Social media has completely changed the way we live our lives. Oberlo says that as of 2021, there are 3.78 billion social media users worldwide, approximately 48% of the population. That’s a lot of potential customers! Social media is the most direct form of business-to-consumer communication, and with so many users online, why not take advantage of these free platforms?
According to SproutSocial, 80% of consumers expect to interact with a brand on social media. On Instagram alone, 81% of people use the platform to research products and brands. If you’re not taking advantage of social media, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive way to reach almost half of the world’s population.
So, how does social media benefit your company? Is it worth your time? How can you ensure a hearty return on investment (ROI)? Here are eight reasons why it’s imperative for businesses to be on social media and how it can help ensure your brand’s success.
Faster, Easier Communication
Social networks give you the opportunity to interact directly with customers and fans, and likewise give them the chance to interact directly with your brand. Unlike traditional print or broadcast media, which offer only one-way communication, social media is a two-way street.
Consumers can now easily reach out to a customer service representative thanks to social media. Businesses can also receive, review and respond to customers’ grievances faster and more easily than ever before. Often consumers don’t even have to pick up the phone to discuss a dispute with a company. Social media allows them to communicate on their own time when it is appropriate for both parties. No more having to sit on hold and listen to that awful elevator music.
Customers can immediately write a review or make a post about a product or service in real-time, too. Social media is greatly impacting the way business owners value their customers and it’s all for the better.
Networking, Partnerships & Influencers
In addition to the simplified lines of communication, there’s also the aspect of general availability that social media brings. Building quality relationships become a lot easier with the streamlined communication we get from social media, and building relationships with key influencers earn a lot of value for your brand.
Social media has made those who are usually hard to reach much more accessible. Think of Hollywood, elite sports players or even politicians. Before the rise of social media, how easy was it to get a message directly to them without going through a publicist or manager? It wasn’t easy at all. Celebrities can now view and respond to their fans through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social media platform they’re on.
- Trust from others’ networks and audience members.
- The acquisition of quality backlinks (offers an SEO boost as well as, hopefully, an increase in referral visitors).
- Potential business opportunities.
Many social media channels also have a tool that allows you to go live. Going live is the ultimate way to connect directly with your audience; it allows anyone who follows you to watch in real-time and comment to ask questions or leave their thoughts. The question pops up to the recorder and they can answer it for all their viewers to hear. As an added bonus, any of your followers using the application at that moment receive a notification of the live video, encouraging them to watch.
Increased Website Traffic
Social media allows your brand to reach new audiences and attract new potential customers. With a strong call to action stated throughout your social media updates, you can direct your viewers to go just about anywhere – including your website and/or brick and mortar store (if applicable).
Christina Newberry at Hootsuite says that sharing quality content from your blog or website to your social channels is a great way to increase your readers as soon as you publish a new post. Offer them value in the chat, rather than being too promotional. At Three Girls Media we call this the 80/20 rule. The idea is that 20% of what you post is directly promotional, and the remaining 80% provides nonpromotional content of value, giving followers continued incentive to follow your brand.
Make sure your website address is included in all your social media profiles so users who want to learn more about you can do so with one easy click. Even better, use a pinned post to highlight a landing page on your website that’s relevant to the page.
In the world of business, sales and profits, regardless of what your industry is and who you are marketing and selling to, the focus needs to remain on the customer. Traditional or digital success comes from understanding and delivering the best quality customer service possible and doing everything in your power to ensure your customers have the best possible experience with your company.
No matter your product or service (although it should be good), there will always be unhappy customers. How you respond to the customer is imperative to your business’s online success and long-standing reputation. So, the next time you go to respond to a customer on the company’s behalf, we ask that you remember the golden rule; treat others how you want to be treated.
A Human Face To Your Brand
To build trust with your audience and create long-term loyal customers, it’s imperative you show them your brand keeps its promises and upholds its values. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- How are you embracing your brand values?
- How are you looking out for the best interests of your customers and employees?
- Does your product really work?
- Is your brand involved with your community?
- Does your company give back?
You can answer these questions for your audience by posting photos, reviews and quotes to your social media pages. Share testimonials from happy customers and let them see how you’re giving back to your community and supporting other local organizations.
These messages will not only build trust but will also show your audience there are people behind the brand they can connect with. This connection with the human side of your brand further solidifies the relationship you have established.
Easy Access To Competition
Your competitors are aiming to do the same thing you are: to deliver a product or service to a specific market. It’s helpful to monitor what they’re doing on social media to be inspired to do a better job of connecting with, educating and entertaining users.
It’s also useful to keep an eye on your competition so you can clearly differentiate yourself. What makes you different from them? Why should a potential customer choose to work with you instead? By knowing more about them, you can notice ways you serve consumers differently and point it out to them.
Kristen Baker at HubSpot defines a business crisis as: “An event that has the potential to threaten the success and health of a company by tarnishing its reputation, damaging its business operations, negatively impacting its finances or harming its employees. A business crisis can be caused by something internally or externally. Due to the severity of a business crisis, it’s important to be prepared to manage one of these events with a plan you (and your team) create prior to one actually occurring.”
Now you may be asking yourself, what exactly is a crisis management plan? “A crisis management plan is a process, or series of steps, a business follows to deal with an unexpected, emergency situation, or crisis. It should be completed prior to a crisis happening so the business is prepared to use it to combat and rectify the events that have unfolded.”
Social media can be used as a quick and efficient way to apologize or clear the air with your customers regarding a recent crisis. Use your platforms to write a sincere note to your followers, letting them know the course of action your company plans to take. Silence is not an option when it comes to responding to crises on social media. Maintaining well-run and managed social accounts and having a plan in place can help make sure you’re present and ready to engage if the worst occurs.
User-generated content is a free yet outstanding way to engage with your audience while strengthening your branded content. When a consumer loves and believes in the product they’re using, often they will tell all their friends and share their experience with the world. From a business’s perspective, this is free branding! Now your product is reaching an entirely new audience, all thanks to one simple social media post. Plus, this branded content carries more weight because it’s a personal recommendation from someone the user knows, versus a company trying to sell them something.
How can you encourage user-generated content? Get your followers engaged and implement a competition! Create a game like “fan pick Friday” and collect weekly submissions of customers using and celebrating your product or service, choose your favorite and post it to the company page. Recognition is an easy way to encourage involvement. Shout your customers out and let them know how important they are to the success of your business!
Get Help With Your Business’s Social Media
Are you looking for more detailed information about implementing an effective social media strategy? We know there are no two identical businesses, which is why we create a custom plan for each brand we work with. We take the time to discuss your wants, goals and budget so we can develop a plan tailored to your brand.
Contact the experts at Three Girls Media to get started with a complimentary 30-minute consultation. We’re happy to discuss ways we might be able to help! Until then, visit our blog for other tips and tricks about the vast world of online marketing.
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