Having a presence on social media is pretty much a given for most businesses these days. There isn’t really any getting around that. Yet clients still often say to me that they don’t see the point in Facebook, they’re not generating leads on Instagram or sales through Twitter, so why bother?
Well, because EVERYONE is on social media! A recent survey by Avocado Social showed that 83% of the UK population have an account on at least one social media platform. Okay, that’s not ‘everyone’, but it’s a pretty huge audience base to tap into. Each platform reaches people in a different way and some will be more appropriate and suitable for your business than others but the fact remains that your audience, your customers, are there. And if you are not, you’re missing out on an important and still relatively cost-effective way of finding and connecting with them.
There are lots of reasons you should be using social media for your business that don’t relate to making direct sales or leads but that will nevertheless lead your customers in that direction and arm you with the tools and information you need to make those conversions.
Of course, sales are the top priority for your business, but that sales process doesn’t start and shouldn’t end with a single purchase out of the blue. You first need to find your customer, build a relationship with them, remain front of mind and develop that ‘know, like, trust’ factor. Let them know who you are, what your brand values are, tell them about your products and services, inform, educate, inspire them. Give them reasons to choose you and your business over the next person or brand. Build that brand loyalty and you’ll also be building an army of brand ambassadors who will one day do your promotion for you!
Where else can you engage with your customers directly and provide real-time customer service all across the UK and the world? It is those connections with your audience that build customer satisfaction, humanise your brand, give your business social proof and demonstrate your authenticity and brand authority in your niche. You can also manage crises and protect your reputation online.
There have been controversy and data scandals surrounding some of the big social media networks but recently there has been a perceptible shift in how these platforms now manage the data they hold and how they collect information. The fact remains that Facebook and the other big players hold a huge amount of data and, with a business account, you have access to an amazing free resource which can provide you with valuable insights into your customers: their purchasing habits; when they are online; what kind of content they like; what brands they like; what causes and issues are important to them.
This insight allows you to refine your sales and marketing strategies. It allows you to use digital advertising with a high degree of targeting accuracy, making this a particularly cost-effective way of reaching your audience.
This data can also let you monitor your competitors and track how people are responding to your content and your brand.
SEO is a magic art in itself and is way more technical than simply having a few active social media accounts, but it all helps! If you use your social profiles well you’ll be using industry keywords which help with search, directing traffic to your website and ultimately generating leads.