As a digital marketer, I have come across a question. Why is social media important, especially for a business? The answer is simple, it is where all your customers are for the majority of the day. It is a no-brainer that the best odd of attracting customers is to reach out to them in a place they frequently visit. It is why many brands choose to advertise themselves at malls, railway stations, and airports. Since the advent of the internet, brands choose to indulge in digital advertising because that is where customers are.
Similarly, social media is essential because of the high levels of presence it has.
Why Social Media is important?
When compared to traditional advertisements, digital advertising of any form are cost-effective. They are what a small-scale company needs. However, the benefits of digital advertising do not end with startups or small-scale businesses. The ads seen on social media sites come under the umbrella of digital advertising. In fact, out of other types of online advertising, social media marketing costs the least. The reason being it is absolutely free of cost to create a social profile. Businesses and brands can perform their marketing campaigns, reach out to their loyal audience, create a strong online presence, and get new customers through various posts that cost them nothing. The only time companies need to pay is when they need sponsored ads using geo-targeting to promote further their products. With tangible results in sales and leads, social media ads are flexible enough to cater to the needs of an individual company. You can increase or decrease the amount spent on advertising in such sites anytime you wish to do so, making them flexible and cost-effective.
As shown below in a cross-channel analysis, the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on social media can be as low as $2.50. This is 3x less expensive than advertising through traditional media.
Source: Lyfe Marketing
In this age of the internet, it comes as no surprise that people base their choices and judgments on something on a review found online. Most brands focus on upping their search engine game where most people find reviews of people who have used their products, and rightfully so because they matter a lot to the image of a company.
However, many neglect social media presence, which is equally important. Around 74% of
shoppers use comments, posts, and reviews found on social sites like Facebook or Instagram as a basis for their purchase. As such, having a profile in each of these portals can help grow your brand and its online presence. Not only does it increase the brand’s awareness, but it also makes them accessible, thereby trustworthy. A simple formula decides how many customers will trust you and buy your products.
Attractive posts + Huge following = higher probability of purchase
Therefore, having social profiles can accentuate a brand’s reach and traction significantly.
Customer engagement Communication is key in maintaining a relationship with anyone, including your customers. Before the advent of the internet and social media, there was no direct contact between buyers and the brand. The only way a shopper reached out to its brand was either through a customer service team or through letters, etc.
However, the internet and social media have changed the ball game. Today, people are able to reach out directly through a review portal, but above all else, through social media sites. Brands having social profiles are able to engage their customers effectively through posts, comments, etc. Moreover, customers of such brands are able to give honest opinions and reviews about a product along with their grievances, and the companies are able to address the issues directly and publicly, to solve them. Such a gesture from a business creates a positive image in the minds of the audience.
Consumers need to see an Ad 7x before making a purchase decision.
The importance of SEO is not lost on anyone who forays into the world of business. It lets you rank higher on the search results, which can bring in a lot of traffic to your website along with new customers and leads. Which is why many businesses optimize their website, blog, etc., with specific keywords and make it SEO friendly. However, the rules of SEO change often, leaving you scrambling to catch up to the new standards. But, one thing remains pertinent for a successful SEO strategy—Backlinks. So many brands engage in guest posts on other blogs or write related articles on their blog to get an ample amount of backlinks to the website. Social profiles give you a new channel to spread the word about your company and products. Which means it is another place you can create backlinks. The more links you have, the better your SEO ranks. Therefore, social media presence can enhance your SEO game.
When I searched “Flipkart” in Google, the company’s Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook profiles appeared as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th listings, respectively, and LinkedIn was the 8th result.
If search engines bring traffic and new leads along with it, social media does that and more. Not only does a post on a social profile has the ability to bring in new people to the website, but also, it can spread the word, as well. Each post you upload on your profile is a reminder to your audience to check you out and as mentioned above, a backlink. Moreover, social media is akin to the word of mouth marketing as far as the effectiveness is concerned. If you post quality content, your audience may share them with their friends getting you increased inbound traffic, Brand loyalty, and authority. As mentioned before, social profiles let you and your customers connect. They have a channel through which they can ask queries, express their dissatisfaction, and give feedback for your products and services. When you reply to such comments from the audience and assist with their problems, they start trusting you.
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first – Wendy Peirsal
Moreover, regular posts that entertain the audience or the ability to relate to your uploads boost the sentimental attachment they feel towards you. A brand is able to create a strong impression on its audience through posts it uploads.
Tips to make Social Media work for you
You created the social profile but, for some unknown reason, you are not able to engage with your audience. No matter how many posts you upload, your followers are not responding and neither, are your followers count increasing. The problem most probably lies in the way you are using your handles. Here are seven tips that will help you make social media work for you and your business:
Know your Audience
Knowing your followers and viewers plays a key role in the success of an ad campaign, be it online or offline. The importance of identifying the persona of your audience is immeasurable in social media.
At the ear of the internet, people and businesses alike have quite a few options when it comes to social media sites. While you may be tempted to create a profile in every one of them, you probably shouldn’t.
The reason is simple. It will be a nightmare to maintain standards and activity, in all of them, and the effort and time involved may go to waste if it doesn’t pan out. Therefore, it is better to focus on sites that suite your products and services, where you can get maximum benefits.
For instance, brands selling visually stunning products should consider Instagram and Pinterest due to their image-sharing options are profitable. Similarly, if you are a B2B company, then focusing on LinkedIn is a better solution.
Connect with your Audience
If you want a successful social media campaign, then, you need to communicate and connect with your audience. Connection with your followers is invaluable in platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. As such, you need to interact with them instead of dumping information on them.
When a brand responds to the audience’s comments, reviews, etc., a positive image forms in the mind of the people, and they tend to buy their products more. Moreover, they will talk about your company to others, which is an added benefit due to the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing.
Therefore, as a brand, you should interact with your audience regularly through replies to comments, reviews, or messages.
Admit Mistakes and Make up for it
Human beings, in general, find it hard to acknowledge their mistakes. For a company, the task is harder, especially in a public space such as social media. However, not doing so will have a negative impact on the brand image.
Be it a minor fact-checking error or hurting religious sentiments, owning up to your mistakes is better, than pretending nothing happened. Hiding your mistakes make you seem untrustworthy, and the problem is blown out of proportion.
What you can do is to acknowledge your mistakes and follow it up with a heartfelt apology and apologetic post. Do not engage in a debate or defend your stance if you are aware of being in the wrong. Instead, silently whether through the heat you receive and rectify your mistakes.
However, make sure you are not hasty in your apology. Your post should be deliberate and well-thought-out. Anything else would make you look stupid in the eyes of an audience who angry at you.
Be Consistent and Regular
Your social media profile is like a sapling or a plant. It requires constant attention and nurturing to grow and develop. The tip may seem obvious, but it is something many beginners neglect. You need to be consistent and regular with your social engagement.
Not being consistent can lead to your followers losing interest in your content AKA your brand. Moreover, a full-hearted commitment to your social media marketing can do wonders for humanizing your company.
Therefore, take care of your profile as you would a baby or a plant. Constantly listen to your audience, respond to them, and create new content to entertain them. Doing so, you are retaining your existing customers and attracting new ones.
Being consistent in your brand allows you to grow in audience engagement and reach
Feedback of any kind is beneficial for a brand. A negative one does not have to be the end of the world for a company. On the contrary, you can use the opportunity to connect with your audience and show them you care about them and their problems.
A quick response to any complains, queries, and feedback is always the best way for a brand to go. Doing so shows consistency and dedication from your part, which can win you extra brownie points in the minds of your customers.
When responding, keep in mind to address the problem while giving them an actionable request such as, “Kindly send us a direct message with your contact details”.
You own a company, but you are also human. You must have at one point of time in life called the customer service to complain about some product. If you have, then you know how much of a hassle it can be. That is why people are gravitating towards social media to convey their unhappiness with a product to the brand.
As such, a smart step to take would be to provide customer care services online, preferably through one or all of your social profiles. Doing so makes you more accessible and friendly in the eyes of your customers. However, keep in mind to eventually shift the conversation to a less personal space like an email.
Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company -Tony Hsieh
Regularly Analyze the Results
Everything is data, including your social media profile. To make your social media profiles work for you, you need to regularly analyze the results you get from your social media marketing campaigns and activities. Doing so gives you data and numbers to work on to increase engagement.
Moreover, analyzing the engagement will give you an idea which aspect needs work and which can be stopped.
Social media is important for businesses, especially in the age of the internet. Therefore, any brand is it established or startup should keep in mind to create a presence. Doing so can help grow business by attracting new customers while letting you retain existing ones.
The tips given above should help you build your social media empire and create a wave among the netizens.
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