Why You Should Use Social Media Marketing for Your Business
Gone are the days when social media’s sole purpose was to bounce cat videos around your friendship group.
While there are still a few cat videos knocking around, social media has moved on. Nowadays it’s far more multifaceted, catering to many different groups.
One such group that greatly benefits from the expansion of social media is businesses. More specifically, they benefit from the advent of social media marketing.
The positives of using social media marketing for your business are boundless. No wonder over 68% of all UK businesses use social media marketing. Social media marketing can help boost your brand awareness and improve your relationships with your customers, and that’s not even including the improved coverage and promotion that paid social media advertising brings.
But what if you’re part of the minority who don’t use it and are wondering what all the fuss is about? Or what if you are using it but not to its fullest capacity and need a reminder of why you should get back on the train and perfect your social media marketing strategy? Or what if you are using social media marketing (well done you!) and want to feel good about all the positives of social media marketing? In this article we’ll lay out some of the benefits of social media marketing and why you should create a social media marketing strategy for your business. This includes:
- The Cost Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing
- Growing Your Brand Awareness
- Customer Relationships and Customer Service
What is Social Media Marketing?
The term “social media marketing”, or “SMM”, broadly envelops terms like “social media plan”, “social media advertising” and “social media strategy”. But what do all of these buzz words actually mean?
Social media marketing covers any and all use of social media as part of a marketing strategy. Be it building a relationship with customers, selling products and services, or simply increasing brand awareness and getting your name out there.
A business posting on Facebook about a deal they currently have on? Social media marketing. A company replying to a comment or query from a customer on Twitter? Social media marketing. A cafe uploading a photo of one of their coffees to their Instagram? Social media marketing (or just showing off their fancy latte art).
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
So, now that’s out the way, let’s focus on some of the reasons YOU should have a social media plan and utilise social media marketing for your business.
Social Media Marketing is Cost-Effective
You can’t get much more cost-effective than free.
Creating a social media profile on most social media platforms is exactly that - free. They allow you to post your content, be followed by potential customers and interact with them. It’s like being able to put up a billboard for your business in front of loads of people for no cost at all (we’ll get onto just how many people are on social media in a moment. It’s a lot).
The quality of your posted content may be enough to promote your business and the content all on its own. However, if it’s not reaching enough people for your liking, or you want a more targeted approach, you can venture into the world of paid advertising.
Without paying for social media, you are without doubt, limiting your reach. It’s safe to say that most social media platforms operate on a pay-to-play model. If you focus solely on organic social media, your average reach to those who follow you is only around 5% of the potential audience. However, despite that slightly dismal statistic, organic social is still important; acting as a solid foundation for your paid ads, and it’s not to be forgotten.
Don’t be scared by the word ‘paid’. Social media advertising is actually the cheapest form of advertising available today. And even better, it’s easily scalable to your needs.
For example, with Facebook or Instagram ads you can alter your budget at any time. You’re able to start with a smaller budget and increase it when you’ve grown expertise, are confident you’re being seen by your target audience and seeing the results you were hoping for.
Furthermore, with paid ads you can clearly track your analytics. This, along with the ability to fine-tune your ads at will, allows you to easily alter your ads to see what does and doesn’t work for you and your business.
Paid advertising is a great way to reach more people and, more importantly, the right people. It can greatly boost your business, but don’t just take my word for it, 62.6% of businesses said paid social media had been “very effective” or “somewhat effective” for their business. Why not get yourself a slice of the social media advertising pie?
Social Media Analytics
Analytics was mentioned above, but what exactly are social media analytics? They can make social media marketing extremely effective.
In the real world, it can be hard to analyse a person’s likes and interests in order to identify if they could be a potential customer for your business. This can make it hard to target the perfect people with your advertising.
Social media marketing doesn’t have this problem.
On social media, people literally ‘like’ and ‘follow’ what they… well, like. The various social media platforms have access to this information and it allows them to build a picture of peoples’ interests and gives them a good idea of what users might want to see.
Paid adverts on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram utilise this information and can put your content in front of the users most likely to be interested in it and most likely to be converted into new customers for your business. It’s a win-win. The user finds something they’re interested in, and you get a new customer.
Your Customers Are There Already
Crazy stats time.
4.2 billion people actively use social media across the globe.
That’s 53.6% of the world’s population… and it’s only growing. Over the past year, the amount of active social media users has grown by 13%, about 1.3 million new users a day.
The stats are just as startling when looking at the UK. There are 53 million active social media users in the UK - that’s 77.9% of the population.
The point of all this? These statistics show that the chances are, that your current customers and potential future customers are using social media. So why not join them and get your content in front of them?
Additionally, 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. All the more reason to use social media marketing to get your business and products in front of customers.
What’s more, the average time a person spends on social media a day is 145 minutes. That’s plenty of time for them to see your profile or posted content (and see a couple of cat videos while they’re at it).
Okay, that’s enough statistics for now.
Develop Customer Relationships and Improve Customer Service
Speaking of customers, social media is useful for building and improving relationships with customers and consumers.
It gives you a channel to instantly communicate with your customers. More than ever, customers expect quick customer service and responses to their queries. By having a presence on social media you can quickly reply to questions commented on your posts, or even directly message them with the private messaging capabilities of many social media platforms.
This interaction with your customers helps to build trust and shows them that you care.
TOP TIP: The businesses with the best customer service will answer their customers’ questions on social media as quickly as feasible, and possibly interact with comments that don’t pose a question - even if it’s just giving them a ‘like’.
Growing Your Brand Awareness
As we’ve seen, there’s A LOT of people on social media.
Utilising social media marketing means you get to put your business and brand in front of many more people than those that might walk past your shop or happen upon your website, increasing the amount of people who have access to and awareness of your business and brand.
This increased awareness and coverage of your business thanks to social media marketing can lead to increased traffic and increased sales. More people know about your brand, more converted customers, more people visit your website or your shop, more people buy your products.
TOP TIP: To ensure this happens effectively, make any information about your business clear in your social media bio (the information at the top of your profile). That includes your website or location, otherwise potential customers might not know where to go.
See What Your Competitors Are Up To…
If your competitors are smart they’ll be using social media marketing too.
Unfortunately, that means they get all these great benefits. Fortunately, it means you can see what they’re up to.
By viewing their profile and posts, you can get to know your competition better than ever. Use this to evaluate:
- Which posts are successful and which aren’t
- What their customers’ issues and questions are
- What they’re doing to interact with their audience and what’s working
You can then incorporate what you’ve learnt into your own social media marketing strategy and hopefully learn from their mistakes and improve on their successes.
If it’s your competitors’ social media adverts you’re interested in, then you’re in luck. Since 2018, in the spirit of transparency, you can view ads being run by companies on Facebook and Instagram for free. Facebook even offers an ad library where you can view active advert campaigns across Facebook, being able to search by name, topic and organisation.
It’s never been easier to see what your competitors are doing. Tracking how your competitors are using social media marketing and what is and isn’t working should be an important part of your social media strategy.
TOP TIP: While seeing what your competitors are up to is a great way of improving your own social media marketing, ensure you don’t straight up copy them. Your customers want to see originality in businesses and brands, so strive to be original with the content you post.
So there you go.
Hopefully you’ve learnt lots about social media and social media marketing, and why it is such a powerful and effective tool for businesses when used well.
It’s a win-win for both you and your customers, allowing you to connect with them, and them to feel more connected with you.
Listed here are just some of the many benefits of setting up or improving your social media marketing strategy for your business.
Hopefully you’re excited to go forth into the social media marketing world with confidence that you’re benefiting your business and brand.