Social media is a vital part of any modern marketing strategy; no matter what the size or shape of your business, having an active presence on one or more social media platforms is important to be able to interact directly with your target audience, your customers, raise your brand and company profile, help your search engine rankings, and promote your products and services.
These are some of the benefits of social media, so let’s dive in and explore them in more detail.
Social media is more than just cat pictures
Social media is a huge part of people’s lives today. Whether it’s celebrating birthdays, catching up with old friends, sharing pictures of your holiday, or checking in at a new restaurant, just about everything we do is shared on a social media channel.
There are lots out there to choose from, each with its own unique approach: Instagram is a great place to share visual content; LinkedIn helps people network and talk about business; and Twitter is an ‘of the moment’ news broadcast platform.
With social media playing such a big role in how we share and consume content, there’s never been a better time for businesses to make the most of it.
However, despite the numerous benefits of social media, it’s can be a tough sell to convince business owners that they’re missing out on a large stage to shout about their business, products and services.
To help explain a little more about why it’s a great idea for your business to take the leap, let’s take a look at five of our top benefits of social media.
Benefit 1: interact directly with your customers old and new
We live in the age of on demand, instant gratification. Amazon Prime offers us immediate dispatch on products and our TV and film consumption is driven more and more through on-demand services such as Netflix and Now TV.
Because of this, we expect to be able to reach out to companies online and have our queries answered and our problems addressed sooner rather than later.
In fact, Facebook introduced a response rate indicator (see screenshot) to business pages so visitors can see, at a glance, what percentage of messages are answered and how long responses take.
As a business owner, being able to interact with your customers and prospects directly on a platform they prefer is a fantastic opportunity to increase your leads, show off your expertise and delight your customers right from the start.
Benefit 2: raise your brand and company profile
People spend a lot of time on social media. Whether they’re waiting for a bus, have a spare few moments between meetings, or just want a quick check in, you can be certain that the average person will be active on at least one social media platform, at least a few times a day.
This means that they’re more likely to encounter your business on social media than other channels, such as organic searching via Google.
They can find you in a number of ways:
- Suggested pages / profiles
Networks like Facebook offer suggestions for what you should look at next, whether that’s a new page, piece of content, and so on. If people are looking at a lot of content to do with motorsport, for example, your business page selling motorsport parts might well be recommended viewing.
- Paid advertising reach
Most online companies these days make their revenue from selling adverts; social media channels are no exception. For a small investment you can pay the likes of Facebook or Twitter to promote your content, website, profile page, etc. to the masses. These posts appear naturally in users’ timelines and are another great avenue to reach your potential customers and help raise awareness of your company or brand.
- Natural search
Again, being heavily active on social media means that people quite likely to make that their first port of call to search for pages, people, and services. By having an active presence on social media, you can be confident that when someone searches for products and services you offer, you’ll be one of the results shown to them.
People are more likely to research your company on social media to see what happens behind the scenes and to build a more complete picture of how your business operates.
Benefit 3: help with your search engine rankings
Google themselves released a video that stated that social signals (things like Facebook likes and Twitter followers) do not affect your search engine rankings. This can undermine some of the argument for having a popular social media profile as it doesn’t directly affect your website search rankings.
That said, given that you can effectively buy followers and Likes, it makes sense that these factors alone shouldn’t influence where you appear in search results.
However, if we dig a little deeper you’ll see that having a strong social presence can positively affect your search engine status and help you grow your organic traffic as well as get found more easily on Google, Bing, and other search engines, just in ways you might not have realised.
Popular links get shared and this matters
Profile pages and some posts on social media are indexed and often appear in search results.
So, people searching for your company, or the services it offers might well be served your social media profile page before anything on your website or blog.
By not having a strong social profile, describing accurately what you do, you could be missing out on new visitors.
Popular pages and posts drive website traffic
The more popular your social media channels, the more people you’ll be able to send to your blog, website or online shop via relevant posts on those social channels. Because the people following the links are interested in what you do, they’re more likely to stay on your site longer to see what you have to offer them.
The amount of traffic your website has and the length of time people spend on your website both have influence over the ranking of your website against others. Both these factors can indicate the relevance of your website over another; it people stay on your site longer, it follows that your content is offering them a solution that they find more helpful and relevant.
Alternative backlink sources
When you hear people talk about search engine optimisation (SEO), you’ll definitely hear some talk about backlinks. Backlinks are quite literally that: links from another website back to your website, blog post, or other content.
They’re not the only thing that matters when it comes to SEO, but having more quality links to your website will definitely help you appear higher up the search listings.
One way to help grow the number of links to your site is to promote your content on social media. The more it gets shared the more links you’re likely to gain to your site from other websites or online sources.
Benefit 4: promote your products and services
All businesses promote their products and services and I’m sure your business already has all the details out there on a website or other materials, such as printed leaflets.
However, a lot of these sorts of promotional activities rely on visitors finding and sticking around on your website, or people reading leaflets posted through their door. That’s a big ask.
The trick that businesses often miss is being able to shout about a new product, service or promotional offer and have their customers be notified in a way they want to be notified that isn’t pushy or interruptive.
Here’s where social media can help. By encouraging people to follow your business on social media, you can post about new products and services and these will appear in people’s timelines as part of their normal experience. If they’re interested they can investigate further - this is where driving them to your website to find out more is a great idea.
What’s more, paid social advertising allows you to target specific groups of people with specific interests to make sure your adverts are seen by people more likely to engage with you and purchase. This powerful targeting makes your advertising budget go further and your ROI much higher.
If you’d like to explore paid social media advertising, we have a great downloadable guide to getting started.
Benefit 5: take your networking online
Networking is still an important part of any marketing strategy. It can take time to perfect your pitch and start seeing results, but over time it allows you to raise your profile and establish your business as an expert in its field.
One of the benefits of social media is that certain social channels allow you to take your networking activities online. By using LinkedIn groups to start discussions with other business professionals, or joining in with various networking Twitter hours, you can enjoy the same results as traditional networking, but reach a wider audience much more easily without barriers such as distance.
Social media resources
We love helping businesses old and new get involved with social media and using it to grow their business.
Here are some other resources on social media that you’ll love:
- 6 of the best social media apps to manage your social media like a pro
- Catch up with the latest social media trends and how they affect you
- Free guide to social media advertising
- Downloadable design template pack for social media