Facebook

Facebook has over 890 million daily active users and in Q4 2014 a revenue of $3,851 million. So obviously it is even greater now.  No time to waste. Today these numbers are making Facebook the third largest population (behind China and India). Facebook is clearly biggest social media community out there, but many other exist and catered for specific type of users, being Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or snapchat, to name just a few.

Yet many businesses are still unaware of the advantages of connecting with their customers on social, and some still fear it due to their lack of understanding. In fact, 93 per cent of buying decisions are based on social media. Ignoring social channels can be detrimental to businesses, and those who do will find it to be a costly mistake, especially when you consider that 72 per cent of consumers are more likely to stay engaged with brands because of social media.

Digital natives

Traditional marketing methods have been found to be inauthentic: 92 per cent of consumers trust
 third party endorsements and family and friends more than they trust brand marketing. Therefore, in order to ensure a profitable future, brands need to connect and engage with the digital generation. Customers have become social-savvy reviewers: they all have an online following and audience, therefore engaging with them on social platforms and providing them with interesting relevant content is a priority.

Brand ambassadors

In order to increase brand awareness, businesses need to transform digital native customers into brand advocates and this can only be done if the relationship has been nurtured. The key for brands is to encourage consumers to endorse the brand and play a real part within the business. Once a brand has built a strong following they must then feed their appreciation back to their audience. Reward the most loyal and socially influential followers; make them feel part of the brand rather than just another customer. Gamification is key in that process and can take different forms, depending of the brands and its community.

Social reputation

Social channels facilitate transparent communication between the brand and their customers, in turn enabling them to be viewed as a trusted source. For example, since Sky extended its help forums to Facebook and Twitter, customers report 90-100 per cent satisfaction. This proves that social media as a tool for customer service is beneficial for customer relationships. Investing time in customers demonstrates the value they have and in turn increases the chances of a re-visit and peer-to-peer recommendations. Other brands use social as a way of cross-promoting products via their own community, by letting consumers recommend products to other customers.

As technology is continuously evolving, the key challenge for brands is not to keep up with consumers, but to stay ahead of the game. Customers now demand more from the brands than ever before, and they have never played such an important role to a brand’s reputation. Without social visibility, brands will find it extremely difficult to interact with underground influencers who are shaping the future.

Why Social Media

In order for a business to grow quickly, you need to be able to reach a wide target audience as soon as possible. Without an active social media presence, your business is doomed to fail. Research shows nearly 2 in 3 adults use social media. By not tapping into the potential of social media, marketing yourself to potential leads and customers becomes a lot more cumbersome.

Here are 6 ways in which social media marketing can benefit a business.

Social Media Gives You a Wider Reach

With social media, it’s easy to market your services to a large population. And not only does social media allow you to reach out to more people; it even lets you determine the kind of audience to whom you wish to market yourself.

Using Social Media for Business Boosts Your Site’s SEO

Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Social Media Marketing Is Easily Sharable Marketing

A user can easily share any marketing activity or advertisement that’s posted up on a social media website.

This means that once you’ve shared a post, people will eventually ensure that it gets to your target market; the people who will actually benefit from your business.

A Strong Social Media Presence Builds Brand Loyalty

A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are, a unified group of people who share a vision.

Social Media Gives You the Ability to Quickly Respond to Customers

Once you’ve shared any content on social media, it’s easy to keep track of customer responses and feedback given by social media users.

Besides making the necessary changes as soon as possible, you can even respond to your customer’s queries and messages. This will help you engage with the audience better so they keep coming back for more.

Customers You Didn’t Know Existed Will Find (and buy from) you

In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site.

These are just a few ways in which companies can use social media. Without a strong social media presence, it’s impossible to survive in today’s market.

Contributing Author: Steve Hamm
Read more at Business2Community

Social Media – it’s free. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency (like us), it will cost around $3,000-$7,000 per month, but it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital PR presence.

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