In recent months we have seen how social signals are becoming an important part of search engine optimization. There is no doubt that a well planned social media strategy makes or takes down a brand.
For example, Lady Gaga (personal branding) quickly became a smash hit, and social media played a major role in her rise to stardom. Regardless of whether your business is small or large, online or offline – social media provides a great opportunity and advantage for every business.
I have frequently written about social media in the past, but I’ve never really targeted my posts for small business owners who are looking to increase sales using the power of social media. So today I’ll be sharing some of the great benefits of using social media for your business, which will help you to decide whether or not social media channels might help to promote your business as it has so many others.
In the coming days, I will also be sharing more articles on how to create a presence on social media sites. For now, let’s have a look at some of the most beneficial aspects of social media for business.
“Social media” is a name given to web-based and mobile technologies that are used to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. This interactive dialogue can occur between organizations, communities and individuals. The Internet allows millions of people to connect with each other, and also allows business owners to promote their businesses to people all over the world by using web-based applications.
We currently live in a world in which traditional advertising strategies aren’t enough. Social media not only allows for tremendous outreach and networking, but also allows for interactivity that can be very beneficial to businesses for a variety of reasons.
Surely you have noticed the shift from traditional advertising that has occurred with the increased use of the Internet over time. Now, people consume more advertising online than in print media, radio or television. (Example: See the ads when you play YouTube videos?)
Social media offers many benefits to business owners, as it allows them to reach out to their customers and to gain the attention of more people/potential customers. A recent Social Media Marketing Industry report has shown that social media enables businesses to get exposure, traffic and gain market insights.
Some direct benefits of using social media for business:
One thing which I highly recommend to every business owner is to maintain a website in the form of a landing page and a blog associated with it.
For example, a doctor can have a landing page where people can find information about him or her, and a blog associated with it which will help him/her to drive people from search engines. A blog will also allow the doctor to get social media shares, and thus more exposure.
Social media has become a vast and wide open canvas, and taking full advantage of it requires careful strategic planning.
When you are using social media for business, you should make sure to keep your social media profile updated consistently, and maintain a constant presence for your business’s exposure. Remember, “out of sight, out of mind” is very true where social media sites are concerned.
If you have been keeping an eye on the news from the e-commerce world, you may know how big Snapdeal (India’s largest online shopping site) has become very quickly, all thanks to a great online strategy. Companies are spending thousands of dollars per month to monitor their social media presence, engage with people, plan reputation management, and so on.
If you are a business owner and you are still not using social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkledIn, etc. to promote and develop your business, you are missing out on a very significant opportunity, and you are bound to be left behind, in the dust of other businesses that have climbed aboard this fast-moving train long ago.
Most people who own a business have come to realize how important it is to have a website to expand their reach from the ground to the vast expanse of the Internet.
You can easily create a website for your business, and you can allow customers to leave comments about your services. By replying to the comments or concerns customers leave, you can form a bond with your customers, while increasing traffic to your site.
Social media enhances this entire experience, and makes it vastly more visible. The idea is not only to use social media for engagement, but also to drive users to your company’s business page, which will further educate users about your work and your services.
Interacting with your customers
Perhaps the most important thing social media can do for a business is to give business owners a way to engage customers in a whole new way. Social media allows you to get personal with your customers, and form a bond of trust with them. By replying to the concerns of your customers and asking for their opinions, you can enhance customer satisfaction while getting more traffic for your site, which further promotes your business.
You can share photos and videos via social media, keeping customers and potential customers updated as to your business’s current events and latest offerings. This helps in creating a strong bond with your customers, and in making them feel a connection with you and your business.
A good, strong social media strategy can require an investment, but as with any advertising campaign, the ROI (return on investment) is what needs to be considered. A good social media strategy will have a positive effect on sales as it increases the overall exposure of your business, gets people talking about your business or service, and exposes your products and/or services to a far wider audience. In the end, of course, the goal is to convert the user into a customer/ sales. When you interact with your customers and you form a bond of trust with them, this illustrates interest in your customers and their experience, and frequently translates to further sales.
- Read: Social recommendations vs. social ads
Anyone who has been involved in a business knows that a single negative comment can be more harmful than just about anything else. As has long been said, for every one dissatisfied vocal customer, you lose ten customers or potential customers. For this reason, any serious business with an online presence needs a reputation management team to monitor social media activity. This helps the business to track the level of satisfaction noted by customers via their comments, and also helps in solving user issues, thus enhancing the overall user experience.
For example, if you mention Airtel (Indian telecom) or any other popular brand in social media forums, you will get a nearly instant response or comment from someone associated with the company.
Maintaining the image of your business is very important. Clearly, negative comments and rumors of poor business practices can easily destroy the image of any business. By keeping up with a strong and consistent social media presence, you can help to maintain the good reputation and strong image of your business. Through social media, you can easily reply to potentially destructive comments instantaneously, and help maintain the image of excellent customer service that you want your business to have.
Because social media is such an efficient way of connecting with people, you can use social media to conduct marketing research. You can conduct surveys or polls and you can ask people to offer reviews about your products or services. You can also see what your competitors are doing, which can be helpful in planning your own business strategies, such as what kind of service or product you should be launching next.
Social media is very inexpensive when compared to other advertising and marketing tools available to individuals and businesses. The social media tools are free for everyone to use. By simply spending some time working on your social media presence for a few minutes a day, you can see great benefits of increased exposure and sales, and develop good relationships with your customers.
Traditional advertising and business promotion tools require the help of professionals. Using social media tools, on the other hand, is very easy and inexpensive.
The reach is global
Traditional promotional tools can also be used to reach a global audience, but at very significant expense. In contrast, using social media tools provides a very inexpensive means of reaching a global audience in a flash! If your content goes viral, then there is no telling how many people it will reach, and it’s pretty much free!
Social media is all about getting targeted people to join and interact with your business page or profile. It is important to follow common social media practices such as continuous sharing, breaking news, questions, humor, etc. to bring the consistent conversation to your page.
Save on advertising:
You may already be familiar with the benefits of banner advertising and its enhancement of brand awareness. The same is true with social media sites.
Every social media site allows you to add an avatar, which is technically your brand mascot, logo or anything which describes your company. When people constantly see updates on their timeline in Facebook or on Twitter, etc., about your business and your products and services, you are enhancing the brand awareness for your company.
You can consider lowering your advertising budget when you concentrate on social media marketing plans. Moreover, traditional ads are a one-time investment for a one-time gain, but with a social media presence, your subscribers/followers will give you long-term benefits.
Selecting the right social media platform for your growth is a very important part of the strategic plan of any business today. For example, Facebook fan pages are very effective for the creation of an engaging community. Here you can learn how to create a Facebook page for your business.
If you are a small business owner and have no budget for hiring a social media specialist or company, not to worry. You can use social media tools like Hootsuite and Buffer App which support various social media networks, and allow you to manage everything from one page.
Businesses large and small are turning to social media as an outreach to potential customers worldwide, to advertise their products and services, and to engage with customers. You can start using social media by creating a website for your business, and/or by using various social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, etc. beginning today!