Top 3 reasons your business needs a social media presence
Just as the internet has transformed the way people access information, social media is transforming the way businesses interact with customers.
If traditional marketing is like a one-way radio transmission, social media marketing is like a global town hall, giving businesses a new, interactive way to engage customers. Social media works a lot like the neural pathways in our brains: connections build on one another—and the more connections, the stronger the link. In other words, the more blog posts, tweets, and followers you generate, the stronger the link between your business and customers and the higher your business will rank on a Google search.
Social media marketing offers businesses affordability, customer-generated leads, and an effective way to build customer relationships.
Social media is an ideal tool for small businesses with limited marketing budgets. Most businesses found that traffic to their websites increased with investment of only 6 hours per week. Not only is social media inexpensive, the interactive nature of sites like Facebook and Twitter means that social media does some of the work for you: current customers provide free advertising to potential customers in their social networks via likes, retweets, and reviews.
In 2014, Facebook users shared nearly 2.5 million pieces of content every minute.
Twitter users generated nearly 300,000 tweets per minute.
Over half of all Facebook users have a network of more than 200 “friends".
As social media evolves, users increasingly rely on social media to inform them about everything from the most personal family moments to international news and everything in-between. Social media platforms like Pinterest where users “pin” images and links to things they like—from pictures to recipes to products—is one of the many effective ways for businesses to get customer-generated leads.
According to a Nielsen survey, 84% of respondents found word-of-mouth product and service recommendations from friends and family to be the most trustworthy. When a customer ‘likes,’ links to, or follows a business, it’s the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising to everyone in their social network.
According to Forbes writer Jayson Demers, social media has a 100% higher “lead-to-close” rate than outbound marketing and when used with search engine optimization (SEO), social media may even help boost your “brand signal” with search engines. Says Demers, “the more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem.”
In addition to brand exposure and recognition, businesses can receive and respond to customer feedback, fix problems, and gain valuable insight into how customers use their products and services.
Social media success
Companies who successfully use social media find ways to personally engage their customers.
- Samsung invites customers to submit pictures taken with their Samsung Galaxy phones.
- Starbucks specializes in personalized replies to customer tweets.
- Whole Foods uses an interactive chat inviting customers to chat about topics ranging from pet care to South American wine using the hashtag #WFMdish.
Although these companies have massive advertising budgets, many of their successful campaigns use free and low-cost tools available to every business. What small business can learn from these examples is how interacting with customers via social media can maintain customer loyalty and generate new leads. Whether through blog posts, personal replies to tweets, contests, sales, or inviting participation in marketing campaigns, the key is to use social media to stay engaged with customers.
As the term “viral” attests, ideas spread rapidly in the digital age—and social media is one of the most affordable and effective ways of spreading the word about your products and services.