Social media has taken over.
Every day it seems there is a new platform or new update as existing social networks continue to evolve.
In a world of constant connection, social media is an integral part of your customers’ everyday lives.
If your business isn’t using social media yet, there are two things you need to ask yourself:
If you’re not, then who is communicating with your customers?
The answer to the latter is simple, either no one is communicating with them or more than likely, your competitors are.
As for why you’re not using social media, consider these 26 reasons why your business should be:
1. Consistent branding.
Your brand matters.
It matters to your customers, it matters to your business, and it needs to be consistent. Your customers expect it to be consistent across channels. For example, when it comes to holiday shoppers, 90% of consumers expect their experience with a brand to be consistent across channels and devices.
Claiming social profiles for your brand allows you to ensure those web properties are associated with your brand and not a different business with a similar name.
Plus, if your social media profiles are branded consistently with your website and the rest of the materials associated with your business (which they should be), your customers will be able to identify you on every platform they encounter you.
2. Increase brand awareness & encourage loyalty.
With 78% of the US population having a social media profile, there is no doubt about it – your customers are on social media. By claiming social profiles for your brand and posting regularly (and strategically), you’ll be able to increase brand awareness.
Plus, if you use the right content at the right time, you’ll also be able to encourage loyalty to keep both loyal customers engaged and encourage new customers to become loyal customers.
Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. If your business is not using social media to gain more of these relationships, you’re missing out on big opportunities.
3. Build relationships.
Social media is just that, social.
Interacting with your customers on these platforms allows your brand to relate to your customers on a personal level.
People like dealing with people, and buying from people. By using social media to interact with your customers, you add that human element to your brand, which makes you more relatable.
Using social media effectively to communicate with your customers allows you to build relationships with them on a real, personal level. Thus, increasing their awareness of your brand and their feeling of familiarity towards it.
4. Build & provide trust signals.
It seems like anyone can throw up a website these days. For a visitor to your website who does not know your brand, simply having a website is not enough. They need to be able to verify that you are a real business, run by real people.
Trust signals can help assuage their concerns and show them you are a trusted source – a business they can believe in, and feel comfortable doing business with.
Trust signals are things like a real phone number, an email address, a business address, organizational membership logos, security seals, and links to active social media profiles.
All of these things ensure that when a potential customer is checking out your business, it’s easy for them to see that you exist across multiple channels and are a real business.
5. Establish your brand as an authority.
Social media gives your brand a voice beyond your website. Use it to share insights, tips, and expertise and you can establish your brand as an authority.
Not only will potential customers be able to get to know your brand from your website and other materials, but when they check you out online, they’ll find you presenting the same type of value on other platforms around the web.
This provides further evidence that your brand is an authority in your industry and one your customers can count on to provide valuable information.
6. Reputation management.
The reputation of your brand is everything.
Your existing, loyal customer base knows you, but potential customers don’t, and you can bet they’ll be checking out reviews of your business to see what others have thought of you.
Being present on social media gives you the ability to listen on several platforms and respond to any potential issues in real-time. And, you need to respond.
52% of customers expect to hear back from brands after giving an online review.
You can boost the signal of positive customer interactions simply by responding and interacting. Oftentimes, you can also resolve negative customer interactions by responding to an honest attempt to rectify the issue.
Remember, every customer who actually complains represents several others who have just silently taken their business elsewhere. In fact, a typical business will only hear from 4% of its dissatisfied customers.
Do not discount or shrug off negative comments. Instead, address them responsibly.
This allows you to identify potential issues and fix them. Social media also ensure your brand has a voice in creating and managing your reputation.
Potential customers will see your brand interacting with your customer base and actually listening to them. It shows you care about your customers and value their feedback.
Hand-in-hand with reputation management is word-of-mouth.
What customers and potential customers are saying about your brand matters and can affect the likelihood a customer will refer you to their network.
Referrals via word-of-mouth are powerful.
A 2015 Nielsen study found 83% of online respondents across 60 countries trust the recommendations of friends and family the most. On top of that, 95% of millennials say their friends are the most credible source of product information.
With more and more of these conversations happening on social media and personal networks expanding, the opportunities to be a part of these recommendations are increasing rapidly.
Building out your social networks to be consistent with your brand, listening to your customers, and interacting with them appropriately increases your chances that customers will share, talk about, or refer your business to their social networks.
8. Ongoing customer engagement.
As you build active social profiles on the networks your customers like to use, you’ll create opportunities for ongoing customer engagement.
Social media is a great way to continue engaging with customers after they’ve explored your site as well as a way to bring them back to your site to engage with something new.
By creating these touchpoints with your customers and potential customers, you keep your brand top-of-mind regardless of where someone is in the buyer’s journey.
This way, when they’re ready to buy (or buy again, or know someone else who is ready to buy), they’ll think of your brand and bring that business to you.
9. Gain valuable customer insights.
Social listening is a powerful tool for your business.
Your customers are on social media discussing their day-to-day lives and interests. If you’re keyed in to what they’re talking about, you’ll be able to identify valuable customer insights to further build out your buyer personas.
Social media allows you to get to know your customers better, without veering into stalker territory.
Using social listening for your business gives you the information you need to further customize and personalize your content and posts to focus on the things your audience cares about the most and less of what they don’t.
10. Delight customers with great experiences.
User experience is imperative to your website’s success and your business’s.
Delighted customers remember you positively, are more likely to refer your business to their friends and are more likely to purchase from you or use your services again.
On average, Americans tell 9 people about good experiences. When your experience “wows” them enough to share it on social media, that number is far higher (dependent on their network size, of course).
Since social media connects you with customers in real-time and in a public forum, you have the opportunity to use it to take customer experiences from good to great and beyond.
11. Potential customers are receptive to your message.
Social networks are, well, social.
They’re more focused on conversations and connections and are not generally known to be “marketing machines.”
As such, businesses using them effectively are less about pushy sales and more about helpful information and real connection. Because it’s a social network, potential customers are more receptive to your brand, if you’re focusing on non-marketing messages.
You can promote and use marketing messages on social media, but there is a time and a place for them and they should not make up the majority of your content.
12. Effective customer service.
For brands that use social listening effectively, social media can evolve into an effective customer service tool.
80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service, but only 8% of people agree with them. Social media gives your business an invaluable tool to offer amazing customer service experiences.
In a world that is always connected, customers expect a response and they expect it fast. On Twitter, over 70% of users expect a response from brands they’re interacting with – over half of them expect a response within the hour.
With social media, you can respond in real-time and wow them with a stellar customer service experience.
Plus, since it happens in a public forum, other customers will see the interaction and if you’re doing it right, your brand reputation will get a positive boost.
Additionally, customers who are delighted by their experience with you on social media will often share their experience with others.
All of which increases brand awareness promotes a positive brand reputation and has the ability to bring in extra business, all through using social media to offer effective customer service.
13. Increase traffic to your website.
Social media profiles link back to your website. In addition to that, the posts you share can also link back to your website.
Granted, you don’t want all of your posts to be self-promotional. However, you are still able to share things like blog posts you’ve just published, a new product/service you’ve just developed, a new promotion, etc.
The community is there and as long as you are providing value to the community, you are permitted to ask for a little value in return (by sharing something that is more like a marketing message).
You can also boost posts and create targeted ads to increase engagement and drive traffic back to your website.
14. Customer discovery & acquisition.
Your customers are on social media, there is no doubt about that. This also means your potential customers are on social media, and they’re talking about your product and services.
Sure, they may not be talking about them all the time. However, if you have the right alerts and monitoring set up, you’ll be able to catch on when they are talking about your product, services, or industry and be part of the conversation.
This allows you to make a connection with them in a real, “non-salesy” kind of way, create a positive experience, and get on a path towards building a relationship with them that eventually turns them into a customer.
You may get instant leads by using this tactic, but keep in mind, most of these connections will be at the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey and may not be ready to convert into a customer for several months, or even longer!
This is about making new connections and nurturing the relationship to eventually earn their business.
15. Generate leads & sales.
People are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media (almost three-quarters of internet users!).
In addition to that, social media gives you an opportunity to share your services and promotions to a wider audience through standard posts, boosted posts, and paid ads.
At times, social media can even provide a higher conversion rate with better-qualified leads than other channels!
You can bring people back to your site to convert there or you can create posts that allow them to convert immediately without having to leave the social media platform.
16. Promote products & services.
Each social media network contains a community. You’ll want to invest your time in the networks your customers use and build relationships in those communities.
Because it is a community, you need to give and contribute to the community more than you ask to receive from it. However, you will be able to announce promotions and news about your business on social media.
Doing so will allow you to reach a wider audience than you would with simply posting it somewhere on your website. You can increase the reach of these posts even further by boosting or promoting the posts with a small budget or creating a series of paid social ads for your campaign.
17. Get a boost in holiday traffic.
Social conversations increase dramatically during the holidays.
Last year, there were 2,074,676 mentions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on social media.
If you’re already established on the social networks your customers are using, you’ll be able to join in on the conversations to build relationships, increase traffic to your website, and generate leads & sales from social media.
18. Get more eyes on your content.
Basic content promotion is quick and easy on social media. Plus, it’s a great way to get more eyes on your content than you would by just posting the content to your site and waiting for people to visit it.
For a relatively small budget, you can promote your content further with boosted posts and paid ads. Add in a CTA (call to action) to sign up for a newsletter or another valuable offer for an opportunity to generate leads.
19. You can target your Social Media content for increased relevancy.
Especially with boosted posts and paid ads, you can target your content towards specific audiences in order to increase relevancy and engagement. You can target your audience by location (geotargeting), interests, job titles, age, and more.
20. Run targeted ads with real-time results.
With all of the targeting options available, you can focus in on the audience that will find your content or offer the most appealing and useful. Plus, you’ll be able to see the results and track them in real-time through the analytics dashboards on each social network.
21. Effective retargeting with social ads.
Retargeting also referred to as remarketing, is an effective tactic for re-engaging someone who has interacted with you, but not converted, like visiting your website and clicking around without taking any other action.
You can retarget these users on social media with social ads in order to re-engage them. You can also retarget users on social media who have given you their email addresses previously.
So, if they’ve converted on an offer previously, like an eBook, and you want them to know about a related promotion, you can upload their email address as a factor for your target audience in order to show that ad to them on social networks.
Using retargeting effectively is a great way to re-engage customers and potential customers, and to increase leads for your business.
22. Lower advertising budget.
Advertising on social media can oftentimes get you the same results as you may have gotten with a campaign in AdWords for a smaller budget.
There are a lot of factors that go into this, but the bottom line is you can get big results with a lower advertising budget with social ads.
It’s a great option for a business that wants to generate leads and increase awareness but doesn’t have what would be considered a “large enough” budget to be competitive with the same campaign in AdWords.
This doesn’t mean you can get away with being stingy either. You’re still going to need a budget and if managed correctly, the bigger the better. Just know, you can start off a little smaller in social ads and still get some results to make it worthwhile.
23. Keep up with the competition.
Your customers are already on these social platforms, and so are your competitors. If your competitors are already there, and you’re not, who do you think is talking to your customers?
When it comes to business, sometimes “keeping up with the Joneses” makes a lot of sense. When your customers have questions and are looking for solutions, your competitors should not be the only ones available to chat.
By building active profiles on these social networks, you’ll be able to join in on important conversations with your customers.
24. Gain competitor insights.
Social media is a great way to gain valuable competitor insights.
You can see what they’re doing, how they’re interacting with audiences, what they’re posting, and even what types of content are resonating the best with your target audience.
You don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing, but the insights you gain from analyzing their social presences will give you a good idea about how best to start building your own.
Learn from their mistakes and their wins, then apply those lessons to your own strategy to come out on top.
25. Stay up-to-date with the latest news.
62% of U.S. adults turn to social media when they want to keep up with the latest news. With that sort of interest, you can stay up-to-date as well and join in when it’s appropriate.
Newsjacking is a term that refers to brands that jump on a trending news story, inject their own ideas into it, and then (hopefully) generate media coverage and social media engagement due to the traffic and buzz already surrounding the breaking news story.
Effective newsjacking can generate a lot of awareness for your brand and interest in it.
Not every situation will make sense for your brand, but if there’s something that does, then you can leverage it accordingly and reap the benefits.
But, beware, if you jump on a news story (or hashtag) that is inappropriate for your marketing message or brand involvement, it can cause swift and massive damage to your brand reputation. And, your brand might end up dealing with a lot of backlash like these hashtag fails.
So, do your research first, stay on the safe side, and make sure you have a social media crisis plan in place, just in case something goes wrong.
26. Market research.
Your customers on social media talking about their problems, asking about solutions, and sharing frustrations they experience day-to-day.
If you’re tuned in to what they’re talking about, you’ll be able to identify new problems your customers have and create new services/products to solve them – before your competitors do.
That’s valuable market research!
These benefits aside, there is one major reason your business should be using social media – your customers use it, and so do your competitors.
Your customers are waiting – it’s time to get to work and get social!
Need some help breaking into the social sphere?
The VIG team is here to help you every step of the way.