In 2016, it’s estimated that around 2.25 billion people will be actively using social networks around the globe. This total has almost doubled in the last four years and social media has become a central focal point in our everyday lives. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and Snapchat have given us the opportunity to keep up to date and communicate with our friends and family at any time of the day or night. While most people will see these platforms as just a personal activity, the business potential of the online social market can not be ignored.
Studies show that people are spending, on average, an hour per day on social media, meaning that there’s a huge window for direct selling of businesses and services through these outlets.
1. It creates a more personable way to communicate with your clients.
Sometimes nothing beats talking one on one with your client. A customer talking to a big business can be a daunting prospect. Responding quickly through social networks can create a much more informal conversation which will put them at ease. This allows businesses to be more empathetic, building a rapport with both existing and new clients through the medium.
Word of mouth is a key selling tool and any good feedback and conversations you have over social media can quickly spread and be seen on a much wider scale.
2. It’s a global promotion tool.
During December, Facebook and Twitter had a combined average of around 1.9 billion active visitors throughout the month. Big brands are not ignoring the enormous audience potential that social media presents them with.
A great example, during the last quarter, was John Lewis’s social strategy to work alongside their Man on the Moon television advert. The hashtag #ManOnTheMoon was utilised across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to push content relating to the TV ad, such as behind the scenes content. This encouraged online users, familiar with the ad, to share and engage with the content. Despite the TV ad being pushed predominantly in the UK, the use of social media made sure that people around the world were aware of the ad and the story behind it, shown by the 23 million views the ad has on YouTube.
Their strategy was focused around ultimately raising brand awareness and driving traffic to their 2015 Christmas Advert microsite. Once there, the customer is encouraged to visit a store in person, download an app, purchase relevant products, donate to Age UK, with links back to the John Lewis social accounts throughout. By creating a captivating social campaign, with sharable content, John Lewis had led online users to their products and given them reason to spend their money.
3. Actively using social media can improve your search engine rankings.
Your website may be optimised for Google and you’re regularly updating your blog to encourage the search engine to crawl over your website. However, Google is always actively changing its requirements, and due to the popularity of the platforms, they’re now increasingly taking your social activity into account when placing your business in their rankings.
Your accounts act as a verifier for Google that demonstrates that you’re a legitimate, credible and trustworthy company. With such a focus on social media from Google, they will increasingly be taking your social communications into account when assigning you to keywords, meaning that if you want to be associated with a particular set of keywords, then social is an effective way to make sure you appear in those search results.
4. It doubles up as a quick and easy market research tool.
When looking to become an industry leading business, keeping up, or ahead, of your competitors is essential. Because of this, market research becomes one of your strongest allies. Due to the widespread usage of social media, the chances are that your competitor is already using social media as part of their marketing strategy. If they’re not, then it’s time for you to start and talk to the billions of potential customers that they’re failing to communicate with.
If they’re active on social media, your accounts could become a tool for viewing their activity and pinpointing gaps that you could focus on. If their strategy isn’t particularly effective, your approach could set yourself apart from your competition and allow you to appeal as an industry leader to new customers.
5. You can improve your customer service and inspire trust.
Many businesses are looking to gain a one on one access point to communicate with their customers. Due to the sheer amount of daily active users, social media should be your first port of call for speaking directly with your customers. Many brands will utilise the platform for customer services, encouraging feedback, both positive and negative, which can be addressed either publicly or privately via direct messages. By dealing with customer feedback in a public forum, a larger audience will view you in a positive light and this can lead them to mention your business to their followers, giving you an organic endorsement.
Many online users are using social media to gauge their trust of a brand, a product or a service. Studies have shown that around 46% of users will get advice on buying a product through social media. The open nature of social environments mean users will talk about their experiences with your business whether you’d like them to or not. It’s up to you to be there to engage with their feedback and turn it into a positive marketing tool for your brand.
The world’s gone social, are you ready to engage?
The meteoric rise in recent years has demonstrated that social media is here to stay. The longer you wait to join the social marketplace, the more you stand to lose. Businesses are already out there engaging with your potential customers and without a proactive social marketing approach, you could get left behind. When done right, your online marketing strategy could lead to more customers, more traffic and, ultimately, more money in your pocket.
If you’re ready to embrace the social revolution and would like to talk in more detail about how social media could increase your customer base, please call the studio on 0191 221 2277, or get in touch.