The use of social media by both individuals and businesses is so ubiquitous in 2016 that frequently people don’t stop to think why it is they do it. Social media is a very powerful business marketing tool, but there are still many businesses who either do not use social media at all, or do not use it effectively. This is often due to a lack of available resources to commit to social media, but is also because the key benefits of social media marketing are not always understood. People muddle through with social media, without using it in a targeted, business-focused way.
This article focuses on social media as a concept, and the reasons you should be using it for business marketing. For more information about the marketing applications of individual platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, please take a look through some of the other articles on our Digital Prosperity Blog.
1) Drive More Traffic To Your Website
Your social media accounts are great ways of driving traffic to your main online business portal; your website. There are two ways they achieve this. Firstly, social media accounts are a direct source of links. Through your profile page, company page and the content you post, prospects can find out more information about your company, learn about promotions and get more information about your services. Some new leads may discover you first through social media, rather than through a search engine. For instance, when you write a comment on a relevant Facebook page, that comment remains permanently visible to your target audience, inviting click throughs to your company page, and from there to your website.
Secondly, social media drives more traffic to your website indirectly by boosting your search engine rankings. Because Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn content is now indexed by Google, active social media accounts are seen as indicators of greater relevance when calculating search results for important search terms.
2) Build Your Brand Image With Target Customers
Engaging with social media allows your target customers to get to know you as a business. We have already mentioned the value of having a branded company page on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. However, this is only part of the story. Social media is without doubt the best customer service medium ever devised. You can set up saved searches on the main platforms that inform you whenever your brand – or any other key search term – is mentioned. This allows you to join in the conversation by responding to user comments. You can respond to complaints and counteract negative publicity in real-time, you can create flash sales and exclusive offers for your social media followers, and consult your target market directly on upcoming promotions and offers. All of this activity creates a tangible, publicly searchable record of content that strengthens your brand and reinforces a positive image of your business.
3) Connect With Influential Businesses & Individuals
Through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn it is possible to connect with influential people in your industry by engaging with their content. Doing this is free, takes very little time, and has none of the costs associated with traditional business networking – not to mention the difficulty of getting past gatekeepers. Carefully cultivating a network of followers on social media is now the most cost-effective means of building and maintaining a valuable professional network.
4) Keep Involved With News & Industry Trends
One of the main reasons businesses use social media is to advertise the content they publish on their websites and blogs. By keeping involved with social media you will be able to keep track of all the current news, promotions and trends in your market, without having to trawl through individual blogs for updates. Furthermore, important journals and forums within your industry are all likely to have Facebook and Twitter accounts, meaning you can get snippets of important content without having to log into each news portal. You will also be able to advertise and publish your own content, giving your landing pages and articles additional reach.
5) Get Great Exposure – For FREE!
Social media marketing promotes your brand to an open marketplace of tens of thousands of potential customers in the UK and beyond. What is more, marketing on social media is about as cost-effective as it can get – it is completely free. While traditional advertising in even a local newspaper will cost you £150-£600, setting up a company Facebook page won’t cost you a penny. Furthermore, once your social media accounts are set up, there is no time limit to their use. In principle they will be there permanently, attracting new visitors every day. In terms of ROI you can’t say fairer than that.
As a lead generation tool, social media offers almost endless possibilities to B2B businesses. If you are not sure where to start and would like to find out more, please get in touch with one of our marketing specialists at JDR, and we will be happy to chat with you about the benefits.