Social Media – So What?
With big brands like Weatherspoon’s and Lush taking the decision to no longer have any official social media feeds, others might be considering following suit. While they have their reasons for taking this action and will have given it careful consideration, it feels rather drastic given the many, many good reasons for companies having a social presence. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Social media is at the heart of the consumer-brand relationship. Consumers find direct communication with brands to be more believable, are open to a range of interactions with brands, and feel that they can form stronger emotional bonds with brands on social platforms”.
So with that in mind, can brands really afford to not have a social media presence? Here are just a few of the business benefits which support the argument for making sure a company invests in social media marketing…
1. The way people consume media has changed radically since the arrival of social media. The channels a brand uses to share its content should be based on where its audience spends time. Connecting directly with a target audience is much easier when a brand is active in the channels that they use most often. If a brand doesn’t have a presence on social media, it could be missing out on an important chance to connect with customers and engage new prospects. Social media is also undeniably a significant customer service channel for those who can’t or won’t use the telephone.
2. Users have ‘opted in’. Consumers are more receptive to brand messages via social media. Social media allows brands to be more conversational and show a different, more human side. The content brands publish on these channels contributes to the brand’s personality and helps demonstrate its voice. It’s on social media that brands can make authentic connections with prospects and customers, rather than just delivering direct marketing messages.
3. Social media marketing gives access new customer insights. Customers are online and having conversations about brands whether the brand is present to engage or not. By interacting with prospects and customers on social media, brands can gauge what their customers’ interests are and what drives them. By analysing the conversations taking place on social media, a brand can gain a better understanding of what they care about most. Social listening is also a useful tool in the armoury for seeing what customers are saying about a brand, and use the findings to make changes to improve customer satisfaction.
4. Social media helps connect a brand with customers it doesn’t know…yet. Most brands rely on SEO and PPC to find and engage new prospects. By following certain keywords and checking trending topics, you can see who is taking part in conversations relevant to a brand. This can provide a business with a wealth of new prospect opportunities as well as head off any potentially disgruntled customer incidents or the sharing of incorrect information.
5. Increased brand recognition. Posting compelling content that adds value for the target audience makes a brand both more accessible and familiar. Through social media content, consumers are able to learn more about a brand and the value that it provides.
6. Social media marketing may help improve search engine rankings. Successful brands tend to have a healthy social media presence; therefore this presence may act as a signal to search engines that a brand is valuable, credible, and trustworthy. Though the ranking factors are always changing, it’s safe to assume that active, highly engaged-with social channels will help. It’s also important to note that social media profiles will likely show on the first page of Google when consumers are looking for a brand.
7. Marketing through social media increases inbound traffic. Social media provides another way to increase inbound web traffic and complements SEO efforts. Each piece of content posted to a brand’s social media profile is an opportunity to drive new visitors to its website. It’s important that the content published is engaging and adds value for the target audience. Quality over quantity is important, but the more quality content posted on social media channels, the more opportunities to engage new prospects and direct them to the website.
8. Different social media channels help you reach specific audiences. Brands can strategically target different audiences based on the channels that they are active on. The key to getting the most out of any social media engagement as a brand is to strategically choose which channels you plan to invest your time, money, and effort in.
9. Social media marketing helps improve brand loyalty. Social media is an effective way to build relationships with prospects and customers that lead to greater satisfaction and loyalty over time. A study from Texas Tech University shows that brands which engage with their current customers and target audience on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. By engaging with an audience through valuable, compelling content and conversation, brands can work to turn happy customers into brand advocates.
10. Consumers are looking for recommendations on social media. Word-of-mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing tools. It goes a long way in helping build trust with new prospects. In many ways, social media has become the new outlet for word-of-mouth marketing. Now more than ever, brands are encouraging their customers to leave reviews on their social channels, recommend their brand to friends and family on social, or provide testimonials. Consumers are more likely to buy from brands that have been recommended by peers.