Social media and marketing now go hand in hand, but it’s not an easy thing to get used to. Many businesses create a page on Facebook and set up a Twitter profile, proceed to post one or two updates every now and then stop when they don’t make a direct sale. They fail to get to grips with the whole social media marketing thing because they don’t see the advantages or appreciate the work involved. They forget all about their ideas, campaigns and their customers’ needs, which is a real shame. Social media isn’t all about making sales; it’s so much more than that.
What are the Real Benefits of Social Media?
It’s natural to feel sceptical about your investment in social media when you fail to make a huge impact in a short space of time, but trust us, there are many real benefits for you that make it worth sticking with. Here are ten that should get you thinking.
- Brand recognition – Brand recognition is probably one of the most useful and powerful advantages of social media marketing. You can position your company and direct the way you want your business to be seen and understood. You can build your reputation based upon your values and the advantages of using your business.
- Exposure – Social media provides you with a way of creating repeated exposure within your network. You’re able to stay constant, remain in the minds of your target audience and remind them what you offer. While your audience may not be in the mood to buy right now, when they do it will be your business that is in their minds thanks to the constant exposure social media marketing has provided you with.
- Community – You have the power to build your own community with social media. You gain instant access to your community as they follow you. This connection allows you to get to know your audience better, understand what they want, what their problems are and conduct market research as often as you want. This direct contact across your target audience is a powerful form of market research that’s often more valuable than other types of paid research available.
- Establish Your Authority – Become a voice of authority by using social media to inform, educate and advise your target audience. Show off your expertise and help your audience by providing useful content, by answering questions and showing solutions to common problems. By doing so you can build a very loyal fan base that will in turn help you to establish your authority.
- Increase Website Traffic – Social media marketing is an excellent traffic generator if used correctly. By sharing the excellent content (such as original blog posts and videos) from your website the audience is provided with frequent reasons to click the link and visit your website. From there you are able to further encourage your audience to spend more time on your site and get even more involved by signing up to your mailing list, getting in touch or making a purchase. Try to create clear calls to actions on each page you share to increase your conversion rates.
- Get Ahead of the Competition – If you avoid using social media you can bet your competitors will jump at the chance of stealing your audience away from you, even if they aren’t managing their social media accounts very well. Consumers want to get to know the companies and brands they use, they like the idea of finding out more about who they’re buying from and find it reassuring to know they can make contact using their own social networks. You need to be there and you need to stand out.
- Attracting Attention – With consistent content and a regular presence on social networks you will get noticed and you will benefit from the time and effort you put in. You need to be patient; you can’t expect vast amounts of followers over a short period of time.
- Influence your Audience – As you develop your audience the influence you have will increase. As your audience grows more people will want to come and join in to see what the fuss is about. Take advantage of this snowball effect and many opportunities will open up, such as attracting new customers or increased media attention.
- Taking Control – Some businesses avoid social media because they worry about negative comments. What they forget is that if someone isn’t happy they will be complaining on social media already. If you’re present you’re able to take control and deal with the negativity head on, turning it into a positive by providing visible excellent customer service. You show you care, you’re listening and you’re a company that wants their customers to be satisfied.
- Monitoring – It’s possible to monitor your social activities to see what’s working and what isn’t. There are many tools that help you to track the results but the easiest way is using the social media dashboard on Google Analytics. By paying attention to the analytics you’re able to spot what works and what doesn’t and make changes accordingly, which isn’t possible with more traditional forms of marketing such as taking out printed ads.
Social media isn’t all about generating sales, there’s so much more to it than that. So are you taking advantage of these benefits or are you handing them all over to your competitors?