If you’re involved in running and growing a business, you’ve heard incessant reminders to be active on social media. But, you may wonder, is that really important for a business? Facebook and Twitter are fun for browsing on your daily commute and keeping tabs on friends, but how will it help you grow your business and ultimately increase your bottom line? If those doubts are still lingering, we’re here to assure you of this fact: social media is important for your business. Here’s why.
First of all, let’s look at the size of social media networks. In any marketing effort, you aren’t going to convert everyone you reach, so the more people you reach the better. According to Statista, there are a staggering 1.4 billion accounts on Facebook, 300 million on Instagram, and 288 million on Twitter (Statista, par. 1). Yes, that’s including many geographical areas outside of your target market, there are fake spammy accounts, etcetera, but even considering that, it’s still very clear that this is a world heavily connected to social media. A large driver of this is the increasing amount of time people spend on their mobile devices. In November 2014, for the first time ever the average US citizen spends more time on mobile than watching TV - an average of 177 minutes per day (Smith, par. 1). While this includes texting and browsing the net, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three of the most popular mobile apps. You know all those people looking down at their phone on the subway and the bus? You could be engaging them through social media.
As well as following the numbers in terms of customer behavior, also look at your competitors and peers. According to Hubspot, "92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses" (Kusinitz, par. 6). Now, maybe in some cases, telling you “everyone else is doing it” isn’t a great reason – when I was in middle school all my peers were wearing their pants as low as they could without breaking public indecency laws, and that was not a good idea – but in this case, what are the chances that the virtual entirety of marketers are wasting their time on social media? Actions speak loudly, and marketers are flocking to social media whether through organic outreach to customers or through pay per click advertising.
Let’s pinpoint some of the specific benefits of an active, well-managed social media presence:
Increased brand recognition: Social media not only provides you a channel to speak directly to current fans, but also increases your chances of reaching a new audience. When your current fans interact with your social media content, this increases the likelihood that your brand appears in their connections’ timelines, organically increasing your reach. (If my friend comments on Brand X’s Facebook post, it can appear in my timeline, even if I’ve never visited Brand X’s Facebook page. The same goes for Twitter, where friends may “ReTweet” brand’s tweets which will then appear in my timeline.) This new audience is also more likely to trust your brand because they know that their friend or family member is already a fan.
Increased brand loyalty: Social media is more intimate and personal than other marketing channels. Whereas someone watching a TV ad knows they’re being sold to, they’re more likely to feel like they’re having a 1 on 1 conversation with a brand when they interact with it on social media. Brands that go for the soft sell on social media, providing useful and engaging content for followers (with a unifying strategy that can connect back to their brand identity), build connections with fans in a way that a traditional advertisement can’t.
Increased traffic to your website and conversion opportunities: By providing links to your website on your page and in posts as well as providing information on products and offers, your social media profile increases your exposure, generates web traffic, and can increase lead generation and sales.
Receive direct feedback: Customers can comment on and reply to your posts, leave a message directly on your page, or even send you a private message. This allows you to gain insight on your customers’ thoughts, feelings, and wants as they provide you directly with positive or negative feedback. This reduces the need for focus groups and surveys to understand customers. And since you can respond to them directly, they’ll feel more connected to your brand, or in the case of negative feedback, that their concern was heard and understood.
Acquire analytics and insights: Social media networks can provide you insights into what content engages your customers (what drives the most traffic to your website, a funny photo or a short video? Post both and see the results in plain, unambiguous data). You can use this information to improve your other marketing efforts, too, by taking what you learn through A/B tests and applying it to your future marketing efforts such as advertising copywriting.
Boosts your SEO: Having a large social media presence can improve your search engine visibility, which is a huge factor in your overall online marketing success. If someone is searching on Google for the product or service you provide, you want to be as close to the top of the search results as possible. Being popular on social media can help that.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your social media reach, check out TapSnap. Our open-air photo booths take fun, customizable photos that can be custom-branded, which are then shared to social media. Everyone loves seeing fun photos of their friends and family, so these images engage large audiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, increasing your brand awareness and adding to your social media visibility.
“Global Social Networks Ranked by Number of Users.” Statista. Mar. 2015. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/>.
Kusinitz, Sam. “16 Stats That Prove Social Media Isn't Just a Fad [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][New Data].” Hubspot. 6 Jun. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-roi-stats>.
Smith, Dave. “For The First Time Ever, Americans Spend More Time Using Mobile Devices Than TV.” Business Insider. 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-americans-spend-more-time-using-mobile-devices-than-tv-2014-11>