I've worked for many companies who didn't value the importance of social media. Yes we are in changing times and yes, maybe some people only use social media for quick snaps of their coffee and bikini bod. But you're missing the elephant in the room, those very people are the ones shopping, buying, influencing & talking in a community which for the right business is their complete marketing model.
Social media marketing? What's the point. Well let's argue, the definition of marketing; the activity and process for creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value to customers vs the purpose of social media marketing; to build, develop and increase a brands visibility, through building relationships and communicating with potential customers.
I personally like to think of Social Media as the bridge between Marketing, PR & Customer service. Thats 3 major cogs in any business and with social networks being one of the fastest growing industries in the world, you'd be silly not to take a keen eye.
There are of course, all different apps in which to develop a social community for your brand, so let's take for example Facebook. The largest and arguably the most powerful upon their recent takeover of Instagram. We're talking 1.55 billion active monthly users! For any business, even a 0.01% of that pie is 155,500 untapped customers.
Forbes Quotes "Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use" Credit
1. Brand Development & Recognition
Every opportunity to increase your visibility and to develop your brands message is invaluable. Your social networks are just another channel to voice your brands message, product and content. Honestly, how many of you check a brands Instagram before buying a product? I know I'm guilty. Having a well developed social content and social branding can change the opinion of younger consumers within a second. A majority of the brands I have worked for have expanded their brands stockists & wholesalers direct through finding young businesses on social alone. Top competitors for the majority of brands I have worked for have gained increasing knowledge and recognition purely through their "customer follows alone".
2. An online Community & Customer Retention
Brands who engage on social media channels see a return of higher loyalty from their customers. Well organised and well managed social channels can mean an easy way to connect directly to your audience, this also means with changing messages, changing products your customers can know straight away. Immediate messaging and immediate recognition is becoming more apparent, especially as we're seeing an ever important trend of Brands talking directly to consumers. A study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.
Online communities are important, the more you interact with your customers, the more engaged they will be with your product. It really is that simple, social media channels provide any business with the opportunity to talk to their customers directly. It's the newest word of mouth let's just say. Groups, communities & online hubs are where many reviews, recommendations and consumers review and recommend products. Why else do we review companies/restaurants and experiences on TripAdvisor? Because even in the day of digital, nothing beats the recommended opinions of others.
3. Higher opportunities for Conversions
A post on any social media platform (if curated correctly) could be an opportunity for customers to convert. Building a following is synonymous with building an new client base, increasing one you already have, retaining old customers and the best part - they can interact with you directly. Of course the concern with many businesses, is that the ROI or Sale conversion rates are low in social but even so, without social you are falling behind in an lost opportunity your competitor might have gained. Almost 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers directly through facebook alone! It also means giving your customers a direct stream to your products, opportunities to constantly market - whether its incentives, discounts and of course features on their social "icons". The most interesting aspect of social is we now see "a developed social channel" as a way in which to humanise corporate companies, in which many customers see little or no interaction. Studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing and a higher number of social media followers is directly related to how the consumers perceive trust, credibility and proof in your brand.
4. Decreased Marketing Costs
A majority of social is FREE. That's right, it doesn't cost you a thing to post an instagram photo, or post to a facebook page. In fact, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Advertising through Google Ads, Instagram and Facebook can be relatively cheap & paired with such digital campaigns and online emailers it's important to keep that message throughout all channels. Why waste the chance to cut costs and market to your customer directly?
5. Better SEO
Search engines know which pages are consistently earning traffic and of course they are pushing the ones that do. SEO is as important as any part of your business, even more so if you hope to do the majority of your sales online and as we know the online sector is starting to overtake the retail shop. Driving traffic to your pages, will cause them to climb faster than in standard search engine results pages. Yes regularity counts, but it's not the only know all anymore, you also need to include optimised titles, tags, meta descriptions and of course links pointing back to your site. But it's also worth considering Google and other top search engines may be calculating their ranking using social media.
The next considerable factor, is a majority of the younger consumer tends to use social media as a channel to search for what they're looking for. Just check out apps such as Depop to understand and of course the ever relevant hashtag system. A majority of consumers use your social media channels to see what sort of presence you businesses has. While social accounts may or may not affect a webpages position, it can influence the content of your search results and more often then not, we see social profiles are usually ahead of the listings for brand websites.