A new survey from Social Media Examiner reports 89% of small and medium-sized businesses report increased exposure and 75% report increased traffic as the top two greatest benefits of social media. But most businesses are still new to using social media with only 55% using social media to grow their business for two years or less.
With that said, two years is barely enough time to learn the ins-and-outs of being successful with social media marketing and understanding all the possibilities.
If you are new to social media, or still just testing the waters, you should consider the numerous advantages of social media marketing for your business.
1. Increased Business Exposure
Facebook and Twitter alone reportedly serve 1.5 billion users globally. Social media allows your business to extend well beyond the immediate geographic area. With social media you can cross county, state, and even national lines. Social media is therefore a very convenient and also cost-efficient way for augmenting brand visibility – which is great news for global manufacturers. But what about local dealers? Social media allows any business the benefit of increased exposure. Whether a global, national or local business.
2. Insight About Your Customers
This is one of the biggest advantages of using social media. Social media provides limitless opportunities for you to interact with current and potential customers. You have the ability to engage customers in real-time conversations about your mission, products, events, and services. And since most social media users are there to, you guessed it, socialize, they are more than willing to talk to you. Here’s a quick experiment you can try that will really open your eyes. Go to Facebook and use Graph Search to search for: Favorite interests of people who like “Your Page Name”. You’ll find a treasure trove of information about your community!
3. Reduced Marketing Expenses
One of the greatest things about participating in social media is that your budget and results are not linear. For example, if you spend $1 on targeted Facebook ads, you could generate 1 result, but if you spend $2 on targeted Facebook ads, you could generate 3 results. That’s because of earned media (which is a whole other topic). Overall, social media is an extremely cost-efficient marketing choice when compared with other budget-draining advertising techniques. And as you’re starting to learn, provides many more opportunities to grow your business than just through marketing.
4. Lead generation
When thinking about using the internet for lead generation, you probably think of it like this: I add my inventory to my website, and I also add my inventory to a boats for sale site. Then, I wait for leads to come in. Well, you know you can take a proactive approach to lead generation with social media, right? The targeting Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn’s paid advertising platforms provides to reach buyers is incredible. You can search out and find people who bought boats from your competition using a combination of Facebook’s Graph Search and targeted paid Facebook ads.
5. Extremely Targeted
Traditional marketing strategies are usually very general. They work on the assumption that if you cast a big enough net, you will land at least a few fish. While there is some logic to this, it is also not very cost effective. You end up spending lots of money on broad, sweeping advertising campaigns that only manage to reach a handful of your targeted audience. One of the great things about social media is that you are able to focus the bulk of your efforts on those who actually have an interest in your company. This means you can gain more customers per marketing dollar. Are you starting to see a theme with using social media for business? Its extremely cost-effective and targeted.
6. Competitive Advantage
Everything that happens on social media platforms happens in real time. That means social media participation gives businesses the opportunity to engage in advertising that is timely and relevant which gives you a distinct competitive edge. And since everything is also happening in a public forum, you can monitor exactly what your competitors are doing. You can also see exactly what’s working for your competitors (and what’s not). If you’re smart enough, you’ll pay close attention and jump in to grab new business when the timings right. But be careful, this means your competitors can also monitor you – so make sure you keep your proprietary secrets off of social media (and make sure you have a social media company policy so your employees also understand what to share and what not to share).
7. Analytics and Reporting
Google Analytics, Engaged! (our own social media dashboard) and other programs can help you monitor your social media activities and assess whether or not they are having a positive effect on website traffic, lead generation and product purchases. That way you can eliminate unproductive activities and emphasize those that seem to have a positive effect. With social media, everything is trackable. When your marketing budget is being spent on more traditional strategies (like print or billboards) you really have no idea what that’s doing for your business. But with social media, you know what every penny has been able to generate.
8. Strengthen Customer Loyalty
Social media can help you put a personal face on your business. Instead of just a company name, customers see you as a real person who listens to their concerns and delivers helpful feedback. This is where the quality of your social media posts really matters. For example, if you only post about your newest inventory or latest sales event, customers are going to feel like they are being force fed your company advertising. If, however, you post interesting information or insight into your industry, customers will feel like you respect them and will be more likely to remain loyal to your company.
9. Rise in Search Engine Rankings
And of course, there’s the all important search engine optimization (SEO). If your company has active social media accounts on multiple platforms, it can improve your rankings on search engines which will boost your visibility and potentially increase your profits. This is especially true with blogging, as companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t – and that’s a huge benefit! Then there’s search engine benefit that Google+ provides, instantly indexed posts.
10. Increased Website Traffic
All of these factors combined – customer loyalty, lead generation, exposure, etc. – will greatly increase the number of potential and current customers viewing your website (and I’m sure more website traffic, more leads and more sales are something you want, right?). If you have excellent website design that’s mobile optimized and content to compliment your social media engagement, you’ll be more likely to make generate leads that your sales team can turn into sales.
Regardless of the current size of your business, social media marketing can help your company experience and maintain growth. Social media management services and social media dashboards are an excellent way to make social media work for you. There are millions of potential customers using social media right now. So what are you waiting for?