Why is Social Media Presence Important for Business
Whether you run a small local business or a big national company, your business needs a social media presence. These days, it’s crucial to the marketing of any business or organization.
A solid social media strategy can be very beneficial, from increasing brand awareness and building trust with consumers to engaging existing customers and reaching a wide audience.
How wide? Potentially billions. Around 4.8 billion people worldwide are glued to their social media platforms of choice for 2 hours and 24 minutes every day, according to global social media statistics compiled by Smart Insights.
Some of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Social media platforms are evolving all the time. While Facebook is currently the most popular, it’s not the fastest growing. That spot goes to TikTok, followed by Reddit, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These are all factors that social media managers must take into account when planning their marketing campaigns.
Social media is not easy to get right. It is very complicated to be sure which platform is right for your business, and there is a disconnect between what companies do and what consumers want. For instance, 51% of consumers consult YouTube to discover brands, but only 35% of marketers consider this channel in their marketing efforts.
Social media presents enormous challenges for businesses. These include identifying the right platform(s), pinpointing the target audience, and the risk of reputational damage. Nonetheless, the benefits of having a presence on social media can’t be ignored.
Benefits of social media for businesses
- Increased brand awareness
With over half of the world population using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter on a daily basis, it stands to reason that if your business is represented there, it will be exposed to a sizable proportion of those users, creating more awareness about your business and what it offers.
Don’t think for a moment that your brand will only be noticed by your existing followers. Far from it. A full 83 percent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform. In fact, consumers go to their social media platforms to look for products and services they need.
- Increase website traffic
Increased website traffic is the second-most frequently cited benefit of social media for business, just behind the increase of brand awareness. Almost 9 in 10 marketers (87%) say increasing website traffic is a benefit of social media marketing, according to Social Media Examiner.
Social media posts and ads containing excerpts from content on your website are great for driving traffic to your website. Done expertly, this tactic can incentivize social media users to visit your website to discover more.
One platform that serves this purpose very effectively is Pinterest. If you click on a sumptuous-looking cake, you are invariably taken to a website to get the recipe.
Shrewd companies post infographics on Pinterest that look great and tease the interest of viewers who then go to the website to learn more. Consider that Pinterest has almost 500 million monthly users who use the platform to discover trends.
Reddit is another underused social media platform that is perfect for some companies as long as they understand the Reddit culture, which abhors direct advertising.
Reddit is an influential platform with 420 million users. Marketers can find niche forums, called subreddits, where they can share top-quality content and cultivate relationships. If your content is useful and piques the interest of users, they may visit your site.
- Puts a human face on your brand
Social media platforms create the opportunity for brands to introduce their team to the world. This is a pivotal benefit of this technology, since people form relationships with other people, not with institutions.
Social media platforms allow companies to build meaningful relationships with customers and social media users. Video clips about someone using your product or service and how your employees embrace company values in interactions with customers make the company real for consumers.
According to Sprout Social research, 36% of consumers expect brands to build communities that consumers can belong to. In terms of creating a human face for your brand, Twitter is one of the best platforms where conversations flourish. What’s more, what happens on Twitter, often gets reported on regular news channels, which spreads the word about brands even further.
- Establish your brand as a thought leader
You want your business to be considered a thought leader in its niche because people turn to recognized thought leaders for advice when they need to make a purchasing decision. Establish your business as a thought leader by publishing high-quality, well-researched content on your website and chosen social media platforms.
LinkedIn is a good choice for this purpose. LinkedIn is focused on business, with many company leaders posting their thoughts on business trends, leadership, workforce challenges, market conditions, and so forth on the platform. Twitter, where many industry heavyweights tweet regularly, is the spot online to show off your business insights.
As people start noticing and sharing your content with their peers on these platforms, the chances of your content going viral (and your brand being exposed to millions) increase.
- Gain valuable customer insights
Social media generates an enormous volume of valuable customer data for companies, and fortunately, all the major social networks have analytics tools that extrapolate all manner of information about the people posting and responding to posts on social media platforms.
Analytics can help a company research trends and topics that interest its audience. Marketing professionals can use this information to tailor their social media messaging and provide content that will resonate with their audience.
Also, these insights can help brands come up with new products and services or improve existing ones.
- Provide timely customer support
Social platforms have put contact with companies directly in the hands of customers. They don’t have to phone a customer representative to get an answer to a problem; they can just post a complaint or question via their phone.
This is a great opportunity for brands to address customer concerns directly and on a public forum where other users can see how the company resolves issues. In fact, contemporary brands realize that social media platforms can be seen as customer care platforms. This is a logical conclusion, as these platforms make it easy for consumers to reach out to companies with questions and concerns.
Brands can leverage the conversation facilities of social media platforms to provide timely customer support. Some brands even launch dedicated customer service accounts on What’s App and Twitter to provide customer support.
- Generate leads
It’s easy for consumers coming across your brand on social media to comment on your posts and ask questions about your business and what it offers. Their responses on social media to your posts are lead generation at its best, as is any other information that someone on social media shares with your brand.
Sharing information, news, stories, arranging contests, and sharing links to your website are all opportunities to improve lead generation and increase sales.
- Engage in social selling
Interaction on social media platforms facilitates the development of trust, which can lead to a sale. Social selling prioritizes building relationships with potential customers with the intention of converting them into paying customers.
This approach differs from traditional advertising, which prioritized the sale of products over trusting relationships. However, this is not a technique that allows brands to bombard followers with advertisements to buy. After all, the purpose of the platforms is primarily socializing. People don’t want to see CTAs while they’re scrolling through their Instagram feed first thing in the morning.
Social selling is seen by many as the future of sales, with some expecting social media platforms evolving into eCommerce platforms. There are already signs of what this happing. For instance, 18.3% of American Facebook users made a purchase through Facebook in 2020, and according to research by LinkedIn, businesses that prioritize social selling are 51% more likely to reach their sales targets.
- Learn from your competitors
Following your competition on social media is a culturally-sanctioned form of industrial espionage. You can go to their accounts and check out their social media tactics, how they differentiate their brand, the secret to their top-performing products, and much, much more.
Reactions on their social accounts can show you what actions work and what to avoid.
Social media allows you to see what is and isn’t working for your competition and therefore helps you decide what should or shouldn’t change in terms of your company’s approach.
Since you are probably targeting the same customer demographic, reviewing the social interactions of your competitors will also give you insights into your own audience. Always make sure your efforts are aimed at your target market.
Based on what you deduce from their social media interactions, you can
- See how your level of engagement and number of followers compare
- Learn what doesn’t work and what works on social media
- Learn more about potential customer pain points
- Understand when the best time is to post content
- Learn about the best content to share
What all of this boils down to is finding out what you need to do to differentiate your brand.
- Leverage the reach of influencers
Influencer marketing is the digital version of spreading the word or word-of-mouth marketing. Influencer marketing works because influencers are adored and trusted by their followers, so what they say is regarded as the truth.
Influencer marketing is highly effective for creating brand awareness. In fact, marketers report that influencer content outperforms brand-created content. The reason for this is the fact that, when done right, content created by influencers come across as authentic and not as a sales pitch. Marketers can work with social media influencers to execute a variety of marketing activities, such as contests and referral programs, to create brand awareness.
Running contests and referral programs with influencers can lead to a huge increase in brand awareness and boost sales.
Technology has completely changed how businesses market themselves. Social media is integral to that change and can be hugely beneficial for businesses, provided marketers choose the right platforms and go about their task in an astute manner.