GAIN VALUABLE CUSTOMER INSIGHTS
Social media generates a huge amount of data about your customers in real time. Every day there are over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram. And I’m sure by the time you read this most of those numbers will be significantly higher. Behind these staggering numbers is a wealth of information about your customers—who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand. It’s also the key to communicating with your customers in their natural environment. Unlike traditional advertising, social media, done right, feels natural and is a great way to deepen your relationship with customers and potential customers.
Through daily active engagement and social listening, you can gather relevant customer data and use that information to make smarter business decisions. With Hootsuite Insights, for example, you can gather information across all your social networks in real time—allowing you to gauge customer sentiment, find the conversations happening around your brand, and run real-time reports. Sprout social offers the ability to actively monitor brand words like hungry, lunch, or sushi if you are a restaurant. Timely Brand Monitoring is a powerful tool for your business.
When you have a presence on social media, you make it easier for your customers to find and connect with you. And by connecting with your customers on social, you’re more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty. A study by The Social Habit shows that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands. And according to online reputation expert Jay Baer, answering a customer complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent. People can’t follow you, and you can’t answer them, if you aren’t active enough to know they are trying to reach you.
YOU CAN RUN TARGETED ADS WITH REAL-TIME RESULTS
Social ads are an inexpensive and extremely effective way to promote your business and distribute your brand and message. They also offer powerful targeting options so that you can reach the right audience, in the right way, at the right time. For example, if you run an ad campaign on most social networks, you can segment by things like location, company, job title, gender, and age—the list goes on. When you get comfortable you can even start running ads based on behavior. Has the customer bought from you before? Have they almost bought from you before? Did they consider buying from you before? Have they ever seen you before? All of these can be used as targeting options and you can personalize your advertising messages accordingly.
GENERATE HIGHER CONVERTING LEADS
Social media increases sales and customer retention through regular interaction and timely customer service. In the 2015 Sales Best Practices Study from research institute MHI Global, world-class companies rated social media as the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities. In the State of Social Selling in 2015, nearly 75 percent of companies that engaged in selling on social media reported an increase in sales in 12 months. Social media, done correctly, allows you to build a relationship with your potential customers before they buy. It also allows you an effective way to deepen your relationship with existing customers. Since customer acquisition is the most costly expense for many businesses, and most of 80% of business profits come from 20% of customers in most businesses, this is a powerful advantage.
PROVIDE RICH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Even if you aren’t on social media, most of your customers expect you to be. Over 67 percent of consumers now go to social media for customer service. I promise you that number has grown significantly by the time you are reading this. They expect fast response times and 24/7 support—and companies that deliver win out. A study by Aberdeen Group shows that companies engaging in social customer service see much bigger annual financial gains (7.5 percent YOY growth) vs. those without (2.9 percent). A 250% difference in year over year growth…what’s that worth to your business?
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INCREASE WEBSITE TRAFFIC AND SEARCH RANKING
One of the biggest benefits of social media for business is using it to increase your website traffic. Not only does social media help you direct people to your website, but the more active and effective you are on social media, the higher your search ranking will be. For example, if every person who follows Hootsuite on Twitter Retweets this post, it’s more likely to rank higher in Google’s search engine results page for variations of “social media for business.” Google also ranks businesses based on what social networks they are on, their active following, their responsiveness, and overall engagement with followers. As algorithms continue to get smarter, you can bet this will only get more important.
FIND OUT WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING
With social media monitoring, you can gain key information about your brand AND your competitors. This kind of intel will allow you to make strategic business decisions to stay ahead of the competition. For example, you can create search streams in Hootsuite or Sprout social or Mention to monitor industry keywords and mentions of your competitors’ names and products. Based on your search results, you can improve your business by offering product enhancements, services others aren’t, or utilize more effective content that they may be missing.
SHARE UPDATES AND INFORMATION FASTER AND EASIER
In the past, businesses faced the challenge of ensuring their message reached customers in the shortest possible time. With the help of social media, specifically, when it comes to sharing content about your business or for content curation, all you need to do is share it on your brand’s social network accounts. Dinner special tonight? Posted. Special event this weekend? Posted. One time only sale? You get the idea.
Geo-targeting is an effective way to send your message out to a specific audience based on their location. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have tools that allow you to communicate the right kind of content to your audience. For example, in Hootsuite, you can target Twitter messages to followers in specific countries, or send messages from Facebook and LinkedIn company pages to specific groups based on geographical and demographic parameters. You can also use Hootsuite geotargeting to find conversations relevant to your brand. Not only does this make your targeting more effective, but your messaging can be personalized based on location.
Social media isn’t about blasting your company’s sales pitch on social, it’s a two-way channel where you have the opportunity to enrich relationships with your customers. Just like you wouldn’t subscribe to a cable channel that was all commercials, consumers won’t engage with your social pages if all you do is advertise. For example, social media allows tourism brands to create a dialogue with travellers, therefore creating relationships with customers before, during, and after they have booked a trip with the company. This kind of real-time dialogue between brands and customers is something traditional advertising cannot achieve.
BOTTOM LINE: SOCIAL MEDIA HAS A TREASURE TROVE OF BENEFITS TO HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS. BY USING IT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS, ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE, AND EXTEND YOUR BRAND REACH, YOU’LL BE CONVERTED BEFORE YOU KNOW IT.