Benefits of Social Media for Business Not to be Missed!
Social Media is great fun. It’s great for keeping in touch with friends, letting everyone know what you’re up to and for swapping pictures. What people have also realised is that it’s also great for business. The difference is that traditionally business and pleasure don’t mix, so businesses can’t use social media in the same way as your average person. To really get the benefits of social media for business there are some ideas to understand.
1. It’s Word of mouth marketing for the 21st Century!
Think about any purchase you’ve made recently, whether it is a book, a washing machine or a car. The chances are that you did some research online, and if you did your eyes were probably drawn to the customer reviews rather than just the standard online description. Everyone loves a recommendation and social proof such as reviews, feedback and comments are one of the most powerful features online at the moment.
Take advantage of this by setting up a Facebook page, like ours for Big Thinking Online, for your business and encourage people to like and comment on your brand. The social presence helps to reassure customers and potential customers that your business is reputable and can be trusted. What better way to interact with new potential clients than via people who have already experienced what your brand has to offer?
When your social media presence starts to generate conversation and reaction such as likes, shares, tweets, pins then this social recommendation is visible to more and more people, acting as a great gateway for greater numbers of people to get to know more about your brand.
Conversations act like a magnet: when someone starts saying something interesting people naturally pay attention which can have a knock on effect with more and more people jumping into the conversation.
If your brand can really embrace the nature of social media through providing great contact and engaging and interacting with your audience in a manner that leads to building a great community that people want to be involved with then your brand will get a great boost.
2. Your target audience is already using Social Media
Over the last few years Social Media has exploded onto the scene and changed the way people use the internet. In 2005 or 2006 you’d probably never heard of a “Like”, you’d certainly never have heard of a Tweet and if someone said you had Klout they wouldn’t be talking about a score out of 100!
According to this nice infographic by Statista, Americans spend 100,000 hours per month on Facebook, with the average user spending over 6 hours per month on the site. Add into that the time spent on Twitter, Pinterest, and possibly others it adds up to at least one working day each month just on Social Media.
If your customers are spending time on Social Media, then why drag them away? Catch their interest there!
3. Search Engines base results on it.
The whole concept of the internet is a web. If you think of a web there are many, many layers or paths to a single point. The more paths or links to this single point, the more authoritative the point becomes.
When many different people on social media sites refer to your content, your website and your articles, it means that those individual people find your content useful, entertaining, informative or all of the above. When this happens the search engines pay attention and in return use this as a factor to increase your site in the search rankings.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ have high Page Rank. This means that in terms of the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, Social Media sites already get a high amount of traffic meaning they carry authority and therefore get good rank in search results. Having a well optimised social media profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or whichever social media site you choose can help you command high search result places for your brand name or search terms related to your business.
There are many companies that provide professional seo services that will do this for you however there is also a host of information available to businesses that want to embrace the challenge themselves on sites such as Youtube.
4. Your competition is already using Social Media
Whether you’ve already realised it or not your industry or niche will be represented on Social Media. If you don’t believe me then go to Google and do a search for “Your niche” +”Facebook” and see what comes up. In 2011, emarketer estimated that Facebook’s revenue from advertising was $3.8 billion and that could grow to over $5.2 billion in 2012. Companies are paying a lot of money to advertise and grow their brands on social media because as I already mentioned, that’s where their customers are!
Use the “social” nature of social media to your advantage here: there will always be key people of influence in your niche so find out who they are, look them up and spend some time getting to know them. Watch and learn how they engage their audience and try engaging with them yourself too. If you manage to develop a relationship with these key people of influence it impacts on your own sphere of influence, as people will see you mixing with respected and knowledgeable members of your industry and this can help increase your credibility too.
5. You can use it for Customer Service
Another of the great benefits of social media for business is that it can provide a great platform for customers to leave feedback, discuss products and services and ask questions in an environment that is maybe less formal than a traditional website. Social media is an open book and many successful businesses that leverage social media marketing use this as an advantage to show how switched on they are by replying and finding a resolution and closing that loop. This shows to the watching community that your business has integrity and values interaction, criticism and debate and more importantly knows how to deal with it.
The users of your brand are the best people to learn from when it comes to making things better. By invoking questions about the usability of your experience you will get an understanding as to what clients are looking for. You will also be able to gauge how to improve things in the future.
Many businesses face the same questions time and time again when it comes to customer service. Use your social media outlets to answer those questions. By doing it this way you can highlight to your community that you are available but also get other people within the community to provide answers and support to new members who have perhaps experienced the same issues themselves.
Businesses need to learn to embrace the benefits of social media for business and understand that it’s one of the most valuable tools in today’s world. Mastering social media and the possibilities it brings could be the difference between remaining one step ahead of your customers or losing credibility in an increasingly social world.