Social Media has become a treasure trove for businesses. Social media has altered the way businesses conduct their affairs. Social Media has shortened the distance between brands and their audiences. With a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can complete numerous business activities in minutes.
The place of social networking for businesses cannot be overstated. Businesses do not seek to solve problems with their every move anymore. They are learning to dedicate their attention to connecting with their audience by way of personable interactions.
Businesses are taking particular interest in building their image on social media. There is a newfound appreciation of the ability of social media to catapult a brand’s outcome from their relationship-building effort.
Businesses no longer want to appear too formal or conservative; rather they want to appear interactive, engaging and convivial. Businesses now place great premium in their abilities to speak the language of Social Media, to engage their social media audience.
What is the Social Media Audience Like?
Regardless of the sector you operate in, your audience on social media is impatient. They are skim through posts and contents in seconds. There is too much content to consume than time allows.
So, if you want to keep them on your platform for long, your content must be attention-grabbing, interactive and fun.
Your contents should be concise, illustrative and mostly question-based to inspire the readers’ curiosity. This curiosity will have them wanting to stay longer, know more, interact, comment, make suggestions or give feedback.
For example, if I were to share this article on social media, I would title it; “What are some ways social media is changing the way businesses interact with their online audience? How can businesses maximize business opportunities from social media?” Followed by a link (which is the call-to-action) and an illustrative banner.
Social media users aren’t thinking about business or work most of the time. They are interested in whatever replaces their boredom with fun. So, if you want to attract, delight and engage your online audience your business will require a strategy. An informal, social one.
A strategy of creating contents that are humorous and relatable.
You will need to go out of your way to offer something real and interactive.
You have to initiate discussions, encourage contributions, sustain a conversation, build relationships, respond to comments or question asked, and appreciate contributors.
Why Your Business Needs Social Media?
- Brand Visibility
If you desire your brand to be known in this inbound age, you will have to start with establishing your presence on social media. It is cheap. It is easy. It is fast. It is arguably the best channel to build audience, followership and visibility for your brand.
When you think of global coverage for your business, think social media. It is your best shot at penetrating the global market currently. Social media gives you a universal presence on a platter. as a result contents on social media platforms can be seen across nations. Facebook alone has over 2.6 billion active users, while Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter have hundreds of million subscribers. What an asset and marketing arsenal this could be to your business.
When you share contents on the social media platforms you are not only getting engagements- likes, shares and comments- but you are also bringing visitors to your site which in turn helps boost brand visibility. The more followers, shares and likes you have, the more brand visibility you will get.
When customers are satisfied with your business, social media makes it easy for them to share and recommend. As a result, of its very nature, social media is a place where content goes viral. Your social media campaign is an effective tool for creating and building your brand awareness In fact, it is the word-of-mouth of the digital age.
2. Online User Engagement
Social media offers your business the opportunity to communicate with customers in a real-time, informal and personal way. It is a great platform business can use to build relevant communities and convert them into loyal customers.
Social media has proven to be the most effective and easiest channel through which businesses can engage and collect feedback from customers. Customers on social media can be bold and objective most times and businesses need such objectivity in collecting feedback and reviews.
How you respond to these bold and objective comment matters. Do not take on the defensive, rather show empathy and understanding, show that your value each customer no matter how matter negative they may appear.
Records show that a customer considers social media as a preferred means for customer support as they usually get a quick response from businesses.
3. Reputation/Credibility Building:
Did you know that 86% of customers would pay more for services from a company with a good online reputation? It takes trust to build a business. More so, individuals may not be too eager to invest in a new business venture. Building a reputation for one’s business requires constant social engagement with consumers which can easily be achieved via social media.
Use your social media profile to tell your brand story, people are likely to connect more with a positive, inspiring narrative. Instead of bombarding your audience with product and services, share your company’s moments, create memories, post events and proclaim the good news about the things your company is doing already.
4. Traffic Generation:
Have you ever been to a motor park? If you have been there, I bet you might have noticed someone directing people on to a particular bus. Social media is like these ‘local motor conductors’ at the motor park who shouts (signals, directs) to passengers going to a particular destination to board a particular bus- his own bus. Without the ‘local conductor’ (social media) connected to a bus (website), it becomes very hard, a slow and stressful process for the driver (webmaster) to get passengers to that bus (website). Social media is like this local conductor whose function is to signal (redirect, link back) your target audience to a website through the contents and links you share.
Whether the goal is to increase your business online visibility; increase customer base; sell a product; or to rank top in the SERP, it requires traffic to your website to achieve this and social media is one cost-effective channel that can generate traffic to your website.
According to Search Engine Land, about 5% of traffic to a website comes from social media sites
Of course, this may appear small but it should not be taken for granted because your business needs every traffic it can get.
How do you generate this traffic?
Social media web traffic is generated when someone clicks on a link on a social media platform that takes them to your website or by someone sharing that social media content with someone else who then clicks on it and it takes them to your website. The important thing here is to have a high amount of social media following, great and engaging contents, links, lots of shares and comments.
According to Alexander Tachalova of Moz, when comparing Search Marketing niche blogs and Social Media Marketing blogs, the author found out that SMM focused blogs perform better in organic search than Organic search marketing-focused blogs. The high levels of engagement SMM blogs receive from social media allow them to get more backlinks and referral traffics, which in turn helps them to rank higher organically. Now, this brings us to the next point- link building.
5. Link Building & Site Authority
Having inbound and backlinks to your website helps build site authority. The stronger the site authority the more chances there are for that content to rank top in Google SERP. Although, links from social media are considered as ‘no follow’ and are not counted as links that will boost site authority, if a web page is accessible to Google and contains a link, the link can be crawled. So when more people tweet a link about your website, make a pin on Pinterest, or share a link to your site via Facebook, WhatsApp, or any social media platform the more opportunities Google has to discover and index pages on your site.
6. Social Commerce:
Social commerce is when social media channels are used to make more personalized and targeted shopping experience for customers. Put simply, it’s the activity of buying and selling on social media. We don’t just use social media to share branded contents and grow followers, nowadays, small and big businesses alike are leveraging social media platforms to promote and sell products/services.
Facebook and Instagram have developed an eCommerce shopping capability, which if tapped into can lead to an increase in sales and web traffic.
Social commerce not only increases sales revenue for a business, but it also offers an alternative digital channel for selling/sales conversion and useful for collecting data on customers’ buying behaviour.
7. Customer data
In this data-driven world, access to accurate up-to-date robust information about the customer is a key distinguishing factor for leading businesses. Having the right information about your target audience may be all you need to increase your sales revenue and/or achieve set goals.
Social media helps you narrow down your target audience. Customer data includes your target audience demographic (age, gender, location), preferences, needs, expectations, networks, and interest. This information can be helping your business understand your customers’ need, how and where to meet their needs. The insightful data that can be gotten from social media can be very helpful in creating a buyer persona for your website. This buyer persona, in turn, will inform your integrated digital marketing campaign, email marketing strategy and keyword research.
There are tools you can use to achieve this process; some of these social media tools include Alexa, Similar Web, Follower wonk, Google trend, and Quantcast. These tools will help you find your target market, collect and analyze customer data about your target audience, narrow down your potential buyers with their demographic data.
Social media have gone beyond the mere posting and/or sharing of one’s personal and social moments in text, images or videos. Businesses, big and small are tapping into the huge potential of social media to promote their brand and market their products/services. In fact, the use of social media has taken the conduct of business to a different pedestal. Businesses are adjusting to trends, setting new social rules and policies, pushing the boundaries and going out of their way to not only meet the customer needs but to engage them in a personable and engaging way.