Social media, since its conceptualisation, has skyrocketed to be as important to some people as breathing, with a staggering average of 13 minutes an hour being spent checking it in the UK. As a business, if you’re not taking advantage of some form of social media, then you’re missing out a key element of your online marketing strategy. Not convinced? Here are a few more statistics to mull over:
- There are 1.4 Billion users on Facebook, 500 Million+ on Twitter, 500 Million+ on Google +, 238 Million+ on LinkedIn and 130 Million+ users on Instagram. Not only this, YouTube receives 1 Billion unique monthly visitors.
- 4.2 billion People access social media via a mobile device.
- The leads that social media generates is almost double that of leads generated by trade shows, mail, ppc, and telemarketing.
- 46% of web users say social media is key to making purchase decisions.
- 80% of customers prefer to connect with brands via Facebook.
- 70% of marketers have successfully gained new customers from the use of Facebook
These stats might be nice to look at, but I’m sure you want the reasoning as to why so many businesses and marketers are utilising social media. Well here are 9 for your deliberation:
Social media is a great way to keep your brand in the mind and focus of your customers, done correctly, with engaging content, social media can be utilised to engage your customers on a regular basis. Often getting people talking and creating a buzz about your brand.
There is a great deal of trust involved when purchasing a product or service, thus peers are incredibly important when making a purchasing decision, word-of-mouth carries with it a high degree of credibility. Social media offers word-of-mouth on a plate for businesses, as users are constantly interacting with brands, whether this be liking or following pages, commenting on content, sharing content etc. The role social media plays within our lives has extended who we trust from family, friends and colleagues to a whole host of people (most of which we don’t know) through social media. This extension has expanded our trust network and therefore facilitates word-of-mouth activities about brands, products and services.
3. Brand awareness and loyalty
With the reach social media offers, it is a great away to make people aware about your brand, differentiate your brand and develop brand loyal customers. If your brand offers engaging content that can be easily liked, commented, shared and re-tweeted then it will make other consumers more aware of your brand and differentiate it from other companies. If a brand offers content which is creative and exciting they will be rewarded with deeper connections with their consumers and help build affinity and brand loyalty.
Social media gives the consumer an easy way to communicate with a brand, and the brand to communicate back. This two-way communication process helps reinforce trust with a brand, if a consumer feels that they can easily get in touch with the company and the company is quick and helpful with their response, then this will help reinforce the consumers purchasing decision. Not only this, but everyone can see the comments people leave and see the comments the company leave back, good or bad. This is a rather visual display of customer service and acts as kind of a PR exercise, if there is a problem and consumers see that the company responded in an effective way it will increase and maintain customer’s faith and loyalty with the brand.
5. Drive traffic to your website
Actively using social media as a brand will help drive traffic to your website. If consumers see that you frequently use social media they are more likely to visit your website. Social media is also beginning to have more importance with SEO practices. The more people talk about your brand on social media, the more Google recognises that your brand is getting talked about and has content worth sharing, the more Google will be likely to regard your website in an authoritative way, and therefore will likely help your ranking efforts.
6. Cost effective
Social media gained great favour with companies during the recession, as a way of significantly reducing marketing costs. Firms have looked at more cost effective, innovative, and creative ways of marketing their brand, product or service. Social media offers all of this, a cost effective avenue in which a brand can release creative and innovative content that can reach a lot of consumers. This has gained great favour with a lot of SMEs, who have relatively small marketing budgets, and can utilise social media for very little cost.
All smart phones now have social media capability, with apps making it so easy to connect to social media, consumers are now one touch away from receiving content where ever they may be, whatever they might be doing.
8. Target consumers
A very handy tool social media employs in a B2C environment is that you can target very specifically who you want to engage with your content. Thus content can be viewed by your target audience and is therefore not wasted on an audience that will not pay attention to it.
9. Market research
An essential advantage to take into account with social media, is the insight it gives you as to what your consumers want. Even if you don’t directly ask them, they will no doubt tell you what they want from your brand. It’s a very quick and easy way to get feedback from consumers, helping you improve your marketing strategy, products and/or service. Not only this but a lot of social media platforms have built in analytics, which are very easy to use even if you’re not data savvy, it offers a very user friendly way of working out what content is working for your brand and what’s not working.