Updated: Jan 16, 2022
The days when social media platforms were simply a vehicle for sharing cute photos of cats and keeping in touch with high school friends are long gone. Today, over 3.5 billion people worldwide have at least one social media account. And within that group, over 54% use social media to browse and research new products and services.
Social media marketing is a cost-effective, simple way to build a brand quickly.
Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity that their predecessors of even a decade ago didn’t have: a rapt audience of billions of people who come to the same place every day to consume information. Social media marketing is a cost-effective, simple way to build a brand quickly. Over 97% of the world’s businesses are using social media as part of their overall marketing strategy. Here are some of the top reasons why.
1. Brand recognition
It doesn’t matter the product or the service; today’s marketplace is crowded. New competitors emerge almost every day. So how do entrepreneurs fight through the noise to surface their brands to potential customers? By putting their brand directly in front of the right audience, again and again.
Social media is the ideal venue to ferret out prospective customers. Brand reach grows exponentially as content is posted and then shared by interested viewers. As that reach grows and branding is presented numerous times to the same audience, the messaging takes root in their subconscious, and they naturally call to mind that product or service when they have a need for it.
With nearly 2.5 billion active Facebook users alone, social media has become an effective accelerator for new brands to find their target audience and create stickiness with their messaging.
2. Marketing cost savings
Entrepreneurship often requires a certain level of bootstrapping. Cost per lead is carefully monitored, and only the most valuable tactics get consideration by the marketing team. Social media marketing often produces one of the highest returns on investment because of its broad reach and its relatively low cost per lead.
With organic social media marketing, businesses can post content and product information straight from their profile without incurring any ad costs. Of course, the drawback is that the content is limited mainly to the company’s current followers and their network (if they choose to share or repost the content).
Ad targeting is another way to promote content on social media. While it comes at a cost (set in the form of a simple ad budget), it can narrow the focus of the audience to specific demographics or geographies to increase the likelihood that the viewer will click on the ad and respond to its call to action.
3. Increased web traffic
Websites are a necessity in today’s uber-digital, always-connected world. Interested buyers conduct their own research online before even engaging with a salesperson or contacting a company. And e-commerce business owners know that a polished, intuitive website is the lifeblood for driving online sales.
The best website in the world, however, is useless without traffic. Social media marketing is an effective conduit to drive more traffic to business websites. According to a recent Hubspot survey, 80% of marketers report that social media posts have a direct impact on increasing web traffic. By linking to landing pages and home pages in social posts and pointing followers to blog pages and promotions, businesses keep readers engaged with their website and spending more time browsing through it.
4. Prospect tracking & lead generation
What better way to target potential customers than a networking platform that makes it possible for businesses to engage on a one-to-one level with users. For example, a company might track its competitors’ social pages, and when an unhappy customer reports an issue with a product or service, they could reach out directly and offer their solution. That same business might search for hashtags or posts related to their offering and create a targeted ad to reach a particular audience.
Social media influencers are another great outlet for creating leads and building brand recognition. In exchange for a discount or free product or service, influencers promote a brand to their network of followers. Those followers, in turn, may purchase the product or service based on the recommendation.
5. Communication with customers
It’s no secret that the public is generally liberal with its feedback on social media. From product reviews to angry Tweets, the internet is brimming with customer communications. Entrepreneurs can use social media as a way to engage with their customers (and test messaging and new products with prospects). Business owners shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the opinion of their audience, and they should be thick-skinned enough to receive it.
In addition to public posts, social media allows customers to send direct messages to brands and vice versa. If an issue arises and a customer posts about a product defect or service problem, the business can reach out directly to the customer with a solution in time to save the sale and retain that customer’s loyalty. In fact, 54% of consumers say that they prefer to receive support over social media than traditional methods like email or phone.
6. Higher sales
The goal of any business is to turn browsers into buyers and leads into conversions. Social media doesn’t just serve as an interactive catalog for products and services, but it also works in tandem with the other benefits in this list to convert leads. Brand recognition, higher web traffic, and proactive customer support are key drivers in increasing sales.
As brand awareness grows and a company’s reach expands, each post becomes more valuable because it reaches a larger percentage of the audience and drives even more web traffic.
7. Make social media marketing work
Entrepreneurs who are new to social media marketing may not know where to begin. With so many platforms to choose from, a lot of new businesses feel like they have to have a dominant presence in all of them at once to be successful. The key is in choosing one or two platforms that cater to the brand’s target demographic and mastering those before moving on to others.
The next step is to create a library of great content and post it frequently. Many new businesses make the mistake of posting with frequency at first, but gradually tapering off until their audience barely hears from them at all. Followers will quickly lose interest in brands that don’t deliver consistent, engaging content.
One super-easy way to increase engagement is to set up a recurring posts system, which is a massive time saver. You can set certain static posts, such as events, product posts or happy hours, to be automatically repeated so that you don't need to think about scheduling or posting them separately for months or even the rest of the year.
Finally, businesses must make sure that their website is prepared for the traffic that social sites will drive to it. The company blog should be prominent, current, and linked back to social platforms. Branding should be consistent between the website and social sites so that prospects recognize the brand right away in every single place they see it.
As consumers continue to turn to digital resources to research and choose products and services, social media will only gain momentum as a focused marketing strategy. For entrepreneurs, there has never been a better time to capitalize on social media’s global audience and far reach.
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