In case anyone’s still wondering, social media isn’t just a fad. It also isn’t just for keeping in touch with family and friends. It provides a valuable opportunity for your business to reach a larger audience and generate more leads.
If you don’t already have a clearly defined social media plan for your business, you’re losing out on a lot of potential customers. You need to realize that the majority of social media users span all ages ranging from 18 years to 65, which means that no matter what niche you’re in, chances are good that most of your audience hangs out on social media.
Facebook continues to be the most popular social network, but Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and all the rest are just as important for your business. Your audience members each have their own favorite platforms, and it’s important to be where they are so you can connect with them and build stronger relationships.
Here is a quick summary of the current social media demographics:
- All age groups are using social media
- 80% of adults log onto social media each day
- Every income level uses social media
- All education levels use social media
- Every location (urban, suburban, rural) uses social media
These are people who are using Facebook and all other social media platforms each and every day. The numbers are in the billions! This is something you shouldn’t ignore if you want to give your business an edge over your competition.
But if you’re still not convinced that you need to start creating a coherent social media plan for your own business, here are a few more reasons why you need to leverage this powerful marketing opportunity.
7 Reasons to Create a Solid Social Media Strategy for Your Business
1. Social Media is competing with Email as the Primary Communication Method
This is very important for you to grasp because while everyone knows that email has always been the communication channel with the highest ROI (something that isn’t likely to change anytime soon…), social media is fast catching up as the primary means of communicating with prospects and customers.
That’s not to say that you should pull your focus from email, but rather you need to understand the increasing importance of your business’s social connections with your audience so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. You can continue to use traditional means of communicating while updating your framework to include social interactions.
For instance, a lot of online businesses took to Twitter for their customer service, and it’s now considered an effective channel for customer inquiries and problem resolution.
Whether you know it or not, your customers are active on the various social platforms, and they are talking about YOU.
Thanks to social, mobile, and the technology behind it all, we now have an environment where users can access, consume, and share information on their own terms.
These days there are a lot of people who simply don’t read emails or blogs but use social media platforms like Facebook as their content stream. This disintermediation of content is one of the major factors that have caused an increase in the importance of social to customer communication.
Although this may only be a small subset of your total audience, knowing that some of your customers will seek to get information about your business or products via social media networks is a good reason to create a social strategy for your business.
2. Social Media Influences Buying Decisions
Social media’s first era was focused more on building audiences and boosting engagement, but now it has evolved to also include commerce and personalization. The majority of platforms have invested a lot in innovative advertising solutions that lure marketers with smart targeting and improved APIs.
Some social platforms even offer the ability to upload your email list so you can run personalized retargeting campaigns.
For instance, marketers can use the Facebook API to do the following:
- Collect and manage data for targeting custom audiences
- Create ads and campaigns
- Run analytics from custom dashboards
- Manage pages, accounts, and various other campaign assets … among other things.
Recent studies have revealed that the majority of consumers find inspiration for shopping on social media. This is particularly driven by retailers who target customers with personalized deals and offers on social media networks.
Most users are already using social platforms while considering making a purchase. Nearly half of them are actively deciding which products to buy based on information they gather on their social networks, such as recommendations and reviews.
As a marketer, you’re probably already aware that peer recommendations have the most influence on the purchase of holiday gifts – even more than influencer or celebrity endorsements. If peak trading is important to your overall sales goal for the year (which I’m guessing it is), then it’s vital that you plan how to use social media to get people sharing and talking about your products.
As you begin to immerse yourself in your social marketing strategy, you’ll notice that there are some distinct differences in the roles that each of the social networks plays in the buying cycle.
For instance, Pinterest is a wonderful place for those seeking inspiration and it can work particularly well as your product’s visual storyboard. Facebook, on the other hand, is great for those people who want to find promotions and share content.
This is yet another reason why you need a clear social media strategy for your business. Without one, how will you know which role each of these social platforms can play in the purchasing cycles of your customers? How will you be able to tell if you’re losing out on a lot of potential sales or if you’re wasting time selling to people who are not looking to buy?
3. Social Media Gives You an Advantage Over Your Competition
The lack of a sound social media strategy gives the edge to your competitors. It’s rare to find a business that doesn’t have a social presence these days. Marketers are increasingly developing cohesive social marketing strategies that are aligned with their business goals.
Creating a good strategy gives you the framework that you can use to plan, prioritize, implement, measure, and optimize. This is the only way you’re going to see improved results from your social marketing efforts because the activity will have direction. Even if you have to alter the direction, this will be a lot easier since you’re learning from real data.
Investing in a social presence without having a clear plan means that you’ll have no idea whether your campaigns are successful or not. For instance, you may post content on a regular basis to appear active, but how are you going to know if the content is having a positive impact or contributing to your business goals? What if the posts you’re sharing are actually putting people off and turning customers away from your brand?
Once you have a plan or guideline in place to refer to when conducting your social marketing, you’ll know what to post, when to post it, who you’re posting it for, and why!
You’ll never have to guess as to whether or not you’re reaching the right audience or if your content is having the right kind of effect on them. You’ll know which conversations your business should be a part of and how you can contribute in a meaningful way.
A structured approach to communicating with your audience and measuring your results will help you to avoid wasting valuable resources on activity that has no direction or purpose. You’ll be able to work smarter at engaging your customers based on crystal clear marketing objectives and targets.
4. Social Media Networks Each Have Key Influencers
Never underestimate the power of influencer recommendation. Peer influence, in the form of customer reviews and ratings, has the power to increase conversions dramatically. Marketers know this and they’ve been leveraging it for years!
In addition to that, expert endorsements can also increase your business’s reputation and credibility. For instance, in some highly specialized niches such as the audio-visual tech market, an expert’s opinion is highly sought-after, and it can either make or break a product.
The social channels that you’re active on have trending influencers ranging from the self-made internet stars to the obvious celebrities. A lot of online business owners and entrepreneurs often employ influencers to amplify their social marketing messages to make sure it gets to their end users.
While you may think that this is not important or necessary for your brand, you need to realize that if you’re not part of this world, you may lose your relevance. Ignoring this aspect of social marketing could lead to you losing your mindshare to competitors who are more socially aware and are willing to be innovative and bold in their marketing campaigns.
5. Social Media Can Enhance or Destroy a Brand’s Reputation
One of the great things about social media is that it has given a (loud) voice to groups and individuals who previously had to struggle to make themselves heard. It has also played a huge role in making information portable and transparent.
However, as I stated previously, conversations about you, your business, and your products are going on online whether you’re part of them or not. This means that your reputation could be at stake and you won’t even be able to defend yourself if you’re not online where those conversations are taking place.
Social media amplifies voices of discontent, and it also makes it easy for people to jump on angry bandwagons. If you’re not there to deal with the issues that arise, your competitors will and they will swoop in and grab the prospects and customers that were meant to be yours.
6. Social Media Can Help You Increase Your Brand Recognition and Trust
Most consumers these days do their research online before they make any buying decision. And where do they search for information? On Google, of course, but many are also turning to Facebook, Twitter, and various other social networks to see if specific companies are established there. When your prospective customers search for you online, there are only three likely outcomes:
1. They won’t find what they are looking for and lose trust immediately
2. They will find your profiles on social media, but when they see that they’re not active, you lose trust points.
3. They find your social profiles and see that you are active. They learn more about your business’s values and culture. This increases their brand recognition and trust.
Social media gives you the perfect chance to connect with your audience on a deeper level so you can establish those bonds of trust that lead to stronger long-term relationships with your customers.
7. Social Media Increases Your Business’s Visibility in Google
Last, but certainly not least, social media helps to increase your visibility online. Your prospects search for information on Google when making their purchasing decisions, and having a strong social presence can actually help you get information about your business and products in front of them at the right time in their buying cycle.
This is one of the many benefits of setting up your social media profiles. It offers you the opportunity to cover Google’s first page with a lot of the web pages that you control.
For instance, if you search for your business name and then review the first results page, chances are, if you already have a Facebook page you’ll see it ranking high on the first page. If you’ve set up Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other pages, those will also be ranking.
The more web pages you control in the SERPs, the better for your business’s lead generation as it means that prospects will be more likely to click on your pages.
The Final Word
There is no magic formula when it comes to any of the elements of digital marketing, and social media is no different. You need to do your research and better understand your audience so you can determine the best way you can use social media to give them exactly what they want while getting a healthy ROI for your business.
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