A lot of business owners and executives are still not 100% sure about the value of social media as a means of improving awareness and sales. However, more and more businesses are experiencing the value of sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media platforms extremely important for both online and in-store sales: 40% of social media users purchase an item online or in-store after sharing or favoriting it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Additionally, social media influences online and in-store purchases roughly equally. (Source: “From Social to Sale,” Vision Critical via Loren’s World)
There are a number of important benefits with social media marketing. Now is the time to get your business on board!
Everyone’s Getting Social
People worldwide are going social every day. You want to be part of the hundreds of millions of people all over the world that are there daily. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are among the most frequently visited sites on the Internet – social media visits have overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web! (Source: Bufferapp.com) It’s time to get serious about your business presence on these sites. Until you do, you will continue to miss out on an incredible opportunity to reach new customers and improve brand awareness.
Your Customers Are There
There is a social media platform for almost every business. No matter what products or services you offer, your customers are most likely on social media. You may be thinking to yourself, “but . . . “
- “my customers are Baby Boomers” – all the more reason to be on social media! According to CBS News, “. . . the number of Facebook users in this country age 55+ grew from roughly 1 million in 2009 to 10 million in 2010.” (Source: Examiner.com)
- “I am a B2B marketer” – Every two seconds, there is a new LinkedIn member. (Source: Bufferapp.com)
- “I don’t sell my products online” – As mentioned earlier in this post, social media is driving in-store (off-line) sales.
Social media is becoming a major resource to people searching for products, services, and brands they love.
What if you had the ability to communicate directly with customers and potential customers? Social media gives you that opportunity! When a customer follows your business on social media, your updates appear in their news feed. Through social media, you provide customers with a venue for contacting you directly. It’s a place for you to have authentic conversations with them. This direct communication benefits your business in several ways:
Engagement and Retention
Businesses can provide different incentives and reasons for people to engage with them on social media: contests, giveaways, crowdsourcing, and any kind of content that gets your fans to interact. This engagement can encourage loyalty and retention.
Brand Building & Awareness
Social media offers you another touch point with your target market, so it’s a great tool for building your brand and establishing your reputation.
Access to Valuable Customer Data
Connecting with your customers via sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook gives you valuable data about them. You can learn your customers’ demographic information, likes, dislikes, and more.
Social Media Best Practices
Start looking at the social media platforms out there, and choose the ones that make most sense for your business. Identify sites where your target market is already active.
Before you dive in and try to do all the social media marketing by yourself, determine if you have both the time and determination to do it. If you are a busy business owner or executive, a better option may be to designate an employee to manage your social media marketing. If you go this route, be sure you have an employee separation plan in place in case the employee leaves the company. This will help ensure your social media profiles remain under company control upon the employee’s departure. Another alternative is to select a social media marketing agency and outsource the work. The benefits here are:
- You don’t lose a critical staff member (who may already be maxed out) to management of your social media.
- You can rest assured, assuming you vetted the agency, that your efforts be handled appropriately to help you meet your online and offline marketing efforts.
It takes time to create and maintain a social media presence. Ensure that you, your staff member, or your agency is setting aside time each day to post content, answer messages, reply to comments, and interact with other businesses.
Are you ready to get your business on social media now? I hope so!