Social media has become a firmly entrenched part of our lives. On a personal level, it affects how we connect with friends and family, find jobs, and share life events. However, the real value of this medium lies in the many benefits of social media marketing for businesses.
On one hand, we’re sure you already know that marketing a brand through social media can be effective. However, there are still plenty of reasons companies put off taking the plunge. For example, maybe you’re worried that your business is too small to make an impact, or the results won’t be worth the time investment.
Instead of waiting for people to find your business, sometimes the most effective strategy is to meet them where they’re already at. This usually means reaching out to them on social media.
Everyone knows social media platforms are popular, but it may not be clear just how ubiquitous they are. For instance, Facebook – still the most used platform – has over 2 billion unique visitors per month. What’s more, in the U.S. alone 88% of those between 18 and 29 use social media, as do 78% of people between 30 and 49.
As such, no matter who your particular audience happens to be, a huge proportion of them are already using social media sites. In other words, you don’t have to wonder how to find new customers for your business – you know exactly where they are.
While there are a lot of people spending time on social media, this is only half the picture. This is because not every platform is used the same way. Because there are so many options, this means different types of users tend to congregate on each one. This is one of the chief benefits of social media marketing.
Doing a little research into social media demographics will make this abundantly clear. For example:
For your business, this means two things. First, if you have a very specific target audience, it’s possible to find the social media platform that appeals to them the most and focus your efforts there. In addition, if you target multiple audiences, you can segment your marketing. In other words, you can create messaging for each platform appealing to its unique user base.
There are many benefits of social media marketing, but for a lot of smaller businesses, this one is the most crucial. If you’re running on a tight budget, you need to find ways you can promote your brand and offerings without breaking the bank.
The good news is that social media is one of the simplest and most cost-effective marketing platforms you can use. In fact, many techniques can be implemented for free. It costs nothing to set up an account on most sites and start posting regularly. You can even share your blog posts or news articles on social media easily, getting twice the mileage out of each piece of content.
Most platforms also offer some form of paid advertisement, and for the most part, these are cheap and simple ways to run a campaign. On Facebook, for instance, the average Cost Per Click (CPC) for advertisements is about $0.48, with a Click-Through Rate (CTR) of 2.36%. Other popular platforms boast similar numbers, which means you can attract quite a few new leads without breaking the bank.
‘Engagement’ is a term you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot lately, and for good reason. Today’s culture – especially online – is all about interaction. People expect to encounter content they can directly engage with, whether this means responding via comments, sharing it, or even providing input of their own.
One of the key benefits of social media marketing is that it’s perfectly suited to promoting this kind of engagement. It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason – these platforms are designed to encourage conversation and sharing.
It might be easy to assume that most of this interaction is on a personal level, but social media users are surprisingly keen to communicate with businesses as well. For example, around 30% of millennials engage with a brand on social media at least once a month, and many ‘follow’ multiple businesses. What’s more, the overall percentage of U.S. adults who engage with companies through social media has grown to almost 80%.
So why does engagement matter so much? Ultimately, it’s important because it increases the chances of your audience members becoming loyal customers. Acquiring new customers can be anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers, so building a sense of community and relationship with your audience is key.
This is even more true when the engagement you offer is personalized to some extent. Most people (80% of consumers) are more likely to purchase from a company if their experience is personalized. Social media enables you to do this, by communicating directly with specific audience members and by segmenting your messaging to offer exactly what each part of your market wants to hear.
Not all the benefits of social media marketing are about directly communicating with customers and increasing sales. There’s also a lot of valuable information you can learn by simply being active on these platforms.
As we’ve discussed, no matter who your target audience happens to be, a lot of them are spending significant chunks of their time on social media. What’s more, they’re not just reading other people’s posts. They’re also actively talking about their daily lives, their likes and dislikes, the things making them frustrated or angry, and so on.
This makes social media platforms invaluable for understanding what’s going on in your potential customers’ minds and lives. If you want to find out what your target audience wants and needs, you don’t have to conduct expensive panels. Instead, you can use social media to both ask them directly, and observe their interactions with other users and brands.
People are very honest on social media. About half of users have complained about a business directly on one of these platforms, and many more are open with the things they’re dissatisfied about. Identifying ‘pain points’ – your potential customers’ problems – thus becomes simple with a little research and patience.
Remember: around 96% of the people who discuss a brand via social media aren’t following their actual profile. Therefore, you’ll need to go outside your current audience to conduct effective research.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember the primary goal of any type of marketing. Ultimately, you want to grow your business by increasing sales and other conversions. As it turns out, one of the benefits of social media marketing is that it’s a perfect vehicle for doing so.
Let’s look at a few numbers to help clarify the impact of social media on conversions:
Social media isn’t just useful for engaging with your audience and building awareness of your brand. It can also help to directly create more sales for your company. We’ve left this point for last because it’s so important, and is the reason no business (large or small) can afford to miss out on the opportunities social media provides.
If you’ve ever wondered why every business seems to be using social media now, it’s not merely an attempt to jump onboard the latest bandwagon. Marketing your brand on social media platforms results in a number of very concrete advantages.
The benefits of social media marketing include (but are not limited to):