To some people, social media is just a fun way to pass the time or a great tool to keep you in touch with the people in your life. However, any business owner or advertising agency can tell you that social networking sites are increasingly becoming essential marketing tools for companies who are competing for attention in digital spaces.
This is because social media is effectively connecting the citizens of the world. Many businesses were quick to realize they could also capitalize on this global connectivity to stay in touch with clients, build customer loyalty, and reach markets that would have been inaccessible a few decades ago. As of 2016, Facebook alone had over 1.5 billion users worldwide, and that doesn’t take into account the additional users who also use sites such as:
- Google Plus
The number of people using social media represents a large portion of potential clients that your company could access with the right social media management strategy. Another great thing about social media is that it’s completely free to use, but it does require a certain amount of time and acumen to keep up with trending topics, start new conversations, establish yourself as an expert, and use these networking sites effectively as marketing and advertising tools.
Increasing Visibility, Traffic, and Sales
You may be wondering how logging into Facebook or another networking site could possibly increase sales and revenue. The fact is that social media can most certainly do this because it can increase your visibility as a company, which in turn will drive more traffic to your site, and that can result in more sales and higher revenue.
Finding you: For one, being active on social media sites provides additional platforms through which customers can find you. Similarly, social media likes, retweets, and followers are also used as part of the ranking metric for major search engines.
Finding them: Handy tools like Twitter keyword searches and Facebook groups can help you locate potential customers who are looking for what you can provide.
Buying from you: Social media can put a human face on an otherwise impersonal organization, and this connection with consumers will do wonders for turning potential customers into purchasing ones.
The more active you are on social media, therefore, the better your related website will rank, the more customers will find you, and the more customers will purchase your product or service. In fact, 80 percent of marketers say that social media has increased their website traffic, and once you get your customers there, the battle is more than half won.
Creating Relationships and Starting Meaningful Conversations
With so many users worldwide, a lot is going on in the social media space, but there’s also the opportunity to start meaningful conversations with customers about things that matter to them and ways that your product or service can solve problems.
Ford is a great example of this, because they use their blog and social media to generate comments and suggestions from customers, and they then use those proposals to actually improve their vehicles, and consequently, customer satisfaction.
So how do you go about starting a conversation like this on social media? It starts with relevant, high-quality content that will mean something to your customers, and this takes a good deal of insight into what matters to them. But if you can consistently update your networking pages with this type of content, then you’ll be able to engage online social spaces in a meaningful two-way conversation.
A secondary effect of having these conversations with your customers is that it will help establish your brand, and will foster loyalty in your customers. Imagine you were one of the commenters who made a suggestion to Ford, and then imagine that they took the idea so seriously that they worked it into the design of their next model. No doubt you’d buy that car, and would probably continue buying Fords for the rest of your life—not to mention recommending that friends and family do the same.
That is brand loyalty at its best, and your company can accomplish the same by engaging your customers, and social media provides the perfect platform for this. Not only that, but it also provides you with an incredible opportunity to reward loyal customers with special deals, sales, and offers, which will further establish your relationship and their loyalty. Similarly, more and more customers are taking to social media with complaints and grievances about companies, and if you aren’t there to respond to these issues immediately, your customer service and your reputation will suffer.
Establishing Your Business as an Expert and an Authority
High-quality content that’s relevant to people will also help to establish your company as an authority in your field, and this will, in turn, boost your rankings. To position yourself as an authority, your company has to produce well-written content that matters to your customers, and social media can be used to distribute this content widely to new and existing clients. If you’re able to answer questions and explain things in your posts, you will get more shares, more likes, and exposure, and more satisfied customers.
Social media also gives you insight into what your competitors are doing, and this will both allow you to learn from their mistakes and their successes, but it will also make you more of an expert in your industry because you’ll be able to provide customers with a fuller understanding of the big picture.
Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming necessary marketing tools that can promote your brand, connect you with consumers, provide another venue for customer service, improve your rankings, and increase traffic and sales. However, using social media properly takes time, dedication, and expertise, but digital marketing firms are out there that can take over your social media strategy.
When you go this route, you’re guaranteed a workable approach to social media management that will free up more of your time and provide you with all the benefits that social networking has to offer.
A stunning statistic shows that three out of four business owners now use Social Media to accelerate their brand. Though you may be averse to social media, one thing is for certain- it is here to stay. So much of what other Social Media agencies offer is in essence just noise. Ask yourself, why would you “follow” the page of a small business. Maybe it’s the use of a powerful plugin for contests and promotion. Maybe it’s the voice of one of their experts. If you’re not creating a conversation you will quickly be lost in the onslaught of gibberish polluting the social space.