The Scale of Social Media Today and Why Businesses Should Be Using This Free Platform
Did you know around 90% of brand marketers say that social media has drastically boosted the exposure for their business? What about the fact two-thirds of marketers that use social media for six hours a week generate more leads? No matter what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to, social media is a marketing tool that you can’t afford to ignore. Even so, some people are ignoring it and asking if they still need it. They do; and here’s why.
Social Media Boosts Web Traffic
01. Social Media Drives Targeted Traffic
No matter your industry, audience, or segment, most of your leads and customers are waiting on social media. A study from the Pew Research Center showed 68% of American adults use Facebook. 78% of 18-24-year-olds are on Instagram while 45% are on Twitter. Even when considering the older generation, over a third of people aged 65 and over are on social media.
Getting access to these customers will boost your traffic, particularly for new content. When posting a blog update or other site update, it takes some time for it to get noticed on Google. This means that not enough people know the content is there until the next search for you.
Social media allows the public to instantly get access to your latest content and click through to your website. Given that the posts will show up in the feeds of your followers and other interested parties, this traffic will be highly targeted. It’s going to bring in the kind of visitors you want.
These results can be surprisingly dramatic. Reddit links can bring in tens of thousands of visitors and it’s all free; why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?
02. Social Media Boosts your Site’s SEO
Search engine crawlers can tell the difference between pages that get lots of traffic and pages that don’t. While having a great content strategy is important for search rankings, getting traffic on these optimized pages helps them climb higher faster.
Social Media Connects You to Consumers and Other Industry Leaders
03. Social Media Marketing Improves Your Understanding of Your Audience
Part of the reason social media channels are so great for marketing is that they allow you to interact with customers. Reading through their tweets and other updates give you an insight into their behavior and tell you the kinds of products they buy, the websites they visit, and the content they share the most.
There are obvious marketing benefits to these insights. A deeper understanding of customers better allows you to write compelling posts they will enjoy, which increases traffic. These benefits sometimes go above and beyond marketing. They show you what problems customers have you can solve, how to improve sales conversions, and how to better refine product strategies.
04. Being Active on Social Media Creates Great Relationships with Your Audience
Customers see Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as social networks, and not marketing machines. This can be something of a challenge when developing a social media marketing strategy. Some companies will make the mistake of taking a hard-sell approach, effectively spamming followers with discount codes, customer reviews, and product announcements. Then they feel that social media isn’t worth it when they only get a small amount of traffic.
Your customers want to be engaged, they don’t want you to pitch things to them.
When you see social media as a way to connect with customers rather than pitch things to them, it transforms your brand for the better. You can help customers by answering their questions, entertaining and informing them with relevant content, and even forming a genuine bond with them.
You can connect with industry leaders and influences to create great stories for reporters, excellent products for promoters and interesting topics experts can share with their own followers. You will become a part of the community, and not just a brand.
This comes with some significant ROI. Increased exposure means more leads. These leads will become followers, who will become customers, who will become brand ambassadors and promoters, and thus the circle of social media continues.
05. Social Media Ads can be Targeted and Re-targeted
Social media platforms allow for highly targeted ads that can be customized around the needs of customers. An example of this is Facebook ads, which can be targeted based on factors such as age, education, location, industry, and user behavior, such as the pages they like.
06. Social Media Helps you Get Noticed at Events and Generate Media Coverage
No matter what metric you used to measure how successful an event is, you need effective promotion. This promotion will always benefit from having an active presence on social media. Facebook and LinkedIn help spread the word about your event and social targeting helps with charity fundraisers by allowing you to target big donors. This is just the start of what social media can do for businesses hosting and attending events.
Social Media Helps with Brand Image
07. Social Media is a Key Part of Customer Service
Quickly responding to customers has become essential. Customers expect their problems to be solved and their questions to be answered immediately. Very few companies meet those expectations.
A recent study from Sprout Social showed consumers want companies to respond within four hours, but there’s an average response time of 10 hours right now. That’s not just irritating for customers, it can affect profits for your business. A Twitter study showed people are willing to pay more for airline tickets – up to $20 – when an airline gets back to them within six minutes.
Lots of studies have shown that customers will reward companies that respond to their requests and complaints quickly. Staying active and engaged on social media keeps customers happy and ensures you have a positive public image.
08. Being Active on Social Media Builds Brand Loyalty
A report from Texas University showed brands that stay active on social media tend to have more loyal customers, and it’s not hard to see why. As you actively engage with customers on social media you are taking the time to give them help, information, and entertainment. This is done without asking them to do anything in return.
That says to customers that you really do value them as people, and not just as revenue streams. Customers start to see your business as an entity that actually cares about them; an entity with its own visions, values, and personality. This makes all the difference in competitive markets.
Social Media Helps Beat out the Competition
09. Your Competition is Using Social Media Already
It can feel intimidating to enter social media, given how crowded it is. Lots of brands have a token presence at least, and most industries see having several social media channels as the norm. Around 91% of retail brands hold accounts on at least two social media platforms. It may leave you wondering what chance you have to get noticed on Twitter or Facebook. The reality is that these brands are doing it wrong, so it’s not as tough as you think.
Big brands are going to have sophisticated social media presences, but the same isn’t true of SMEs. They will start some social media profiles because it’s free and they know everyone else is doing it. They don’t invest in their strategy though, and so they rarely make any kind of an impact. They post on an irregular basis, never engage their followers, and fail to develop a real voice on the platform. They see social media as something they can use to advertise to customers every so often. Then they care even less about social media when it fails to get the results they want.
The reality is that you get nowhere by posting on social media because you feel that you should. It’s better to focus on one great social media channel and leave your competition to their multiple abandoned ones. Taking the time to develop a voice and strategy for social media, posting regularly, and responding to comments and messages lets you build up a following your competition could never match up to; even when they’ve been using social media longer than you have.
10. The Social Media Marketing Arena is a (Somewhat) Even Playing Field
Anyone can create their own free social media account, and SMEs have the option of investing their time in maintaining their social media, or investing their money and using outsourced social media marketing.
Big brands will have some advantages, such as having more name recognition, bigger budgets, and better access to influencers. That doesn’t mean SMEs have no choice at all. They have one advantage big brands don’t; they have authenticity. Entrepreneurs with inspiring stories and local companies connected to their communities resonate with consumers, no matter their budget.
Millions of posts are being made on social media each day. Given how many people are using the internet – particularly social media – at any given time, this is one audience you can’t afford to be missing out on.