Just a few years ago, it was called the new kid on the block. Esoteric and dynamic, social media marketing was an essential but unpredictable marketing channel. Over the past few years, social media marketing has evolved into a powerful and crucial element of the digital marketing mix for marketers.
Social networks are informal popular places where one-on-one social interactions happen. By extension, these Social networks provide a powerful platform to reach the target audience right where they hang out and discuss issues that are important to them.
Social media marketing is – or should be – an essential part of your marketing strategy. It improves brand visibility, increases traffic and boosts the SEO of a website. Whether it is gaining more followers or increasing customer engagement, businesses around the world are discovering how social media contributes to success and growth.
Below are 10 reasons why social media marketing is important to the marketing mix of any business.
1. New local and global audience
The beauty of social media marketing is that it helps you reach your audience both locally and globally. It makes your business more accessible, familiar and recognizable for new and existing customers. It helps you identify what your target audience is looking for or talking about. For example, if you run a brewery and search for hashtags about local beer in Twitter, you can know what people in that area are excited about. You could then use this as an opportunity to engage and inform them of the beer you offer.
2. Opportunities to gain market share
Social networks provide additional avenues for potential customers to find you. With a website, your audience would need to know your domain name and want to visit it. With search engine marketing (both SEO and PPC), you can help people find you when they are searching for products or services you offer. With social media, you can now take your business truly to your audience. It provides yet another avenue for your target audience to find you thereby helping you grow brand visibility and market share.
With nearly half the internet users around the world active on social media (source: wearesocial.com study), businesses are seeing the impact of social media marketing on their business, brand visibility and customer reach every day.
Companies with a strong social media presence are rapidly gaining market share as every post made on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert.
With a strong follower base, businesses can interact with customers where they prefer to interact. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, every reaction could lead to a site visit and eventually a conversion. Though it is not that every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but positive interactions increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if click rates are low, the number of opportunities on social media is significant.
Social media is a place where brands can emulate people and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with faceless companies. Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in a brand. Therefore, building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.
3. Improve customer service
Social media functions best in real-time and gives you instant access to feedback from your customers. This insight is invaluable, as it can help across the spectrum, from new product growth to customer retention. These relationships become more valuable with more invested in it.
4. Increase brand awareness and brand loyalty
Usually, brands that engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Social media networks are new channels for a brand’s voice and content. It is important to use every opportunity to syndicate your content and increase your visibility. Companies should take advantage of the tools social media provides them when it comes to connecting with their audience, reinforcing their brand and rewarding them for their loyalty.
5. Improved SEO
SEO is one of the best ways to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are dynamic. It is no longer sufficient to regularly update your blog, use optimized title tags, meta descriptions and distribute links pointing back to the site. Google and other search engines can calculate their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor. Social amplification, engagement, sentiment, etc., are already a part of the ranking algorithms of most search engines. So, being active on social media could be like a signal to search engines that the brand is legitimate, credible and trustworthy.
6. Increased inbound traffic
Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The better the quality of content on social media, you are likely to generate more inbound traffic, leads and conversions.
7. Improves responsiveness and facilitates feedback
Social media eases the process of providing and receiving feedback. If your customers have concerns or problems with what your business offers, they can let you know in a timely manner. Social media gives customers a convenient and accessible way to express what they feel and gives companies a chance to respond. With such platforms, businesses can view complaints and assure their customers that their problems will be dealt with.
Social media is an easy and affordable option for small businesses because monetary investment is low. All a person needs is an internet connection and a computer and they can be involved and participate. Social media accounts can be managed in a cost-effective way to promote a business by using affordable marketing campaigns that strengthen your company’s online visibility. Social media does not require an extensive budget which makes it easier for small businesses that are competing with well-known brands.
9. Rich customer experience
Social media is essentially a communication channel like emails or phone calls. Every customer interaction on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate customer service and build customer relationships. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly and take action to make it right. On the other hand, if a customer has a compliment, you can not only thank them publicly but recommend additional products to them. You can also leverage that goodwill and showcase to other potential customers.
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Based on the several advantages and popularity of social media, marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to allocate time and resources to social media marketing. It is imperative in today’s world for businesses to have a strong online or virtual presence. Success in this type of marketing involves being strategic and innovative. Social media marketing, when done right, can lead to more customers, traffic and conversions but the longer you wait, faster your competition grows.
CEO, Flying Cow Design
Attended University of Auckland
Lives in San Francisco Bay Area