It’s no secret social media is a big part of our society. Everywhere you look brands are including their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles on printed materials, billboards and other forms of traditional media. Even one of my favorite shows, New Girl, includes episode-specific hashtags so you can participate in the conversation with other New Girl fans and talk about your favorite moments from the show.
Are you sitting there thinking, “That’s great, but what does this mean for my business?” I hope so, because that brings me to my first point:Having a social media presence will help increase brand awareness.
Recent statistics indicate 52 percent of online adults use two or more social networking sites. So, for you, that means a large percentage of your potential customers are online, ready and willing to interact with businesses on social media.
The bottom line for businesses is and always will be to increase sales. Social media can help businesses increase sales by introducing them to and connecting them with their target market. From here, businesses can position themselves as experts in the industry and provide solutions. Everything businesses do on social media helps increase brand awareness, which can lead to sales.
Secondly, social media allows a dialogue to take place between brands and consumers. Before social media, advertisers just “talked at” customers and potential customers and crossed their fingers folks were paying attention.
Of course, we still see this form of advertising today, and it certainly can be very successful. But social media takes it one step further. You see, with social media, businesses can interact with customers where they already are - online. This allows businesses to quickly gather feedback, gain customer insights, and provide quick and effective customer service.
Now that businesses are having dialogues with people, they now have the opportunity to get more customers, which is the third benefit of social media. Think of it this way: Every post a business makes on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. In fact, 78 percent of small businesses attract new customers through social media.
Of course, it’s important to remember not every interaction results in a sale, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion and increases brand awareness.
The next benefit of a social presence is it can improve SEO. Just like Hall & Oates, social media and SEO work in harmony with one another.
The way social media can improve SEO is simple. Social media activity can act as a "brand signal" to search engines that your brand is legitimate and trustworthy. In fact, Google uses social media accounts like Twitter to discover new content, and they will rank a blog post and website higher if they see it comes from a credible source.
One way Google recognizes a credible source is by looking at a brand's social media influence. Social shares are the new link building, and being social is the fastest way to multiply your presence online. Social media is the primary engine for promoting new content, and as you know, regularly updated websites that have fresh, relevant content are rewarded by search engines.
And finally, businesses need to embrace social media because it’s here to stay. The longer businesses wait to have an active social media presence, the more customers - and money - they miss out on.
Diving headfirst into social media can be intimidating, but with a plan, you will be well on your way to engaging with and finding new customers. To get started, determine your goals, decide which social media sites will work best for your business, and find a dedicated person to actively manage your social presence.