10 benefits of social media
Gone are the days of marketing your business and services just a few times a year with carefully considered leaflet drops, yellow page entries and the odd radio advert, if you were really creative.
Marketing is now where the people are. Which is on our phones, computers and tablets: anything with a screen we've all become zombies to.
This change has meant we're now having to CONSTANTLY think about marketing, the conversations we're having about our business online and how we're selling it. It's a 24/7 opportunity to promote your business. Which is great, but can seem laborious and time consuming, especially if it doesn't come naturally to you.
Our big tip is to treat it like looking after a plant. Tending it to it little and often. Too much and you can 'over-water' it, and you'll likely lose sight of other digital streams you should also be exploring. Too little and it can seem unmanageable, out of control and difficult to recover from ending in the bin.
For a some motivation to get you out of the rut, here's 10 big benefits of WHY you need to be maintaining your social media efforts:
1) Lead generation and increasing sales
The main one, everyone knows about. Keeping your brand present in an online arena with all eyes watching will increase your audience size and those who know about your business. This will increase enquiries and in turn increase your sales. It's a medium of marketing where we can not only see INSTANT results and reactions to our efforts, but where we can TRACK those results. The ability to see super quickly what your audience respond to best (and worst) and then use those finding to strengthen future efforts, is invaluable
2) Specifically target the audience you want
There's groups and communities online for EVERYTHING. You've just got to find them. Facebook groups themselves are a great way to find pockets of ideal clients looking for the service you're offering or in your locality. Instagram has the ability to look for people in specific locations too - which is great if you're a small indy business looking for nearby customers.
Hashtags are wizards, magically putting you in-front of communities of people looking for and speaking about THAT EXACT THING. Get clever with them and you land yourself right into the hands of your ideal audience.
If you're looking to invest in a little extra advertising, the targeting abilities on Facebook for running adverts is incredible. It can take a little experimenting, and a few online tutorials before you get it right, but it's SO worth it when you hit that sweet spot.
When has marketing EVER been this specific before!?
3) Engaging with current customers (and potential ones!)
Social media has opened a two way conversation between brands and their audience that has never existed before. It's not just a means to gain feedback, but to really connect and listen to them. If you made a new friend in the real world, it'd be rude to just talk at them. Same applied to digital marketing too - it is called SOCIAL media after all!
4) Showing personality & brand voice
Making yourself known on social media hugely helps distinguish you from your competitors, by allowing you to reveal your brand's personality, voice and values. Consumers convert and buy from brands they can relate to. It really does make the difference between you and your competitor; especially in a time where more people than ever scope a brand out on social media first before going to their website or making a sale.
5) Getting your niche on
If you're clever about investigating where the differences lie between you and your competition, you can hone out a niche for yourself. Establishing this as the driving reasons for why consumers buy from you really stands you apart and kinda means you don't have any competition at all - what a revelation is that!? Find that niche, hold onto it and be vocal about it. Where there's so much online noise, it's really important to find your voice and find something to shout about that makes you special.
6) Competition & industry leaders
Even if you've pitched yourself in a position without any direct competition, there will always be industry leaders and household names that consumers will gravitate towards. The tools available to us on social media allow us to keep a closer eye on what they're up to more than ever before. It can mean you can stay ahead of the curve with trends and ideas. Things are so fast paced, but using social media to your advantage means you won't get left behind.
7) Customer service
With most people having their face in their phone the majority of the day, it's no surprise people are using social media as a means to ask questions, make enquiries and bookings. It's become a vital role in delivering customer service standards - just as well as you would if they made a phone or email enquiry. Fast response times and personal replies can go a long way in establishing your service standards over others.
8) Reputation management
Whether you like it or not, your brand is being talked about somewhere online. It might be positive, it might be negative. How bad would it be if you weren't there to hear what was being said? If you're super savvy, social media listening tools help to ensure you're eavesdropping doesn't miss a thing. You can be primed and ready to get involved in conversations and really go the extra mile with service. Imagine if you could turn a complaint into a happy customer!
9) Website Traffic Driver
Any business with a website is part of the Google machine. We're in a constant battle to keep it happy with SEO, blogging, and all the other tactical plates we're trying to keep spinning. One way to please Google and prove to it your website is something worth seeing is by driving a load of relevant traffic to it. It has to be traffic that stays around long enough to know it's genuine and not just bounce straight off. Using your social profiles to drive sales and drive traffic to yourself keeps the big old Google machine smiling and helps boost your rankings. Never before has one form of marketing helped another, until the digital age. Take advantage of it!
You don't get flyer drops feeding you with information about who picked it up, who acted on it, how long they stayed looking at it for and how many threw it straight in the bin. Each social media platform gives you a wealth of data about your profile and your customers; and if you want to get deeper there are so many analytics tools our there helping you learn even more. This is hugely valuable. No bad can ever come from learning more about your customers, how their minds work and how they respond to your business. It strengthens each and every decision you make to do with your social media and across your entire business. Basically, it's unicorn gold dust. Use it well, and use it wisely!