Before I start, you would be forgiven for thinking, “Well of course you’re going to tell me I need social media Amy, it’s what you do!” so I want to clarify something. Social Media works best as part of a complete marketing strategy, it does work in isolation and can help your business massively in the early stages but it will always work best as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. For the rest of this article let’s assume that you have just such a marketing plan – don’t worry, or those that don’t there will still be great tips here and I’ll be doing another article on how to use social media in isolation another time.
If you already have email marketing, a blog with great relevant content and maybe even some printed marketing to boot, you’re in a strong position to begin social media marketing because it all ties together and helps cross-polinate each other.
Social Media marketing usually reaches people in two ways, either they engage with your product or service or they come seeking something specific. How is this relevant to your business? Because more than likely people are already looking for what you have, but because you’re not active in social media your competitors are getting in there first and you need to be there.
The biggest benefit of all – it’s a conversation!
Your clients, your prospect clients and customers are using social media. It’s where people hang out these days. Marketing and advertising has shifted, we don’t speak TO our markets any more, we talk WITH them and this is the biggest benefit to and difference between social media and more traditional marketing methods. We have shifted from monologue marketing to dialogue marketing. This is so big, I’m going to break it down –
Benefit 1 – The LIVE Audience
You have a LIVE audience at all times to use as a focus group for product testing, colour changes, service tweaks. This also touches on the live video option with Facebook but more on that another time.
Benefit 2 – Better Customer Service
You can assist customers in real time! Social media requires a customer service aspect and the biggest plus is that your customers and clients can reach you quickly and you can help them just as quickly. Those long running PR disasters should be a thing of the past with the speed we can respond to people on social media.
Benefit 3 – Test and Test again
Due to the instant access to your audience you can test campaigns and images with them (through the advertising platforms) enabling you to refine your marketing across the board.
Benefit 4 – Trendspotting
listening will pay dividends on social media as you can pick up on customer requests for a new product line or if there’s a tendency for a particular product to arrive damaged you can talk to the inhouse team about packaging.
Let’s change tack slightly now and look at the other benefits of social media for your business.
Benefit 5 – Competition awareness
Thanks to social media you can watch your competitors too! Most companies can learn a lot from each other and if you use the Facebook “pages to watch” section, your competition don’t even need to know you’re watching.
Benefit 6 – Increased brand recognition
People expect you to be present on social media, so being there adds to your brand. It’s a short hand way of lending authority and recognition to the brand because it allows you to share your content and voice wider and further.
Benefit 7 – Increased brand authority
This one ties in with the recognition benefit above but working on authority to position you and your business as the experts will allow people to willingly recommend your services. As an example I’ve been connected to a local running shop for some time and although I’ve yet to use their services I’ve recommended them to other runners because I already trust them.
Benefit 8 – Better SEO rankings
When the search engines take notice of something you know it’s got to be worth your attention. Active, engaged social media profiles do help your SEO rankings because search engines like people/companies who are engaged with their audience. It used to be enough to update your blog and work on your titles etc, now a strong social media presence will add weight to your SEO rankings. (You can read more on this here)
Benefit 9 – Better Data
I may be a lover of social media but I am also a bit of a numbers geek. The insights and data you can pull from social media platforms can be extremely helpful in helping your other marketing and business decisions. Did you know that Twitter will tell you what TV genres your audience watch most? Or that Facebook will tell you when your followers are online most? So you can time those tweets and updates about the latest TV drama to engage your audience and remind them of your presence – because social media doesn’t have to be 100% serious business (and shouldn’t be!) – For a more indepth look at why the data matters, have a gander over here.
Benefit 10 – Show your brand personality! –
Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and show that you and your brand have a sense of humour! Be frivolous every now and then and show your customers that you’re a human brand, not just a robot. People respond to people.
If you’re not in social media for your business, I hope the above benefits have helped you see why you should be. The best way to get started is by listening to what others are already saying. See you in there!