Once the domain of maverick marketers and early adopters, social media has now been accepted into the mainstream of marketing tools, used by thousands of businesses on a daily basis. However, despite the fact that the majority of companies and organisations now have social media profiles, some businesses are unsure about the best way to make social media work for them.
A flick through Facebook or Twitter brings up many active businesses who show little or no activity on their social media profile. Why is this? A common reason is that the company’s clients are perceived not to use social media. After all, if you are a company targeting other businesses, your contacts won’t be using social media while they’re at work, right?
Why bother investing time and effort into social media when you communicate with your clients by phone, or email, or you attract new business through other means?
Whether or not your clients are active social media users – and a growing proportion of businesses are now involved; there are still key benefits to maintaining an active profile on the major social media platforms.
Why Is Social Media Important?
Like it or loathe it, social media is here to stay, and thanks to growing adoption of smart technologies by business users, it is growing more important every day. As a research tool, platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming as important, if not more so than Google for people trying to find information about a business.
Smart phone users commonly have two or more social media platforms continually open and updating on their device. When searching for a service or looking for more information, these platforms are likely to be the first port of call, rather than a traditional search engine. This trend is going to become even more pronounced now that mobile Internet traffic has officially overtaken desktop bound traffic in many parts of the world.
In other words, even if your clients are not actively using social media for work purposes to engage with their suppliers, they may already be using it as a research tool. This is equally true for companies targeting B2B customers as it is for businesses targeting individual consumers. It makes good business sense to respond to the changing market by ensuring you are fully visible on people who may be searching for you on social media. This doesn’t mean slavishly adopting each new social media trend, but it does mean that important information about your business should be readily accessible and searchable via social media.
5 Benefits Of Social Media
If you’re still not convinced, the following five benefits give compelling reasons why you should adopt an active, practical approach to marketing your business on social media.- Improved Customer Service
Many companies who are disillusioned with social media feel this way because of its perceived failure as a direct sales tool. Instead of looking at Facebook, Twitter etc as a replacement for email marketing or telesales, it is better used as a means of gradually cultivating relationships through improved customer service.- Market Insight
Social media gives you a huge amount of data about your target market. By following keyword discussions and influential players within your industry, you can find out what makes your target customer tick, what they are discussing and how to reach them.- Free and easy content distribution
While many forms of marketing have a price tag attached, sharing content via social media is completely free. It is also quick and easy. Using a free scheduling application such as HootSuite can enable you to keep on top of all your social media platforms without having to log into them all individually.- Cultivate authority in your industry
Engaging in active discussions on social media and maintaining an active profile marks you out as an authoritative voice in your industry. This will raise your profile on social media and attract new followers, thus increasing exposure for your business.- Increase click-through traffic to your website and promotions
If social media is the first point of contact for many potential customers, the end result will be a click through to your website or promotion. There is a large body of evidence that engagement with social media increases the amount of lead generation. According to Hubspot, 84% of social media participants saw increased website traffic from only six hours involvement per week.
Playing the long game for increased ROI
If used correctly, the social media platforms can be powerful allies in attracting new leads and business. Social media marketing does not promise quick wins or immediate results, but the cumulative benefits of increased exposure and strengthened relationships amounts to an impressive ROI that is hard to match by other means.