Why does my business need social media?

Written on 26 April, 2016 by Lisa Shannahan
Categories: Social Media | Tags: advertising, facebook, online business, online marketing, social media, twitter

Not all that long ago, social media was basically just a timewaster. While for some consumers it still is, it has become something much more lucrative for businesses. Precisely because of the sheer amount of time people spend on social media every day, it has become a highly valuable tool for keeping your brand at the front of people’s minds, building and nurturing your relationships with your customers, and extending your advertising reach to very specific target audiences.

The average consumer spends 1.72 hours on social platforms every day. That’s 28% of all online activity. If you aren’t on social, you are only utilising 70% of your available reach at best – and that’s assuming you’re doing a perfect job everywhere else.

You simply can’t afford not to be there, especially if your target markets include any of the younger generations.

Keeping your brand front-of-mind

Consumers can be forgetful. Even if they weren’t, there are so many brands out there these days that remembering all of them is impossible. You need to be constantly in the face of the consumers you want to target – not necessarily selling, but keeping your brand, products, and service offering out there, and reinforcing your audience’s affection and trust for you.

There is no better place for this than social media. On social, you are featured in a spot they are already active in, and often. Consumers are increasingly suffering from selective blindness when it comes to noticing advertisements, but you have the advantage of being able to share organic content and helpful posts through social media that aren’t automatically filtered out the same way.

Social media works differently to a website in this regard. Unless you have a very well-established website, potential customers are likely to need gentle reminders to visit often, even if you are frequently generating new content. Even your previous or on-going customers, depending on what you sell, may not visit often unprompted, unless you have a service centre or other program that requires regular use. You can use your social media accounts to let your followers know when you have posted something new on your blog, updated a price list or menu, or changed anything else of note.

Building and nurturing customer relationships

Your social media presence does a great deal towards humanising your brand. By sharing relevant content from third parties, posting generally, and responding to comments, you establish a personality for your brand which contributes to trust and consumer affection. Customers relate to and tend to feel more loyalty towards more human-like entities than cold corporate ones because they feel as though they are more than just a number to you.

Having a regularly updated social media presence associated with your brand also helps to convince customers that you are genuine. When they can see that you are posting regularly, they know you are still active and doing business, and the number of followers you have gives weight to your legitimacy.

If they can also see that you are responding promptly and professionally to customer queries and complaints, it makes them feel confident that they are also likely to receive a prompt and professional response if they ever have a problem themselves.

Social media also works for customer relationships the other way around – it allows you to listen closely to what your customers are saying to you, about you, and about topics that relate to who you are or what you sell. Depending on your business goals, you can listen to people in your local area, or anyone globally discussing a related topic.

It can pay to be proactive and reach out to customers who have had a negative experience with your company. Not only will it help to potentially improve their perception of you, it may instil confidence in anyone else who sees the exchange at a later date.

Advertising to specific target audiences

The various social media platforms offer several effective and highly targeted advertising options. Facebook mobile ads, for example, have 9.1 times higher click-through rates than other web ads.

Part of the reason for this is how targeted they can be to the user – what exactly is available is dependent on the platform you’re using, but generally you can target based on demographic, interests, location, behaviours, or really anything else you can think of that might be determined from social media activity. You could even test ads targeted to each of these and then go with the one that performs the most successfully. The options are almost endless.

You have a lot of options for the goals you set for your advertising as well. While your social media ads are highly targeted, you are presenting them to a passive audience who may not be actively looking to buy at the time, which means that you will often see a lower conversion rate than you get from your search marketing, for example. You can mix up your advertising by including ads targeting clicks through to your page, sign-ups to your newsletters, or building your followers.

Social: a key element of your online marketing strategy

An effective online marketing strategy doesn’t focus on just one advertising form or medium. Each element – including your website, search marketing, social, and email marketing – builds on and compliments the others. For example, investing $10,000 a month on your search marketing, driving customers to your website, while not investing anything in managing your social profiles on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, could negatively affect your overall conversion rate, as customers may be less likely to recognise and trust your brand.

If you don’t have the time to manage your social media presence yourself, consider enlisting the help of a managed social media service like WebCentral’s. Their social media experts will set up and optimise your profiles, manage your online reputation, and respond to customers in your brand’s tone of voice. They can also help you set up and run Facebook advertising campaigns. To find out more request a free, no-obligation consultation today.