by Teddy Stanley, Digital Marketing Executive at The Edge
Let’s face it: businesses these days simply must have some form of social media presence.
Whether it’s for a small, locally-run shop or a huge multi-national corporation, it’s equally important, whether you’re Joe’s Café or Nike. One of the first things I do, when I’m told of a new business or brand that I might be interested in, is to do some research on them – namely through their social media channels. It gives you valuable insight into how the business is run, the culture of the company, and how they can be useful to you as a customer. More than three billion people across the world are using social media every month, and with the industry set to become even bigger in the coming years, your business should be taking advantage sooner rather than later.
Well, it’s quite simply the trend that’s not disappearing. Maybe we’ve reached the point where it’s actually no longer a trend and is here to stay – for the long run. Social media is everywhere; you can get it on your smartphones, on your tablets, on your Smart TVs, and I’ve been reliably informed this week that you can even find it on the latest fridges! The fact of the matter is that it’s become a part of our daily lives, part of our culture, and because of this chances are that your target market is on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, and even YouTube.
Still not convinced on the importance of social media for your business? Here’s five of the main reasons why it should be a vital part of your marketing strategy…
1. Improved Brand Awareness
Increasing your businesses visibility shouldn’t have to be the hardest task in the world, especially with the power of social media. A single post has the potential to be broadcast to thousands of people – even millions – at the touch of a button. By investing a little time spread across the working week, you can easily increase your brand visibility and have impact on your target audience by interacting with them.
The more you engage with your audience, the wider your reach – take Twitter as an example. Head to Amazon’s Twitter account. Here, you can see the level of engagement that account moderators have with people from all corners of the world. Personalised messages to people tagging Amazon in tweets thanking them for their speedy service or product quality is an example of interaction.
People often don’t realise, but this boosts the overall awareness of the brand, leading to increases into both leads and potential sales. Just a simple tweet, in response to a happy customer. That’s it. No lengthy phone call, no leaflets being thrown at you; just a little bit of engagement to make that customer feel a little special.
Social media also brings the potential for great returns on low investment. For starters, you can create an account and sign up for almost all social media platforms with no initial registration fee. You can then spend your budget on paid advertising and the like, but it’s not necessarily a necessity. As with all things, there are benefits from a paid plan that you can’t get with a basic/free approach, but you can use the basic features to establish your presence early-doors if you’re canny. When you do decide to invest in a paid promotional advertisement plan, it’s generally best to start small and experiment; find out what works and what doesn’t so you know you’re not wasting your hard-earned budget promoting your amazing social posts to the wrong audience(s). Simply put, a good return on investment is one of the main objectives of a good marketing strategy – and it’s no different when it comes to social media.
3. Engage with Your Customers
Social media is a playground for engaging and interacting with customers. Whether it’s through a conversation, adverts, a post that’s gone viral – the ways are endless. It’s also about providing value to people: hints, tips, tricks, news, and information about the latest trends, all help to establish yourself as one of the leading SMEs in your industry. This engagement increases your reach and attracts people, promoting…
4. Brand Loyalty
There’s nothing better than a loyal customer. Someone you can rely on to purchase that new phone every year; a client that will always return. Someone who picks your brand over others. They’re the beating heart of a successful business. These loyal customers are far more likely to engage with the content you post on socials, and in doing so inadvertently extend the reach you have on these channels.
5. Better Customer Satisfaction
Especially in today’s world, customers don’t hesitate to make their voice heard on social media if they have a negative experience with your brand. Luckily, you can turn it around with the power of social media. Done right, it can easily turn a negative experience into a positive one through a gesture of goodwill, an update, or even just a personalised apology making the customer feel valued. According to an infographic published by Ambassador, a whopping 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a positive experience with them on social media. On a personal level, I can vouch for that (having done so numerous times myself!) – referring to social media platforms when discussing a company is a standard process in today’s society.
As a marketer, I think that social media is the most cost-effective form of direct communication that we as a business have with our audience, and the five points I’ve discussed above prove that its presence is vital for any business wanting to be a success. When done right, social media is a wonderful tool for bringing in new customers, retaining customers, and keeping existing customers happy.