Remember when people said social media was just a fad? Its power has become clear – and it continues to grow, with no end in sight.
Once a communication experiment consisting of more question marks than loyal supporters, social has evolved into a vast catalog of global tools that can do a multitude of tasks for people, brands, and businesses.
For businesses, social media has created a way to send a brand’s messaging to the right people at the right time. If your content stands enough to get them interested, it can drive traffic, sales, and even long-term loyalty.
That’s why leveraging social media for your business is a no-brainer.
Here are the top 14 reasons why it’s imperative for businesses to be on social media, and how it can help ensure your brand’s success.
1. Faster, Easier Communication
Customers can contact a customer service representative faster and easier now than ever before thanks to social media.
Businesses can also receive, review, and respond to customers’ grievances faster and easier than ever before.
Depending on the industry and the grievance, challenges certainly still remain, but the line of communication that once was somewhat challenging to establish is no longer nearly as difficult to do so.
It’s faster now than ever before to contact the right people, oftentimes without having to even pick up a phone.
And it’s only becoming easier as more people and brands use social media platforms to keep in contact with the people that matter most to their business.
Customers can now communicate real feedback in real-time via reviews and chat, something businesses have strived to achieve for a long time.
2. Social Makes Your Brand More Relatable
One of social media’s greatest qualities is its ability to humanize the brands people use the most throughout their lives.
Not only does it give a brand a likeliness and vibe, but it makes it more relatable too.
Our lives feel much more at ease with a highly qualified board of parents, nurses, teachers, and doctors being the brainchildren of the new backpack made to ease tension on young kids’ backs and shoulders.
Same for the engineers, scientists, and safety experts building our everyday transportation vehicles.
And same for the butcher down the street who spends 12 hours a day chopping meat and helping customers. You’re going to trust (and sometimes even enjoy) getting your meat and poultry from him/her.
These are the experts of their crafts, but they’re also humans just like you and me.
It’s human instinct for us to take care and lean on one other. And who better to do that to than the best at their trade — or at least a hard-working, knowledgeable person just like you.
Social media lets us share those images and portrayals to build a following of customers and fans that can last a lifetime.
3. Social is Great for Promoting Content
One way to get that humanization of a brand out there is through the major promotion of quality content.
Brands sharing valuable content with the right people is always going to be an enormous differentiator from those brands that don’t at all or simply miss the mark in doing so.
Show who your brand is, what makes it unique and memorable, and what drives your brand to achieve its goals each day, month, and year.
This doesn’t stop at cool and catchy photos either.
Think outside the box.
What about a homemade meme that perfectly articulates the not-so-perfect dilemmas that plague your industry?
How about a Spotify playlist made by your team to get through those exhausting days?
A video of the crazy day-to-day routine at your company could be a great inside look at what goes into keeping your brand successful — and having a little bit of the brand’s character shine through surely wouldn’t hurt.
The ideas are endless.
But keep them on par for your audience and remember the goals of building that relationship with your customers and promoting your brand for what it is authentically.
4. Reputation Management
Upholding – and surpassing – expectations as a brand goes a long way with each individual that engages with that brand at any level.
Of course, promoting and sharing great content is one way a brand can attract people, as well as keep them loyal to the brand, but that being likable is only going to go so far.
Businesses are going to have bad experiences. It’s part of life.
The idea is to greatly minimize those “bad” experiences and capitalize on them by learning and reacting. Social media is the ideal place to do that.
And the companies that understand that and embrace that stand out above the rest, always.
Lines of communication are simplified and kept as formal or informal as either party deems. Customers just want to be treated fairly and properly. Social media gives us a simple way to achieve that.
5. Generate Leads Directly & Indirectly
Most marketers and business owners know that social media is a great tool to let people get to know and even understand a brand, but it can still be a great driver for leads, too, both directly and indirectly.
It seems obvious but is overlooked far too often. Make sure it is easy for people to convert through all of the social media platforms used by your brand.
As social media platforms have evolved over the years, they have become more and more powerful for driving leads, with most of the platforms eventually adding clear calls-to-action to brand pages, posts, and more.
If the platform hasn’t yet evolved toward the paid/marketing aspect of a network, it’s likely only a matter of time.
New innovations for driving leads arise all the time, too.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat have gone through updates to help display CTAs for brand accounts where businesses can showcase products and services offered.
This makes real sales from within the platform more common than ever before.
Social media platforms have also added other CTAs to profile landing pages in addition to the standard Follow and Message buttons seen on most accounts.
6. Networking & Partnerships
Building and maintaining relationships is such a significant part of nearly everything we do as humans.
From jobs, friendships, partnerships, volunteer organizations, and most anything else that requires teamwork and the collective power of that team, social media has made it that much easier to maintain – and develop – real relationships.
Social media makes it that much easier to do.
It’s a lot more normalized now, but when Twitter first became popular, especially among movie stars, athletes, and other famous people, it suddenly because strangely easy to communicate with our heroes and idols.
7. Thought Leadership
Voice your brand’s expert opinion on popular, trending, or breaking news to stay in the conversation – and lead it when you can.
In addition to the simplified lines of communication, there’s the aspect of general availability.
Let’s face it: there is a small part of the world’s population that it would be nearly impossible for most average humans to ever directly communicate with without the right kind of help (publicist, agent, etc.).
Also consider actors and actresses, athletes, and other high-profile people most of us Average Joes would never be able to interact with.
Social media helps connect us easier than ever before.
Heck, even politicians and policymakers have been incredibly available – and often faced with backlash – thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
And while this makes for a fun experience when you get a “follow back” from former President Barack Obama or a retweet from your favorite rock band, it also holds endless potential for networking and partnerships that will help your brand in a multitude of ways.
Backlinks, shoutouts, increased referral visits, and increased branding are just some of those ways.
Building quality relationships becomes a lot easier with the streamlined communication we get from social media, and relationships with key influencers can earn a lot of value for your brand.
Some examples of the added value these connections facilitate are:
- Trust from others’ networks and audience members.
- The acquisition of quality backlinks (that offer SEO boost as well as, hopefully, an increase in referral visitors).
- Potential business opportunities.
8. Boost Organic Visibility
There’s so much potential value to be unlocked through social media, aside from the networking and partnership-produced backlinks.
It’s important to understand how social media affects SEO as well.
Google has repeatedly said that social media likes, favorites, shares, backlinks, etc. are not direct ranking signals – but there is a correlation between social media activity/popularity and how/why it is ranked by search engines.
So, even though social media shares don’t serve as actual, full-value backlinks, the people, brands, and webmasters/marketers who see your brand’s content via social media may very well link to your brand’s content (since it’s quality content offering real value), and those backlinks hold real value.
9. Increase Website Traffic
Social media channels are supplemental to the brand’s website and (if there is one) its brick-and-mortar location.
Social media is intended to reach different audiences in a personable, useful, and entertaining way and refer those potential customers you may not have ever had the chance to engage with previously to get to know and try your business.
This works well in all cases when done correctly.
It also is another way to feed customers and potential customers to the website (or brick-and-mortar location where the magic happens). Or both if the journey is paved for them.
Have a background story to a viral video posted on Facebook or YouTube? Send people there for the explanation.
Maybe you have a new product you’re showing on Instagram? Take a deep dive into that product (with internal and external links, accompanying images and video, etc.) on the website so people can fully understand it and know whether they may want to buy it.
There are a lot of ways to drive users to a brand’s website for valuable, useful reasons. Let social media be the vehicle that helps do that.
10. Customer Feedback
In the world of business, sales, and profits, regardless of what your industry is and who you are marketing and selling to, the focus must truly be on the customer.
Success, both digitally and traditionally, is achieved by understanding – and delivering – the best quality customer service possible while doing everything in your power to ensure your customers and potential customers have the best possible experience with your company.
Of course, the product or service being sold should be one of good quality, trustworthiness, and fulfillment. But there are always going to be unhappy customers, too.
How we respond to the customers – regardless of how “good” or “bad” their feedback may be – is imperative to a business’s online success and its longstanding reputation.
Social media helps us maintain that reputation by giving us a means to directly interact with our customers like we never have before.
That also means we are receiving real customer feedback directly from the source, faster than ever before (and usually much more raw, too).
Businesses should be using this amazing opportunity to build their brand as a true, consumer-first operation.
11. Impress Potential Customers
Keeping in line with maintaining your brand’s respected reputation is the opportunity to impress potential customers with how you’ve handled other, typically unrelated customer interactions.
People often turn to – even rely on – social media and online review sites to get a good idea of just who a company truly is.
Just like marketers, consumers are using social media as a tool to help them make better purchases and decisions in general.
On average, people take into account 10 reviews of a local business before making a purchasing decision.
This gives potential customers the chance to see that businesses truly care about their customers even after they’ve made the sale that is so important to them and their business’s success.
While branding essentially involves each numbered entry listed in this column, it’s important to stress it as one of (if not the) most valuable capabilities of social media.
You may not see as high of a conversion rate via social media (depending on the business and sales structure) as you do other marketing mediums (paid search, organic search, etc.).
But the impression a brand gives off and the reputation it built can be greatly enhanced and showcased through social media.
Messaging across social platforms allows us to talk about what’s most important to our customers. It lets us train them to keep our brand top of mind when those important buying decisions need to happen.
Each platform is different in terms of what it does well, the demographics of the audience using it, and the kind of content (and timing of its publishing) you see posted regularly. Each brand’s messaging should be tailored accordingly.
And while your business’s conversion rate is likely going to be lower on social media than it is via email marketing or paid search, your business goal is always going to be conversions. Maximizing them on all available channels is really the name of the game.
Here are some tips for increasing social media conversions.
During a business’s branding journey across social media, you’re able to talk about what’s important to the brand and its customers. Tell your brand’s story; build the legend as what it’s worth to the people who have devoted their lives to building it.
Share your passion and let others understand and support your brand. That is the real power of social media, and the biggest impact social media has on most brands.
You can show off your brand culture and personality, stand out among the rest for the traits that make your brand different and attract new, quality employees, and further improve your business even more.
13. Track Your Competition
Social media channels also allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of not just other marketing tactics and practices, but also with the tactics used by direct competitors.
And we can learn a lot from our competition.
No one is perfect, and we can all learn something. The ultimate goal is having the customer understand us and depend on us for our authoritative approach within our niche over our competition.
Our competitors are aiming to do the same things as us (establish and protect brand reputation and ultimately sell its products/services).
Therefore, it’s worth monitoring and finding ways our business can do better to educate and entertain users, as well as the things our brand does well, and ways we can get better across the board.
14. User-Generated Content & Crowdsourcing of Ideas
User-generated and crowdsourced content isn’t just free and unique; it can also be incredibly powerful.
The larger the audience, the more potential the content has to really impact a brand and its messaging.
Brands will receive and be able to (usually) use this sometimes-quality content – videos, images, infographics, memes, etc. – with proper permission, of course.
Social media allows us to ask for this user-generated content, then receive it directly, but there is quite a bit going in between all of that, too.
Most brands will have people post their content with specific hashtags.
So, the brand isn’t just receiving the content; the content is actually being posted throughout social networks – being seen by each person’s network individually, as well as the brand and its network.
Getting the Most Out of Social Media
Each business has different goals and ways it measures success.
Social media can help achieve those goals, but it’s important to use each network in ways that help your brand succeed.
Every brand is different. Help yours shine on social media by implementing the tips above.
Featured image: Irina Strelnikova/Shutterstock