Social media has come a long way in the last 10 years. Once considered exclusive to college kids and twenty-somethings, Facebook is now a marketing giant. Add in Instagram and Twitter, and you've got a seriously useful tool at your disposal: the ability to reach your customers and gain valuable data about them for (mostly) free. There are 3 billion internet users, and over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. Who wouldn't want to take advantage of that?
Not convinced? Let's look at it a little more in-depth.
Gain Valuable Customer Insights
Your customers generate an enormous amount of social media data every day: 500 million tweets, 4.5 billion Facebook likes, 95 millions photos and videos uploaded to Instagram. By paying attention to this information, you can learn who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand or service. Once you know that, you can better target your marketing and increase conversions.
Increase Brand Awareness
Having a social media presence makes it easier for your customers to find and connect with you. And by connecting with your customers on social, you're more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty. A recent study shows that 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.
Running ads on social media is a relatively inexpensive way to promote your business, and the targeting options help you reach the right audience. A LinkedIn ad campaign, for instance, can be segmented by location, company, job titles, gender, and age, among other criteria. On Facebook, you can target by location, demographics, interests, and connections. As an added bonus, these social media ad campaigns can be tracked in real time, so you can see immediately what results you're getting.
Provide a Richer Customer Experience
Most of your customers expect you to be on social media, which is really reason enough for you to be! Over 67% of consumers now go to social media for customer service, so being there when they look for you is an important first step, followed closely by keeping response times fast. And it's not just about customer service. When I'm looking into a new company, I always take a look at their Facebook page to try and get a feel for who they are. If they don't have one or if it's not executed well, I'm likely to look for an alternative.
Increase Website Traffic and Search Ranking
Social media helps direct people to your website, increasing traffic, and the more your content is shared, the higher your search ranking will be. That's why it's important to put some thought into what you post—the more engaging it is, the more likely it is to be shared.
Social media should be a two-way channel, not just a place to blast your sales pitch. Creating a dialogue with your customers fosters a closer relationship and builds loyalty. You want them to keep coming back, right? So make their experiences with you as enjoyable as possible and watch your customer base grow.
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.