What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?
If there’s one thing that marketing experts all agree on, it’s that the age of social media is on the rise. Whether it comes to campaigns, influencer relationships, or advertising, social media is a powerful tool for businesses in just about any industry. Don’t miss out on the benefits of social media for customer acquisition and growing your business.
You might already be generally familiar with the use of social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter from a personal perspective. After all, each of these platforms has millions of global users who take advantage of the mobility and connectedness they offer. But did you know that up to 59% of marketers are also actively using social media to support business goals? And you better believe using these platforms as a company has a different set of best practices than simply posting photos of your dogs or what you had for dinner.
In this post, you’ll learn more about important trends, benefits, and social media KPIs for businesses. We’ll also help you gain a better understanding of:
- Why businesses need social media marketing to stay competitive
- The top benefits of using social media marketing in your organization
- The potential disadvantages to using social media marketing
- Whether social media is really worth it if your brand is struggling
- How to get started with a social media strategy
Why Businesses Need Social Media Marketing for Customer Acquisition
Social media is a tool that’s constantly evolving and changing. While the fast-moving nature of new trends and techniques can feel intimidating, it’s crucial that businesses stay current and competitive.
In fact, research shows that 78% of sales staff can outsell their peers by using social media strategies. This statistic, along with others like it, showcases the power of social media to drive sales and move businesses forward.
But there’s more to social media than monetary gain. Businesses need social media to reach new audiences with life-changing products, services, and messages. In an age of information, it’s never been more important to utilize free and low-cost tools to better serve your target market. Social media is an outlet that allows businesses and team members to connect directly with customers and share innovative content around the clock.
10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Without a doubt, there are many social media pros and cons for businesses of all sizes. The benefits of using social media campaigns to reach your target market are numerous. As we mentioned above, those benefits are not simply financial in nature.
In the sections below, we’ll get even more specific about the benefits your business can experience with a well-rounded social media strategy.
Establishing a strong digital marketing presence
A digital presence refers to how and where your business appears in the online world when people conduct searches. Consider your digital presence as a trail of breadcrumbs that lead a customer or potential customers to the answers they’re looking for. Since this is often the first impression that people will have, it’s important that your digital presence is strong.
A digital presence includes everything from your company’s website, to online consumer reviews, to ads and other listings. Social media is one of the platforms that contribute to your holistic digital marketing presence.
Optimizing your social media presence involves consistency and planning. You can do this by choosing the best social networks, posting consistently, and maintaining a steady voice across all platforms. A strong and stable social media presence can provide a significant boost to your reputation.
Providing an additional customer service outlet
Did you know that an increasing number of customers head to social media channels to solve their problems before exploring traditional outlets? A 2018 study by SproutSocial showed that more than 50% of customers went to social media first when they had a question or needed an answer.
This trend is vital for businesses that want to continue improving their customer service strategies to stay ahead of the competition. It’s also crucial not to view social media as only a complaint channel. More and more customers have genuine questions and feedback, and they’re turning to sources like Facebook or Instagram first.
Solving customer questions on social media can leave a public record of how your business handles incoming requests. This can help you increase satisfaction rates while building trust and visibility with your existing and potential customers.
Expanding lead generation opportunities
Social media is another way that you can create conversion opportunities through your posts and content. While some of these leads tend to be top-of-funnel, it’s never a mistake to drive more awareness through lead generation.
On Pinterest, a visual social media platform, statistics show that up to 77% of users have found a new brand or product. This conversion is a direct result of simply browsing and spending time on the platform. Imagine expanding your customer base by meeting future prospects where they already are!
To increase your lead generation capabilities, start incorporating a few purposeful calls to action in your posts. Strong CTAs help your customers know which next steps to take, whether that means signing up for an event or completing a download form. Generating leads through ads is another way you can boost lead acquisition.
Capitalizing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Did you realize that social media marketing can have an indirect impact on your company’s link building efforts? You may receive an SEO increase for a particular search term or piece of content when your readers share it on social media.
Search engines like Google and Bing also display relevant tweets in search results. This means that if you rank highly in the world of SEO, users may also see an indirect link to your social media pages. In turn, this could increase your social media audience or expand your reach.
Social media platforms like Instagram also have their own unique way of ranking posts through SEO. Primarily, this is accomplished through the use of popular or relevant keywords or hashtags. Your business can show up in lists of popular posts whenever users search or browse the Explore page.
Leveraging social media content marketing and resources
Social media is a powerful way to showcase the content, blog posts, and other educational resources that your team creates. When you develop a new eBook, infographic, or case study, you might seize the opportunity to share the update with your social media followers.
Following a posting schedule can also ensure that you’re not overwhelming your readers with too much sales-driven content at one time. Sprinkle in some other types of posts like user-generated content, funny memes (if that fits your brand) or motivational posts to increase engagement from your audience and help build a following.
By spacing out your resources and staying consistent, you can increase referral traffic on your website. There are even ways to use trackable links so that you can attribute increases directly to social media efforts.
Releasing helpful content also provides a way to engage with new prospects. You might choose to offer a free content download in exchange for a prospect’s email or contact information. In this way, you spread the word about your resources while developing a contact for future business opportunities.
Developing a target audience
By using social media regularly, you have the opportunity to fine-tune your target audience. Most platforms allow you to see important demographic data relating to age, gender, location, and other characteristics. This information allows you to understand who is engaging with your posts and when they’re most active.
To further reach your target audience, you can also engage in social listening. This practice involves looking out for key trends, search terms, and other feedback that users share while encountering your brand.
Social listening can help you pinpoint what your target audience is expecting so that you can create the resources, posts, and content that serves them best in a time of need.
Demonstrating attainable social proof
Social proof is one of the key psychological aspects of good marketing, and it comes in many forms. Most often, social proof is the ability to show that a business concept is trusted, widely used, or otherwise respected, and needed.
Traditionally, businesses might turn to word of mouth recommendations, or even celebrity endorsements, to establish social proof. With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to showcase examples of social proof that communicate the benefits of your brand.
Marketing platform Buffer shares a few simple tricks for increasing the social proof on your different platforms. You can:
- Invite industry experts to take over one of your accounts
- Collaborate with respected leaders on a live event
- Give special shout-outs and other acknowledgments for social mentions
- Celebrate big business milestones publicly
- Engage in influencer or micro-influencer marketing campaigns
- Create and post graphics of customer testimonials
- Ask your audience to tag their friends in a post
Saving valuable marketing budget
Good marketing efforts are seldom cheap, and rarely are they completely free. But leveraging the power of social media is a fast and low-cost way to branch out into a new marketing channel.
Most platforms don’t charge a fee to post recurring organic content. You can do this quickly and easily by creating and scheduling new posts on each of the platforms you monitor. If you want to devote more cash resources, you can explore advertising and other promotional activities. We love watching which content performs the best organically and then putting some advertising spend behind it to get more eyeballs on your content.
Once you set up a social media campaign on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the platforms will operate within the budget you choose. This means that you can avoid overspending and get granular on how to devote your funds. Whenever you allocate resources, it’s wise to monitor performance so that you can make beneficial changes in future campaigns.
Generating better brand awareness
Brand awareness describes how recognizable your brand is to an outsider. How quickly can a current or future customer recall what your business offers, just by hearing a name?
Social media services can help drive your brand awareness forward in a number of influential ways. For starters, social media always favors engagement. This means that the more active you are in communicating with your audience, the more your message will appear and spread.
Additionally, social media platforms are uniquely visual in nature. When you curate unique images that are personal to your business or brand, you create a simple way for people to recognize what you offer. The visual aspect of social media builds upon the ability you have to leverage it for customer support and connection.
Conducting a competitive analysis
Among the benefits of social media is the concept that these platforms allow you to perform real-time analysis of your competition. You might choose to do this in a number of ways, whether it means researching who is following your competitors or comparing the content performance of your profiles.
If you notice that a competitor’s posts are appearing more frequently in common search terms, do some research on what phrases they might be using. What aspects of their posts drive engagement? What sort of tone are they using across their posts and throughout their messaging?
While you might not be able to view every aspect of the competition’s social media performance, you can certainly gain an understanding of what’s working and what’s not. These insights also allow you to implement new social media strategies that can help your business stand out.
Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
Clearly, there are many advantages to using social media as a way to grow and nurture a business. Despite these perks, there are a few disadvantages to using social media marketing. Many of these downsides are specific to individual businesses, scenarios, or individuals.
- Social media requires considerable time and attention. To truly nurture a social media account, you should plan to devote time and attention to it. This includes researching social media best practices and responding to requests, messages, and comments. If you work in a larger business, consider hiring a dedicated staff member or working with a social media marketing company.
- It’s possible to waste money if you don’t have a good strategy. Although social media platforms allow you to invest advertising dollars, you may want to leave the campaigns to the pros. Spending lots of money on these platforms may not yield big results unless you have a strategy in place.
- Some claims and posts can be subject to consumer law. Depending on where you live, some information on social media might be subject to consumer laws. It’s important to take these into consideration as you monitor your accounts.
What is the Impact of Social Media Marketing on Consumers?
The purpose of social media is often twofold. Not only does it provide you with a billboard to showcase your brand messaging, but it also gives your customers a sounding board for feedback and connection.
- Social media has altered customer service expectations. According to Cloohawk, 42% of social media users expect an answer to their support question within 60 minutes on social media. These high expectations have reshaped the way many users and customers view customer service in general. Understanding this mindset shift in people can help companies rise to the occasion.
- Social media has fostered brand loyalty built on relationships. Social media has a powerful influence on humanity. Brands that were otherwise distant or remote are now accessible at all times. This approachability drives brand loyalty in new and exciting ways.
Do Social Media Efforts Really Work?
Unfortunately, some of the rumors around social media are true. Brands, companies, and individuals have all tried to manipulate the social media system through ineffective tactics. This includes strategies like buying followers, faking engagement, and trying too hard to sell.
And although these issues can give social media a bad reputation, strategic social media marketing has been proven time and again to work. To ensure that social media works for your business, consider these tips.
- Always be genuine and in line with your brand’s mission, core values, and messaging.
- Never attempt to engage in underhanded practices that could ruin your reputation.
- Set tangible goals and establish social media KPIs that you want to hit.
- Actively measure your social media ROI in order to adjust spending efforts accordingly.
Can Social Media Save a Dying Brand?
Social media should never be the only tool in your arsenal when it comes to saving, revamping, or refreshing a brand. Your team should always be prepared to explore other avenues such as product development, content creation, inbound lead generation, and more.
While it may not be the only outlet for saving a struggling brand, a 2019 report illustrates that social media users total more than 3.4 billion, a 9% increase from the previous year. With so many potential eyes on what you have to offer, it’s no wonder that many companies turn to social media to lift a sinking ship.
The success of social media in resurrecting a brand is largely dependent on the strategies in place to make it work. Therefore, if you truly want to leverage social media in this way, be prepared to devote significant time, budget, and resources to make it happen.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Now that you understand the benefits of social media, it’s time to get to work and develop a social media strategy. Just like with other marketing tactics, you’ll see the most results from your efforts if you have a clear plan based on the needs and wants of your ideal customer persona.
Pick the Right Platform
The first step in a successful social media strategy is to pick which platforms your company is going to have a presence on. Although it’s tempting to set up accounts on all the major platforms, this can actually end up doing more harm than good if you aren’t able to properly manage the channel. Additionally, if your target audience isn’t active there, you could spend a lot of time and money with little to show for it.
Spend some time analyzing your ideal customer personas and where they spend time online. A busy business professional is more likely to scroll through LinkedIn, while a young mom will be spending time over on Pinterest.
Develop a Social Media Content Calendar
A content calendar will help you post consistently and will answer the question of, “What am I going to post today?” Stick to a mix of posts that promote your products or services, entertaining content, and pieces that offer social proof.
Once you have your content plan, tweak the post for the platform it’s going to be shared on. Links work well on Facebook but are impossible to post on Instagram. Short-form content works better on Twitter, while LinkedIn users expect more context.
Using a social media scheduling tool can help you schedule your posts in advance across all these different platforms. This allows you to optimize your posting time for when your audience is most likely online and allows your team the flexibility of creating content in advance.
Utilize an Employee Advocacy Tool
To take your social media strategy one step further, we recommend using an employee advocacy tool. This empowers your team members to share content that promotes your brand through their personal profiles. Create content that your team will be excited to share with their family and friends online. This takes social proof to a new level when people who work at a company are excited about sharing new initiatives and helpful information with their personal networks.
Grow Your Social Media Following through Contests and Referrals
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply post content on social media and hope that the right people find it. You need to work on actively growing your social media following. In addition to engaging with other brands and individuals, one easy way to grow your following is through contests. Ask people to follow your page, like your content, and share it with a friend in exchange for an entry. You can even get creative and give them their own referral link to promote sign-ups.
Incentivizing your audience to refer their friends is a great way to grow a following of similar users quickly.
Get Started with Social Media Consulting Today
By now, you’ve learned about some of the most important benefits and trends of social media marketing. This article has established the importance of developing a strategy that not only serves your business values, but that helps you increase tangible metrics like leads and sales.
Although you’re probably ready to spring into action, perhaps you’re not sure where to begin. At Striventa, we make it simple with our Business Growth Strategy program that includes additional tactics content marketing, inbound marketing, local SEO, and more. The singular goal of all these tactics is to acquire more customers and scale your business.
Schedule your free Discovery Session now to chat with a Striventa team member and get started on the path to success.