What are the True Advantages of Social Media Marketing?by: Dustin Hawley | Monday February 11, 2019
It is now commonplace in today's business landscape for a company or brand to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms. But the word 'presence' can be a very subjective term. So aside from your company simply having a social media account, does your business experience the maximal benefits from the time, investment, and energy it makes in social media? Are you satisfied with the fruits of these labors?
Social media is still a relatively fresh newcomer to the marketing scene in the grand scheme, so it's understandable that many decision makers still have doubts on if it has tangible benefits for business use. And some who maybe have come to terms with its importance and value, simply don't have the knowledge, experience, or insight to confidently invest in it to the fullest extent. Perhaps it's a reflection of general human nature. Many people fear the unknown.
With so many skills to learn, knowledge to attain and networks to choose from, it can feel risky or even discouraging, to justify investing resources and allocating budgets into social media management. Admittedly, the process can be very time-consuming, and to say the social media space is competitive would be the understatement of the year. Thousands of other businesses are also vying for the attention span of consumers, which is shorter and more valuable to a business than ever. And we haven't even touched on shifts in algorithms and platform usage changes.
Long story short, social media marketing is a multi-faceted tactic that requires both a large time investment and an equally large investment in learning best practices. On the flip side, there is tremendous upside and organic rewards that come with social media marketing, when it's done right. Record web traffic numbers, massive engagement with potential customers, authentic brand evangelism and a genuinely delighted customer base who visibly support you in public forums are just some of the many benefits of social media. So what are the true advantages of Social Media Marketing?
Social media is free to use
Social media doesn't cost a penny sign-up for or participate in, for that matter. It also demands no financial investment in terms of ad spend if the business you’re working with simply isn’t convinced to invest budget into this tactic. There's no denying the impact that spending money on advertising can have on accelerating the pace of your brand growth. Money can certainly help get you to your goals faster, but copious budgets are often wasted on social media, which in turn contributes to the narrative that decision-makers still may not be convinced that social media marketing provides a return on investment.
In reality, it doesn’t matter. Budget isn't the only way to gain traction with your social efforts. You can drive and demonstrate success through social media organically, provided you take some intelligent tactical approaches. Ensure your social posts are always high quality, and tailor your messaging for each social media platform, using unique images and videos.
Social media can also be utilized to develop meaningful partnerships and support your wider outreach strategy by showing some love to key influencers and complementary businesses. If you stay consistent and don't stop investing time and effort, you will begin to see the true benefits of social media marketing.
It helps shape the personality of a brand
Social media presents an ideal opportunity for brands who may not be as "exciting" as others, to use these marketing channels to create or add to their personality online. Excellent content paired with an active presence and a captivated audience on social can increase brand awareness and potentially, even attract new customers. How can your followers possibly enjoy consuming your content if you don’t enjoy creating it?
A majority of marketers may not have the good fortune of managing social media for a visibly exciting brand. But if your thought process leads you to think to yourself “How the hell do I make my financial advisory company appealing on social media?”, there’s plenty of similar businesses that you can take inspiration from. Analyze what your competitors are doing, as well as other brands in similarly snooze-worthy verticals, and ask yourself what you can do to make that same brand appear more fun and accessible to your audience. You can also use online tools and third-party software assets to find and create great ideas for content.
Increased Brand Awareness
Building a social media presence can help grow your reputation as a professional or business in your specific niche. There are countless social media platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, that allow you to reach networks that may have previously seemed impossible to connect with. Every single comment, share or like is essentially another new consumer that your business is interacting with, and this can eventually translate into substantial customer base growth. Potential customers can also determine a lot about a business by how lively their social media activity is. Businesses who can convert buyers through social media create more loyal fans and customers, plain and simple.
Boosted Search Engine Rankings
Having a social media profile is much like having a website. So researching applicable keywords with high search volumes, and using those keywords on your page’s content, will help boost your search rankings and bring in more traffic.
In fact, social media - and particularly content shares - have grown to become more valuable in the search-engine optimization (SEO) context than ever before. On-page SEO signals, in addition to content that receives a high number of shares, provides websites with rankings boosts on those pages, which could be the difference-maker if you’re in a particularly competitive vertical. And there's more! Many marketers may be unaware that tweets now display in Google Search results, which can assist you in both gaining social proof, as well as attract prospects to learn more about the brands. Social presence combined with SEO optimization benefits can provide vast opportunities for growing your brand online.
Receive Almost Instant Feedback
Social media allows businesses to receive instant positive or negative feedback from consumers. It has helped to shorten the time between knowing whether a campaign or product is successful or not. So businesses now have an opportunity to respond to and resolve problems faster than ever before. In addition, businesses also have an affordable way of promoting their products and services on social media. And to target those promotions towards specific users at the right time. For example, companies can launch a Facebook ad campaign that targets users based on their age, location, interests, or the group they belong to and get instant feedback on how these campaigns are faring. This deep insight can provide you with invaluable feedback for tailoring your campaigns to your target demographic, and also optimize your content to achieve it's best possible results.
Builds Customer Loyalty
Customers who feel like they have a way to access you if they have questions - and feel like you genuinely care about their opinions - become more loyal to your brand over time. Social media marketing allows you to develop ongoing relationships with your fans and followers each time you post, share or respond to a status update or video. In today's market, developing a personal relationship and trust with your customers is absolutely vital to achieving and maintaining an engaged customer base.
Humanize your brand
A UK study from Trinity Mirror Solutions found that more than half of adults do not trust a brand until they see “real-world proof” that the brand is keeping its promises.
You’ve got to show the human side of your brand to connect with customers—and potential customers—on social media. How are you embracing your brand values? Are you looking out for the best interests of your customers and employees? Does your product really work? The ability to create a real human connection is one of the key benefits of social media for business. The industry refers to these as 'Meaningful Relationship Moments'.
Introduce your audience to the people who make up your company, and showcase how existing customers are using and benefiting from your products. A social media advocacy and brand ambassador program can also be a great way to humanize your brand.
People are talking about your brand, whether you like it or not. It doesn't matter whether you're initiating or involved in these conversations or not. They are occurring nonetheless. But when you're “doing social right,” you'll have an active social listening plan in place, which enables you to pick up on and track where and when these conversations are taking place. Join the conversation - not only as an outsider looking in but as an active, engaged member of each community.
Are you finding that people are saying something that isn’t true about your company? Share your side of the story in a polite and professional manner. Just the same, when people are talking up your brand, find ways to thank them, both publicly and personally. You need to be steering the dialogue and sentiment of your brand in the direction of your choosing, as it pertains to social media. Letting your customers dictate the tone of the conversation around your brand is a dangerous game with the potential to bring lasting negative effects to your brand image, if not managed with tact.
Establish Expert Authority
The more and more you publish informative content on social media, the more you begin to establish your business as a credible source of information, and also an authoritative account on social media. Sharing content on social media that brings value to your users will establish your brand or business as a credible resource in the online space. With a consistent approach and focus on providing value with your content, people will start referring to your account when seeking information in your domain. Companies like RedAlkemi publish content on digital marketing and are considered a highly credible source of information on platforms like LinkedIn.
It goes without saying that there are more than enough benefits of social media to make it worth your while. The benefits we covered in this article are just a few from the almost endless list of advantages that social media marketing can provide for your brand. As a reminder, our influencer marketing agency caters to all of our clients’ needs, we aren’t simply an influencer marketing company. So what are you waiting for?
Grow and Measure your Brand’s Social Engagement with the Influencer Marketing Agency of the Year