader when people want to know about your specific industry.
Ensure that you're publishing content for your audience - and not just your latest sales or whatever other offers you want to write about. Social is about being 'social', which includes being helpful, engaging - a part of the broader community.
If you focus on being helpful as a priority, people will learn to trust what you have to say, and eventually, go to you first to learn more.
4. Send People to Your Website
There’s only so much people can learn from social media posts and ads - your website is where you house more fully fleshed-out information, and you can utilize social media channels to drive people there.
When you're filling out your social media bios, ensure your website is featured prominently where possible.
It’s also a good idea to use a pinned post on your profile to highlight your focus landing page/s on your website where you’d like people to check out first.
5. Find Leads
Social media provides an easy way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products.
Lead generation is such an important benefit of social media for business, and most social networks now offer advertising formats specifically designed to collect leads.
6. Social Selling
Social media creates sales. And let’s face it, that’s what keeps our businesses afloat.
Social selling gives your sales and marketing team the opportunity to establish relationships, and build rapport with existing connections and networks.
An active, engaging social presence can help keep your brand top of mind, so when a person is ready to purchase, again, they come to you first.
7. Customer (current and potential) Engagement
Social media enables you to interact directly with people that are already fans of your brand, as well as find new fans. Conversely, it also gives them a direct line to you, the business.
Be consistent with staying engaged with your audiences and communities and let them see that you're there for them when they need.
Stay active and relevant with the posts you put out, and make sure you respond to comments and questions that people post on that content.
8. Customer Service
This might be one of the top reasons for your business to be active on social media - these days, people simply expect brands to be available on social media, and they're increasingly going to brands social profiles first for customer service queries.
The faster you can respond, and the better you are able to help, the more likely it is that those people will become customers, and recommend your business to others.
9. Learn About Your Customers
People share a lot on social media, which means there's a lot of data you can find on your target customers. You can then use that information to make more informed decisions in relation to your business, what your consumers are looking for and how best to reach them.
Take advantage of the analytics that every social network offers. Using the insights available, you can tailor your strategies to best speak to your target market/s.
10. Study Your Competition
It’s also important to know what people are saying about your competitors.
For example, tracking mentions of your competitors might reveal pain points with their products that you could reach out to address, winning new customers in the process.
How fast are your competitors responding to customers complaints? Long enough for you to step in and solve their problems with your brand?
As you can see, there's a range of potential benefits to social, and while it does take some work, the rewards can be great, when you approach the medium in a strategic, focused way.
Hopefully these tips help.