It’s easy to dismiss social media for your business. It can seem difficult and time-consuming to make even a little impact, especially when your timeline is inundated with images of splashy brands, expensive ads, and pages with millions of followers.
But you can’t ignore the facts. Up to 76% of consumers in the United States have purchased a product they saw in a social media post. Meanwhile, 77% of small businesses say they use social media to facilitate sales, marketing, and customer service.
In a world where it is second nature for people to research a company before making a purchase, you simply cannot afford to miss out on these channels. A well-rounded, digital presence is essential to making a good first impression and, more importantly, getting leads and increasing sales.
Read on to see why it’s worth making Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest an indispensable part of your digital strategy.
Think about your online habits. How much time do you spend on social media? Around 59% of people access their social media every day, and over one-third check their social accounts more than five times a day. Those people are using social media to engage the companies they do business with.
Smart Insights found that 63% of customers expect companies to offer customer service on their social media channels, and 90% of social media users already use it to communicate with a brand or business.
Getting started on social media is not only easy, but it’s also free. You don’t need a huge advertising budget to make an impact. You can create high-quality, relevant content for your target audience by leveraging the expertise you already have.
You’re an authority in your space. Convey it through blog posts and tutorials. If you’re consistently posting on your channels, your engagement will go up, and so will the traffic to your site.
Content creation has become easier than ever with simple and short video formats across platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube. Creating videos is personal, simple, effective, and has the best reach among audience.
Social media is also the best medium to interact with your customers. Be proactive in replying to their queries, comments, and feedback on your page, and you’ll steadily see your followers increase.
Once you have a social media foundation built, you can throw a little money into it and start targeting ads to your specific customer demographics. For example, if you have a bakery in Boston, you don’t need to waste money running ads for it in New York City.
If 63% of customers expect companies to offer customer service via their social media channels, it presents ample opportunity for small businesses to interact with individual customers and connect with them in a more personal way than their bigger competitors.
A Hootsuite report states that 69% of US consumers believe that directly messaging a company made them more confident about the brand. Customers who received a response were then willing to spend 3% to 20% more on a future purchase from that business.
Social media can be your most valuable source of inbound marketing––the use of relevant online content to drive prospective customers to your website. Various social media platforms enable you to target specific audiences and share different types of content.
For example, if you have a financial consultancy business, you may find that Instagram is not the best place to prospect new customers, but Facebook and LinkedIn might be perfect. That way, you can ensure that you are bringing in relevant traffic to your website, thereby increasing the chances of converting leads to customers.
Visual content is becoming increasingly popular, with 32% of marketers saying that images are the most important form of content for their business. The good news for a small business is that you don’t need a marketing department with an in-house photographer to make your page a visual treat.
Your smartphone is all you need to post pictures or videos of your storefront, products, employees, and even customer testimonials.
HubSpot found that as a lead generation tool, social media was 100% more effective than more traditional channels such as trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and PPC (pay-per-click) ads to drive traffic to websites.
That may be because social media allows micro-targeting of relevant audiences and gives brands the ability to show their human side.
Real-time interactions with customers will instill faith in your business and make it appear more professional and credible. A study by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media channels have more loyal customers.
Build strong relationships with your customers, and they will turn into brand advocates for you. Up to 71% of consumers who had a good social media service experience with a brand were more likely to recommend it to others. That’s effective, digital word-of-mouth advertising that you don’t have to pay for!
Just like traditional advertising, the more you get your brand in front of a customer, the more likely they are to convert. You aren’t necessarily selling anything to them each time you show up in their feed, but you are building brand awareness and becoming part of their everyday lives.
When they regularly see your content, they begin to develop trust with your company. If they need the product or services you offer, there’s a much higher chance they will come to you instead of your competitor because they are already familiar with your brand.
Here are some creative ways to make social media an integral part of how you communicate.
Make it easy for your customers to find you on social media. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, include your social media handles on signage, and display them prominently in the store.
Make sure every call-to-action (CTA) includes links to your social media accounts. For example, if you’re running a contest or promotion, tell people they can enter by following you and tagging you in a post.
Don’t forget to include social media links in your email signature. This is an often overlooked but very effective way to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your accounts.
Make sure the icons are visible and link to the correct URLs. You can even take it a step further by adding a CTA in your signature, such as “Follow us on Instagram for product updates.”
While the tech-savvy among your customers might be able to quickly search a username and find your company’s Twitter or Instagram page, not everyone is that web-literate.
Include links to your social media accounts in any sales emails you send so they just need a single click to easily find and follow you.
The best way to get started is to simply start posting. Consistency is the most important thing. But if you want your posts to have a little more oomph, try following these tips.
Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build up a following and see results. But if you’re patient and put in the work, social media can be an invaluable asset for your business.
As more and more businesses add resources to social media, some common mistakes have emerged. They are things you should try to avoid or at least consider before launching a campaign of your own.
The term “viral” gets thrown around a lot in social media circles, but the truth is that most content doesn’t go viral. And that’s okay!
To drive meaningful engagement, make sure to focus on these tips:
While social media can be a powerful tool to drive traffic and sales, it also can completely bury a company in negative attention. Some businesses choose to walk right up to the “line” and try to create a bit of controversy. Usually, their luck eventually runs out, and the result is not worth the boost in short-term engagement.
It’s important to remember that social media is a two-way street. If you want people to interact with your brand, you need to be interacting with them as well. Take the time to respond to comments, questions, and reviews—even if they’re negative. Ignoring your audience will only lead to more problems down the road.
If your channel is just a steady stream of advertisements, it will quickly appear as though it is nothing more than a robot behind the curtain. Make sure you are engaging with potential customers who might be in conversations that don’t necessarily include your brand.
Be a presence in the community, and you will soon see an uptick in website traffic, mentions, and leads.
There is a fine line between sinking money into a social media black hole and driving real business results with your digital marketing strategy. The key is to remember that social media should be one part of a larger whole.
Your website, email list, paid advertising, and offline marketing efforts all play a role in building a successful business. But if you’re not using social media to connect with potential customers, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
To learn more about boosting your digital presence, check out our guide to getting your business online!