If you don’t think your customers are on social media, think again. Over 3 billion people are active on social media – that’s about 40% of the global population. Even more staggering? 74% of consumers use social media to guide purchasing decisions. Without a social media presence, your business is missing out on the opportunity to reach a huge audience of current and potential customers who are actively seeking out brands.
If you’re not engaging with your customers online, then chances are your competition is. 88% of companies rely on social media marketing – and that number is only growing. Skipping out on social media gives your competitors even more influence across one of the world’s most powerful advertising platforms. With a strong social media presence, however, you have the opportunity to show users why your business is the best choice.
The “social” aspect of social media sets it apart from other marketing channels. Instead of simply talking at your audience, you can engage them in a two-way conversation; customers can respond to your content, ask questions about products and services, and voice their thoughts and opinions. This is a unique opportunity to interact directly with your audience and to build strong relationships with current and potential customers.
Some brands worry that establishing social media accounts will invite criticism or critique. But the reality is that your business is being talked about online whether or not you have social media accounts. With a social media presence, you can listen and respond to your customers’ feedback and help diffuse any negative situations. In fact, one third of people prefer customer service interactions on social media compared to on the phone or through email.
It’s no wonder 2 million businesses use Facebook to advertise; social media platforms offer low-cost, highly-effective advertising options that allow you to reach a very specific audience. You can advertise using text, imagery and/or video, and you can control everything from your daily budget to the length of your campaign. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram also allow you to reach a highly targeted audience by specifying factors such as age, location, gender and interests. And as soon as your campaign is live, you can track its ROI in real-time by monitoring the reach, engagement and conversions of each individual ad.
Social media platforms provide detailed analytics that allow you to monitor the growth of your audience and the impact of your content. You can access a range of valuable insights, from how many people viewed and interacted with your posts to the demographics of the people following your accounts. This allows you to see the ROI of your efforts, to better understand your customers, and to continuously improve your content strategy.
Social media is quickly replacing traditional news outlets as a source of current updates, information and advice. By being present on social media, you can stay up-to-date with relevant content from your customers, your competitors and your industry. At the same time, you can build credibility by posting your own timely content around industry topics and trends.
Many customers consider a business “more human” when they have an active social media presence. That’s because social media platforms allow you to connect with your audience on a personal level. By sharing quality content and conversing with your followers, you can establish a clear brand personality and build customer loyalty.
You wouldn’t want to invest thousands of dollars in a print ad that doesn’t resonate with your audience. On social media, however, you can experiment with your content strategy without blowing your budget. For example, you can continuously tweak your imagery and messaging to discover the best way to engage your target audience. And before investing in more expensive forms of advertising, you can trial your ad creative with low-cost social media ads.
Imagine thousands of people sharing your company’s content – for free. That’s exactly what happens when a post goes “viral,” meaning social media users share the post with their followers and so on, resulting in rapid circulation and, often, media coverage. By posting interesting and timely content, you increase your chances of creating a viral post and generating extensive (and free!) advertising.