If you haven’t been convinced of the value of social media and you still think it’s a waste of time, then maybe you should consider other aspects of social media not related to likes and followers. Let’s face it, businesses are always looking for newer, cheaper and more efficient ways of engaging, selling and assisting their customers. With the explosion of social media in recent years and the more mainstream adaptation becoming the ‘norm’, it’s important not to look just at the commercials, but rather how you can make your business better because of social media sites likes of Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
Here Are 10 Reasons Why Your Business Is Better Because of Social Media
Your community is worth money – To say that you have a social media community that engages with your brand and allows you to provide multiple platforms to directly communicate makes your business more valuable. A company that is up for sale and can show revenue or cost savings from their social engagement has got to be worth more than one that doesn’t. Isn’t this similar to a traditional database of customers and their personal details?
Geographical boundaries are gone – For many businesses, geography and time prevent us from reaching more potential customers. With social media, all you need is an internet connection and a web enabled device to reach your target markets. With mobile internet usage still soaring, you’ve got your customers right in their own pockets too. Your customers don’t have to see your static off-line marketing to see your business.
Audience Mapping – Now, you are able to find out who your customers are, where they live, what they like and don’t like, etc. Now you can focus your marketing energies at the right people. You don’t have to be a multi national with a complex loyalty card or database management system. Using social, you can easily ‘see’ who your customers are and give them the content and information that they want. This can be hugely valuable to businesses that don’t trade online and have no way of capturing customer data.
365/24/7 – The web never sleeps, so the opportunity to engage is also never ending too. This can be seen as challenging, but operating within your normal hours of business should always be a great starting point. Have you ever Googled something and found a businesses’ social media site in the search results? Of course you have. Just another way of increasing your profile and raising awareness of your business online. It’s always great to make a great first impression, so make sure your profiles reflect positively and accurately on what your business offers. You never need to be ‘closed’ again.
Targeted Updates – Want to connect with engaged couples who live near your business, aged between 25-34? Social media can do this for you. It’s way more accurate than newspaper adverts or television and radio infomercials. Only get in front of the people that you want with the message you have created. This ability to target your content means you can be really niche with your offering and still generate great ROI. This is almost impossible or would be very expensive using traditional means.
Social Selling – Ever sold something from your website or from a Tweet or a Facebook post? Almost every business out there can say that they are able to generate revenue and awareness from social media. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away with the selling part. It’s obviously a reason for using social, but striking that balance is very important. When the selling overtakes the community and engagement angle of your message, your community will begin to decrease or disconnect with you. Isn’t it cheaper to offer web related transactions due to the lower overheads? Social is web based too.
Social Measurement – You can now measure everything on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like. You can easily see your content being shared, downloaded and liked. This helps you to better understand how to improve your message and offering. If you know that one particular style or type of content generates ROI, then you can continue to enhance that offering or perhaps add new ones in to reach more people. Knowing what works means that social can provide accurate feedback about your social campaigns. Traditional marketing is expensive and sometimes difficult to accurately measure.
Social Customer Service – The one reason most DON’T use social media; complaints. There’s no need to be scared about using Twitter and Facebook to communicate with your customers. Of course, you can answer questions, offer advice and sell, but you can also ‘save’ customers from going elsewhere when things go wrong. If you are scared that there is going to be some huge backlash from your community, remember this. Social media is not a place that you should be subjected to abuse. That goes for businesses and other organisations as well. Having a sound social media customer service policy ensures that your engagement remains professional and adds value. You can block, ban or remove abusive customers from your social if they are being a wee bit unruly. The same can be applied in the real world. This is an extreme measure, but so is removing an irate customer from your premises.
Social is a wonderful way of listening to your customers and their concerns. The funny things is this, you can actually gain new customers when you handle negativity correctly. This is always a lot cheaper than venue visits or call centre phone ins. Offering great customer service on social is fractional to traditional methods and can be quite popular. Is that one of your advertised USPs?
Real time – It’s happening all around you and in real-time, so you always have an opportunity to be lightening quick or responsive to any communications that come in. I know that I’ve tweeted to several larger transportation companies recently regarding my experiences. All were very quick to respond to my comments. I didn’t need to write a letter, send an email, ring a call centre or visit a venue. The real time interaction really can make a difference. Did anyone watch the Super Bowl this year? One of the funniest things on social ever (in my opinion). What a great way for brands to be social in real time.
It’s public – Your ability to tap into great relationships with your communities allows your business to create great brand ambassadors and fantastic ‘talkers’ in the traditional sense of word-of-mouth marketing. Empowering your customers to talk about your brand and to share their experiences is like gold dust. Social sharing is one of the most valuable assets that social media provides businesses and one of the reasons you see those social sharing tool bars on almost every website these days. Tapping into your customer’s network of friends and family is the Holy Grail of effective social media campaigns. Saying thank you never hurts either.
I’ve always said that the social web is the most amazing and fantastic tool to communicate with your customers and to reach new ones. Don’t think of the opportunity in numbers, think of it in relationships and how positive that can be for your business at just a fraction of the traditional costs. It’s not always about selling directly that generates ROI from social. Sometimes is all about strengthening existing relationships and future proofing your business. Isn’t easier to keep a customer than it is to gain a new one?
I regularly blog on the value that social media adds to human relationships. If you are still not convinced that social media is the answer for your business, give me a call. I’d love to handle that challenge. If you know that you should be using social media but don’t know where to start, then I’d love for you to get in touch as well.