Whether we like it or not, the prevalence of social media in everyday life is ever increasing. But, too often I hear clients determined to avoid it. Typical objections include – ‘my business has been operating successfully for years without it’ or ‘it takes too much time and effort to manage it effectively’ or even ‘my audience isn’t 17 year old girls sharing images of cats’.
Whilst social media may have started out as a platform for socialising, it has become much more than that. It’s the ultimate networking tool, a market engagement hub, a communications mission control. Moreover, it’s vital to the sort of ‘social’ business that all the best businesses practise today.
So, why is social media right for your business?
One of the most important things about social media is that it raises people’s awareness of your brand. It’s a sign of the times that the verb ‘to google’ is now in the dictionary. For the majority of people, Google is the first port of call to find out about something immediately. If that’s the first thing they do, you want to be the one at the top of the list. The more social media links you have to your name, the higher up your search ranking will be.
By making yourself easier to find, you will in turn generate visits to your website. It is widely accepted that social media is one of the biggest boosters for your SEO performance. A recent study shows that, in 2014, 80% of marketers claimed that their use of social media had greatly increased traffic to their website.
Social media gets your personality across. Business can be a cold practice: numbers tend to rule the bounds of possibility and automated voice systems are there to greet you ‘warmly’ every time you pick up the phone. This is precisely why social media is important: through it, a brand can act like a person. Social media can give you a tone of voice, helping you break through the cold stone of business and add some character. Consumers want to feel like they’re communicating with someone tangible.
Using social media engages your audience. It shows you who your main following is, and enables you to interact with it. Customers, old and new, can enjoy positive and immediate communication with your brand. Connecting with people directly on social media platforms will establish you as a helpful and trusted source, and, subconsciously, the more people see you online, the more they will think of your brand as an authority.
Social media informs your research, providing a direct and approachable link for feedback. It is a platform for finding out which things are generating the greatest response/interest from your following. A comment on a link you have posted, or a response to a tweet can tell you exactly how people are reacting. You can see what ticks their boxes and then keep that content coming.
What we’re all really looking for in our business is to increase revenue, and social media can undoubtedly aid this. By generating interest in your brand online, you will reach a much greater audience. The more inviting and engaging your company appears online, the more you are likely to attract new customers, keep the old ones loyal and, most importantly, keep them both interested in what you have to offer.
One of the most obvious reasons that all businesses should be exploiting social media is that it is free! Nowhere else are you going to be able to engage effectively with your target demographic as quickly and as easily and for as little investment. Put in the time, do it properly and you will see the results before long. A few hours a week could be all it takes.
So, don’t let the term ‘social media’ be a buzzword that acts as an overwhelming off switch as soon as it’s mentioned. The point of social media is that it’s quick and easy, and gets you noticed.