“Is social media just entertainment for the kiddos, or can social media help my business in 2018?” Many businesses are asking themselves this question.
While the implementation, strategies, and methods are bound to change with the times, our basic answer to this question remains the same: businesses large and small benefit from social media marketing.
In fact, not making use of social media at all could cost you. The first point of contact between your business and the wider world is no longer a receptionist — now it’s your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. Having that social media presence is expected of most every reputable business these days because it gives a good first impression to today’s customers. Beyond a first impression, social media can do much more for your bottom line.
Why We Still Have These Core Questions
One of the interesting things about social media for business is that the core questions businesses have for marketers haven’t changed much over the last ten years. Firstly, businesses want to know if social media can help their business. But when told yes, they want to know:
- What the ROI is.
- How to make it pay off.
- If they can really sell on social.
- And how to fit social media into their busy schedule.
Oddly enough, the answers to these basic questions haven’t changed that much either. Social media marketing becomes a part of your sales funnel. It’s becoming more important as those sales funnels get longer for many firms. Yes, you can have a good ROI, and you can make social pay off, but it has to be done well. And you can sell, but not aggressively. As for scheduling? You need to treat social media like any other serious marketing channel and develop a full strategy.
What You Can Do With Social Media Today
Your options for using social media to help your business are better today than ever before. While we often talk in generalities about social media marketing, here are eight clear business objectives you can achieve through social media marketing.
Claim Your Own(ed) Media
Your customers are talking about you, and positively, in many cases. Would you like to be part of that conversation? That’s possible with social media. You can claim a seat at the table and address questions or concerns when they arise and offer thanks to happy customers. You can also produce your own “owned media” to further help get the word out about your products, benefits, features, and brand USP.
Offer Social Proof
Social proof is powerful. Kissmetrics even says that positive social proof can be more impactful than saving money when it comes to a consumer’s buying decision. “Likes” and follower counts are easily obtainable social proof with a bit of effort. Start creating and sharing great content, and you can earn even more reputable social shares. Have great customer service, and you can garner a 4- or 5-star review on your Facebook page.
Stay Top of Mind
Many people spend a lot of time on social media these days, often every day. That’s good news for businesses hoping to stay top of mind with their favorite customers. Combining social media outreach with display advertising, tracking pixels, custom audience ad buys, and user targeting and retargeting can help you increase your number of sales touches with customers and potential leads.
Speaking of leads, social media today has real power become a lead generation powerhouse for your business. A 2016 survey found that 46% of consumers had made a purchase based on viewing a brand video on a social network. Moreover, 81% are influenced by online friends’ social media product posts, and 78% are impacted by a business’s social media posts.
Traffic from social networks has a big impact on your bottom line. 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase because of social. Facebook now accounts for half of total social media referrals. But even niche social media platforms can make a difference — Pinterest now drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic.
Improve Customer Care
Customers don’t only want to buy through social; they often want customer service as well. This feeds back into your overall business efforts, of course, because happy customers leave good reviews and tell their friends. 35% of consumers now go to social media first for help, and 33% would rather leave a Facebook comment or tweet on Twitter than call on a phone.
Boost Conversions and Sales
Social media can also help your business directly by boosting sales and conversions. One study reported a 13% increase in conversion rate for social media leads versus other lead sources. Another found 64% of sales pros had closed at least one deal thanks to social, with the data still trending up.
Enhance SEO Performance
Lastly, consider that if you have a great presence on a popular social network, it’s going to help your business significantly in terms of SEO. Those social networks are high-value in terms of SEO. Your Facebook or Twitter will likely come up when a customer Googles your brand name. And your customer will likely check out your social profile because such links are considered credible, trustworthy, and insightful.
How Social Media Has Grown Up
Social media can help your business in 2018, but it’s important to realize that social media has “grown up” over the last couple of years. It’s no longer just the “cool” companies using social media for vanity metrics — 94% of small businesses are using social media today, according to Sprout Social. And 92% are planning to spend more on social marketing in 2018. For Facebook, in particular, Marketing Land says it’s time to grow up or get out, arguing that even with the pitfalls, today’s social media is a growing opportunity for strategic businesses.
In short, business after business has found that social media helps their company. There’s really no downside to doing at least some social media marketing for your brand, and done well, there are an awful lot of benefits to doing more than a little social media marketing. Develop a strategy and take advantage of the lead generation, lead nurturing, and conversion and sales opportunities that social media offers.
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