Originally Posted On: The Importance of Social Media For Business (brandhause.com)
Social media is still something that needs to be included in your marketing mix. While growth is variable across different networks, the number of people interacting with at least one social media network a day is growing.
On average, 50% of the population interacts with a minimum of one social media network a day. These individuals also spend an average of two hours a day on social media with many checking their preferred networks multiple times a day.
In addition to the large audience found on social media, it’s a highly cost effective form of marketing and has great targeting and discovery options.
It’s the perfect platform for engaging with consumers and building relationships in an entertaining and creative way.
If you still aren’t sure if social media is worth your time and effort, keep reading to really understand the importance of social media for business.Why You Should Use Social Media For Your Business
Using social media for business has a range of benefits. From increase visibility, to building better relationships with customer, and generating leads. Read on for the top reasons why you should use social media for business.Increased Brand Awareness
Having a presence on social media is a great way to increase your reach and build brand awareness.
Posting on social media connects you with your target audience quickly and unobtrusively. It gets your audience looking at your brand and interacting even if they weren’t actively thinking about you.
By including brand elements such as your logo, relevant header image, hashtags in bio sections etc. users are automatically aware of who they are interacting with.
There are a range of ways to reach your audience on social media that aren’t necessarily available on other platforms.
People can directly find your account, for example, through searching for it or clicking links on your website. They can also find it thanks to their friends or people they follow liking or sharing your content.
Social media connects you with your audience quickly and unobtrusively.
Users can additionally find your content in “discovery” feeds that feature on many platforms including Instagram and Pinterest. Using hashtags also helps in being discovered by new prospects.
These features greatly increase your visibility and therefore should increase brand awareness too.Keeps You Top Of Mind
If your ads get served to individuals too much, they can be ignored or even seen as an annoyance. If you email your contacts too much, the same will happen.
Social media, however, allows you to put your message in front of your audience frequently. In fact, at least one post a day, if not more, is recommended for success. The frequency of posting that’s acceptable means that your audience may be interacting with you daily which helps keep you top of mind.
The algorithms used by social media platforms also mean that your content is served to those who interact with you frequently. It’s also served to those who have interests that align closely with your brand.
This is beneficial as the algorithms are creating a target audience for you. By having your content served to these people, it is more likely that they will interact and ultimately convert.Encourages Engagement
Social Media is the perfect place to connect with your audience. No other marketing platform allows for a two-way conversation in the way social media does.
Comments on blog posts, emails sent to you, or replies to your emails can start conversations but are usually transactional. Social media allows for a range of back and forth conversations. This encourages conversions but also builds relationships and builds your brand identity.
70% of consumers learn about a company through its blog versus ads. Learn more about Why Your Business Needs a Blog.
Social media has a way of making the consumer feel like they’re interacting with a friend. This is something that doesn’t really happen on other platforms.
Communicating on social media also allows ways to make followers feel valued. For example, by replying to questions and comments and asking their opinion or using poll and quiz features.Is An Affordable Form Of Marketing
Social media marketing can be successful with very minimal investment. You do need to make sure you have time to plan, create content, interact with your audience, and analyze results.
However, you don’t necessarily need to put a lot of your marketing budget behind social media.
It’s free to set up social media accounts. Even business accounts and eventually getting verified doesn’t cost anything. You can then post content and interact with followers again with no financial cost.
You do have the option to run advertising on social media as well but you can be successful running organic campaigns alone.
If you do decide to pay for promotion, social media advertising is highly cost effective and generates some of the highest ROI of all advertising techniques.
You may also end up having costs associated with creating content and using third party scheduling and analytics platforms.
However, these are very minimal costs. The high returns you should see from all of your social media efforts will make these costs worthwhile.Humanizes Your Brand
Companies today need to be relatable. Consumers want to purchase from brands they feel represent them. They also need to feel that the brand cares about them as an individual.
Social media helps with this as you can create contact and interact with more personality than on other platforms.
Social media is a great place to get your message and brand identity across. By using storytelling, you can help your audience understand the core values of your brand.
Storytelling also helps show how you can help them while building a relationship with them at the same time.Improves Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction
Retaining customers is much easier than getting new ones. Using social media helps in retaining customers by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Providing easy access to information and responses to questions makes converting new customers much easier too.
Many people want to be able to ask questions and solve problems relating to products and services on social media. Most consumers expect that they will be able to get help through social media.
If you don’t have social media accounts, or don’t offer support through them, customers may be disappointed. They will be left unsatisfied as they can’t solve problems or find information they need.
Set up messenger bots to help with basic problems and, if possible, have the option to connect to a real agent. Having this immediate contact makes the chance of unhappy customers lower and makes the chance of conversions higher.
You can also get feedback, ideas, and opinions from your target audience. This helps highlight common problems customers have as well as wants and needs that you may be able to capitalize on.
You can use this information to help improve your products or services, increase customer satisfaction, and create content that your audience wants to see.Increases Website Traffic
Posting on social media is a great way to increase your referral traffic. Best of all, you will be reaching a targeted audience therefore traffic will be highly relevant. Having relevant traffic generally converts best.
Sharing links to website content, such as product pages and blog content, is a great way to drive referral traffic. Social media helps in diversifying your traffic sources. This helps to not only increase your total website traffic but protects against issues with other traffic sources.
Relying traffic from search engines, for example, can result in a drastic drop in traffic if Google’s algorithm changes. In fact, promoting content on social media can bring up to ten times more traffic than that gained on search engine results pages.
Use calls to action in your posts to increase your click through rate. Make sure that the content shared is high quality. If it isn’t, then those who click through are likely to leave the website quickly, increasing your bounce rate.Additional Platform To Provide Information
Your website will always be a main source used for research. Despite this, most consumers will still look for additional information elsewhere. Social media is one of the main additional platforms used to find information.
Use some of your social media posts to keep followers up to date with new products, company news, offers and promotions etc. You can also use social media to promote customer feedback, answer questions, and show tutorials on how to use products.
All of this extra information will help the consumer in the research phase of their purchasing journey. Providing all the information they need in an entertaining way makes it more likely that they will purchase from you.
Using social media helps in retaining customers by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.Helps With Brand Loyalty
Over 50% of your social media followers are likely to be loyal to your brand. Your followers are more likely to choose your products or services over competitors.
Social media allows you to appear more human, engage with your customers, and build relationships. This makes customers feel more connected to your brand.
If they interact with you frequently and have a good relationship with you, they are likely to think of you first when they need a product or service like yours. They’re then likely to purchase from you and keep purchasing from you as they know and trust you.Helps With SEO
Sharing website links on social media is a part of off-page SEO. It’s important in helping your pages rank on relevant search engine results pages.
Social media also spreads your content quickly to those interested in content similar to yours. Through discovery feeds and sharing by others, your content will get a lot of visibility.
This makes it more likely that people will see the content and want to share it off of social media. For example, on their website or blog. This will then count as a backlink for you which is another important element of SEO. Sharing your link in your bio/about section counts as a backlink too!
Additionally, as mentioned, social media helps to increase website traffic too. This again is something that the ranking algorithm looks at. Your social media accounts as well can appear on search engine results pages, increasing exposure of your accounts.
Are you doing your SEO wrong? Learn more about Why SEO Is Important For Your Business and how to implement a successful SEO marketing plan.Provides Social Proof
Social proof is when prospects are influenced to purchase or learn more about a brand based on social indicators. These indicators can include number of followers and number of likes, comments, and shares.
If you see that a brand is well liked on social media, you’re more likely to trust it and consider purchasing from them. Seeing very positive reviews or comments and seeing friends interact with brands make it even more likely that a prospect will interact.
By not having a strong social media presence, you miss out on this positive “word-of-mouth” style marketing.Offers Advertising Options
While social media is great for organic promotions, it also is a good platform to advertise on. Some benefits of advertising on social media include:1. It’s Low Cost
It costs less to advertise on social media compared to print, TV, or radio ads. It’s often also more cost effective than other digital advertising options such as web display ads.2. It Offers Targeted Reach
Social media platforms provide a lot of targeting options for who your ads will reach. Social media platforms collect data on users’ likes and interests as well as some demographic information. You can then use this data while targeting to make sure your ads reach your target audience.3. It Allows For Retargeting
Social media also has many retargeting options. You can set up ads to be served to individuals multiple times. You can also target them to people that have completed certain actions such as visiting your website, using your app, or interacting with an event of yours.4. It Offers A Range of Ad Formats
Most social platforms offer a selection of ad formats. One benefit of social media advertising is that you can promote your organic posts. This helps increase reach among your followers or among those who have characteristics of your target customer.
These posts can be quite effective as they appear in feed and look like regular content so it’s more likely the user will interact. You can also run a range of image based ads (single image, carousels), video ads, catalog ads, messenger ads, and more.5. You Can Analyze and Compare Results in Real-Time
When running social ads, you can look at their performance as they run. You can then adjust as you go. You can also do testing before launching your whole campaign.
The analytics in general given on social media are a good resource for seeing how effective your ads were and who responded the best to what content.6. Generates Leads and Increases Sales
All the benefits of social media previously listed will ultimately help you to generate leads, get sales, and retain customers.
The fact that you can reach such a large audience on social media through both organic and paid methods is very beneficial. This results in social media being one of the best platforms for lead generation.
Social media also allows you to provide information, solve problems, and build relationships in a quick and often fun and unobtrusive way. This helps in convincing individuals to purchase and keeps them satisfied meaning customer retention is a lot more likely.Choosing Social Media Networks
There are a range of social media networks to consider. You don’t need to be on every platform though. Choose networks that are frequently used by your target audience and correspond well with your brand and offerings.Some of the most popular social networks are:Facebook
Facebook is still the world’s largest social media network. Facebook has 2.5 billion daily active users and up to two thirds of these visit business pages daily.
Facebook is a great choice for most businesses. It has a diverse audience of users covering a range of demographic profiles and with a range of interests.
Facebook also has a lot of creative options (you can post image, videos, polls, host Facebook Live sessions, and more.) Facebook additionally has a good selection of ad formats with detailed targeting options.Instagram
Instagram, owned by Facebook, is the second largest social media network. It has over 800 million users with that number growing.
Instagram’s audience is highly engaged. Over 50% of users interact with the app everyday and at least 35% check the app multiple times a day.
Instagram is an image focused platform. It highlights great imagery, short videos, and “story” content. Instagram is also a great discovery platform. It has many features that help accounts get discovered by users that match their target customer.
Additionally, Instagram is a good network for those targeting 18 to 35 year olds. It’s also a good fit for those with products that photograph and video well. Some categories that do particularly well on Instagram include:
- Interior design and real estate
- Fashion and beauty
- Cooking and dining
- Pets and animals
Despite being a “lifestyle industry” focused network, all types of companies can do well on Instagram. You just need to take the time to make high-quality content and interact with followers.Twitter
Twitter users are dropping off slightly but it’s still a highly popular social media network. Twitter has 335 million monthly users.
Many of these are located outside the US. That makes Twitter a great network for those targeting international customers. Despite this, it still has a large number of US users. Even if you target the US only, Twitter can still be beneficial for you.
Twitter allows just 280 characters per post which includes hashtags and URL characters. You therefore need to be good at getting your message across and writing great call-to-actions. Customers like short copy that gets to the point so if you can master Twitter captions, you should see good returns.
Twitter is good for sharing news and content links and for engagement posts. For example, asking open ended questions and running polls is effective on Twitter.LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a good network to use if you’re a B2B company. Its audience is made up of industry professionals and other companies. LinkedIn has 250 million monthly users who interact with the platform for professional reasons.
LinkedIn is a good network to use to get company news in front of industry contacts. It’s also a good place to start building relationships with those in your industry who may become customers or who you can work with in some other way.Pinterest
Pinterest is an image based network. It has over 320 million monthly users who search over 600 million queries a month. Pinterest’s main users are women aged 25 to 49.
Despite this, many men and women over 49 also use Pinterest. Many users are actively researching purchases when using Pinterest.
Like Instagram, it is focused on lifestyle content and brands, however, non-lifestyle brands can be successful. Pinterest is a good platform for sharing links, for example to content like blog posts and product pages. It isn’t the best platform for engagement however but Pinterest does has great “native” advertising options though.Tips For Social Media Success
Once you have decided to use social media to promote your business and have chosen the best networks to do so on, follow these tips for social media success.1. Have A Social Media Strategy and Set Goals
Once your platforms are decided, the first step to a great social media strategy is deciding key performance indicators for social media efforts.
These KPIs will help to measure success. They’ll show if each platform used and the content you are sharing is effective in reaching and converting your target audience.
Social media goals can include:
- Increasing followers
- Increasing social referral traffic
- Increasing post engagement
- Increasing brand awareness
- Increasing conversions
Make sure you are checking in with your success in reaching these goals frequently and adjust your strategy as needed.2. Post Consistently
If you are going to use social media, you need to be consistent in your posting. Decide how many times you will post each day and week. Then make sure you have your content planned and scheduled at least a month in advance.
Following an inconsistent posting schedule and going quiet for a long period of time between posts means you won’t gain for the social media benefits listed above. Followers will forget about your brand and will not be able to engage with you and build a relationship. Inconsistent posting will also affect the number of people you’re reaching.
Along with posting content consistently, make sure you are interacting with your followers. This includes responding to direct messages quickly and replying to comments.3. Plan Your Content In Advance
As mentioned, you need to be planning social media at least a month in advance. Think about what type of content you will be sharing and then make sure you have that content created and scheduled to be posted.
When planning content, use the rule of thirds. This means your social media posts should be:
- ⅓ promotional posts
- ⅓ industry insight and content sharing
- ⅓ engagement posts to connect and interact with your followers
Use analytics to adjust your content if needed and to help you plan the next month’s content.4. Determine Optimal Posting Times
When planning for social media, decide how much time you will put between each post on each platform. You will understand what works for your audience as you go and this will differ for each platform.
For example, you should be tweeting at least a few times and up to ten times a day. Instagram, however, works better with less but consistent and high-quality posts such as one post a day or one every other day.
You should also decide how often you can re-share a piece of content with your audience. Do not share the same link so much that your audience will get annoyed by seeing it repeatedly.
You might want to share a new post twice in the week it is published and then re-share once a month. Again this will vary based on the platform and your audience.5. Conduct Social Listening
Social listening is when you monitor social conversations about topics relevant to your company. This practice helps determine what is important and interesting to your target audience along with what is trending. You can then use this information to help create your post content.6. Analyze Results
Social media marketing success is highly dependent on analyzing your results and adjusting your strategy as you go. Most social media platforms have analytics, however, these vary on the detail of analytics they provide.
You will be able to see likes and comments as a minimum for every post on all social media platforms. Most platforms also offer basic demographic information on your followers.
To get more detailed analytics, a third party software system is recommended. Many of these platforms also have scheduling components to help you schedule your posts ahead of time.In Conclusion
Hopefully you now understand the importance of social media for business plus how to start planning a social media strategy. With its low cost, relationship building and lead generation qualities (and more!), social media has a place in every businesses’ strategy.
If you’d like to start using social media to promote your business or want to improve your efforts, consider working with Brand Hause.
We can help with everything from social media planning and content creation and curation to interacting with your followers. All with the goal of getting you great results!
Get in touch today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you with your social media marketing.