No-one can deny that social media is a well-trodden global phenomenon, with many of us self-confessed social addicts finding it difficult to go even an hour without checking our newsfeed or sharing updates. But why should businesses engage with it and can it really help to grow your business?
Of the 3.4 billion internet users globally, a massive 2.3 billion of these are active social media users and numbers are expected to top 2.95 billion by 2020.
Almost 80% of social media time is now spent on mobile devices and with the average consumer looking at their phone a whopping 150 times a day, popular social media platforms have fast become marketing giants, delivering impressive results for businesses of all sizes across the world.
Here we take a look at 11 top reasons why social media ads should be an important component of your business’ marketing strategy:
1. Expand Your Brand Awareness & Reach
Social media offers businesses a way to sky-rocket their brand awareness!
Good contacts are key to any successful business and social media activity should be recognised as a way of networking – online. It gives you immediate and unlimited access to thousands of people in your chosen target area and enables you to connect with far more people than you ever could in person.
Furthermore, every ‘like’ or shared post will introduce a new network of users, surging your brand visibility and allowing you to engage with both existing and potential new customers.
According to reports, 75% of small businesses attract new customers through social media and without it, you are automatically missing out on a huge potential target market. Social media is everywhere and if used properly, your brand will be too!
2. Establish a Positive Brand & Engage Users
Social media is an excellent way of showcasing your business and building a positive brand image online. It has introduced new methods of connecting with your existing customers and acquainting new consumers with your products and services and people are quick to turn to social media to form their impression of a brand. It should therefore be exploited as a powerful means of reinforcing your brand, communicating your business’ USPs and culture.
It’s not just about pitching your products and services; posting content that is interesting and articulate creates an opportunity to engage consumers, open up dialogue and build a community.
For example, if you were to create some high-quality content, this might be ‘liked,’ commented on or shared by some of your followers, thereby exposing your brand to other people who may not have otherwise known about your business.
This kind of social media exchange between brands and consumers is not something which can be achieved with traditional advertising and with so many people using social media, it’s easy for good content to go viral, further increasing your brand awareness.
3. Improve Customer Service & Build Relationships
Studies indicate that it is 5 times more costly in time and money to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Engaging your customers and building your relationship with them on social media is an effective way of improving customer service and retaining their business.
Social media not only makes your customers a lot more accessible to you, it makes you more accessible to your customers. If you can deliver customer service through a number of communication mediums, you’ll be able to provide a more positive consumer experience.
An increasing number of customers are turning to social media to ask questions, rather than making a phone call. You can use social media to help customers with their queries and also to express your appreciation to them, whilst showing off your customer service to the wider community!
Social media also presents a great way to connect with other consumers – who may become customers. Consumers want to see the faces behind a business and get to know what you’re all about. They also want to see how you interact with your customers and know what your customers are saying about you and social media delivers the perfect platform for this.
4. Drive Brand Loyalty
According to studies, over 70% of web users are more likely to purchase from a brand that they follow on social media, while 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. So getting your brand out there and connecting with your customers and other users on social media is a great way to build your credibility and drive brand loyalty – and sales.
People buy from people they know and trust. By giving your brand a voice and personality, you become a lot more accessible and familiar to consumers and can establish an emotional connection with them. In turn, they will feel more loyalty towards you and will be more likely to buy from you, again and again.
5. Targeted Advertising
Social media advertising offers powerful targeting options which enable you to reach the right audience. This ensures that your advertising budget is being spent as effectively as possible and you’re not wasting money on people who don’t fit your target market.
These advanced targeting options allow you to drill down and define your audience by a series of specific criteria including location, demographics, interests, behaviours, connections and job title. By introducing your brand to those who are most likely to have an interest in your products or services, you are more likely to generate quality leads.
6. Market Research
Social media is a beneficial market research tool, providing businesses with a wealth of valuable data about their customers, empowering you to learn more about your audience and make strategic business decisions based on this key information to get ahead of your competitors.
Through social media you can gain detailed social insights, such as the age group, gender, location and interests of those engaging with your content, as well as data about consumer behaviour, needs and buying language, qualifying you to analyse conversations about your business or industry and gauge user sentiment about your brand.
What’s more, using social media to ask key questions to your target market can benefit your bottom line. You’ll receive instant feedback which you can utilise to help shape and grow your business.
7. Competitor Analysis
The ability to analyse your competitors on social media is a major benefit. You can examine their content and interactions and learn from this to polish your own content strategy and achieve better results.
There are also a number of handy tools you can use to gain detailed insights about your competitors. For example, you can monitor industry keywords and mentions of your competitors’ names and products. You can then use these results to identify ways in which to stand out in your industry, improve product offerings, enhance your service and even target your competitors’ followers.
8. Sophisticated Reporting & Trackable ROI
The reason why social media advertising is so efficient is because it is fully trackable – more so than any form of traditional advertising.
For example, if you were to place a newspaper ad, you would have no way of determining how many people even saw your ad, let alone read it or acted upon it.
With social media, ad campaign performance is completely transparent and there are a number of metrics you can use to calculate the effectiveness of your advertising efforts, including reach, engagement and brand mentions.
You can also analyse web traffic to determine the number of social media referrals and the conversion rates for these – for example, online enquiry form submissions, brochure downloads, newsletter subscriptions or phone calls.
And if that’s not enough, you can also analyse historical data to identify trends and tweak your marketing strategy in line with these findings to maximise your ROI.
9. Cost Effective
Wouldn’t you love to get your brand in front of thousands without having to spend thousands? Well, you can! Social media platforms provide limitless channels for reaching your target markets instantaneously, in a cost-effective (and even free!) manner.
Studies show that the customer-acquisition cost of social media marketing is significantly less than traditional outbound methods (such as print, radio, television and cold calling), with inbound marketing leads costing an estimated 61% less than outbound marketing.
Furthermore, the highly specific targeting parameters available with social media channels can help you get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.
10. Boost Your SEO
Social media activity can have a fantastic impact on your SEO.
By sharing quality content via social media channels and generating links back to your website, you are likely to drive more inbound traffic to your site which is another tick in the box for search engines.
Also, social media presence in itself has become a significant SEO ranking factor and adds to your credibility, showing search engines that your brand is legitimate and popular.
11. Drive Leads & Sales 24/7
According to studies, 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers and that’s no wonder given the immense exposure and relationship opportunities social media advertising presents.
Your social media pages are like shop fronts, working for you 24/7! By practicing the ‘engagement’ points mentioned above and utilising the sophisticated analytical tools on offer to help give you an edge on your competitors, you will no doubt benefit from an increase in quality leads and, in turn, sales.
And there you have it, our top 11 reasons why your business needs to get serious about social media!
Felicity has over 10 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, having worked in both agency and in-house roles in the UK, Perth and Melbourne. Her experience spans marketing strategy, brand development, PR and event management. With a proven track record in strategic marketing, Felicity is driven by a desire to drive market expansion and grow clients’ businesses across the digital landscape, through SEO, PPC and social media.