As much as social media has moved toward becoming the norm in business, there are still a significant amount of decision makers who dismiss it, question it or don’t know how to take the time to be successful with it. Truth be told, the decision to use social media as part of your integrated marketing program is data driven and based in the concepts of traditional marketing—finding the channels used by your target market and using those channels to communicate with them.
Taking this into consideration, here are 6 reasons that you must* use social media as a way to strengthen your business.
*Please remember, the use of social media is partially data driven. That means if you have data that proves that your company is in the extreme minority of businesses whose consumers do not use any social media channels and are not looking to expand your market reach, then you can bypass this article. However, if both of these circumstances are not true, you should continue reading.
1. Build Community
I’m not just using this as a buzzword to assuage the bohemian contingency. Building your community helps give you and your consumers a centralized place to disseminate information, voice opinions and offers a place of comfort for everyone. This involvement does a lot to keep your brands’ name on the minds of a qualified group of individuals. Traditional marketers would do almost anything to build a community of people ready to purchase and social media helps expedite this process.
2. Establish Your Brand
The online world has been known for years as the great equalizer in business. The internet has helped companies enter their respective industries with more ease and has evened the playing field in terms of letting consumers know they exist and what they have to offer.
Social media also provides another set of channels for you as a business to not only let people know about you, but it also allows you to claim market share by showing what you can do better than your competitors. Are you friendlier? Do you have better customer service? Questions like this can quickly be communicated through social media.
3. Boost Customer Relations
We are living in a world where people want everything now, now and earlier than now. This is especially true when a potential or actual customer has a question about your product or service. Traditionally, a question was distributed in the form of a letter or a phone call. Technology has brought extreme speed to information gathering nowadays so it would be a good idea to use this to your advantage through social media. Answer your consumer’s questions expeditiously—in a manner that is swift and make business sense — and you are likely to gain a new level of appreciation: one that, once again, strengthens your brand.
4. Expedite Research Development
As we all know, research and development is an important part of the process of product or service creation. In traditional times, going out and finding the correct group of people to test and give you their opinions was not very easy. Guess what, with social media, they now can come directly to you. Let them tell you what they think should change and what should stay the same. This information will help you in your company’s long-term growth.
5. Protect Your Reputation
The most common fear – and it is a fear – is voiced in the form of: “What if they say something bad about me?” This is the exact reason why you should use social media in your marketing mix. People are going to have their opinion and very often they let their opinions known through commonly known social media channels. If you know what is being said, you can go ahead and manage the situation. If someone has a valid issue, go ahead and start the process of addressing it. Even more importantly, if the issue is not valid, your community is often the first to respond and disparage any possible flaming or trolling. There goes that word community again…
6. Produce Sales Leads
While the bohemian contingency may decide to jump off of the proverbial brandwagon at this point, we as business people must remember the significance of the bottom line. All of the tactics listed above are designed to ultimately result in a sale. Social media allows you to tweak techniques, messages and campaigns at the speed of tech until you find the correct formula of steps to take to lead to a sale. The key is not forgetting the steps. Social media is not a direct sales platform. It can, however, be used as a marketing platform. Use it wisely and it will be good to you.