You’d be surprised how many people think they can still run a successful online business in 2017 without social media. It might be possible – but you’ll be ignoring a huge marketing tool that simply foolish to ignore.
Social media is huge now – and it’s not just for communicating with friends or relatives – it’s huge for business, and we’re going to look at why.
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Social media as a marketing tool
Social Media’s effectiveness as a marketing tool for both big and small businesses shouldn’t be underestimated. This sort of marketing power used to be hard to come by (or at least very expensive) – but now people are queuing up to be connected to your brand.
When someone “likes” you on social media or decides to follow you – they’re making a statement to people they know about what you have to offer. They’re not just passively looking at an advert, they’re going a step further than that.
This sort of connectivity and ease of maintaining a relationship with your customers is something that’s really only been created since the advent of social media. Communication has become a two-way street which increases people’s engagement with your brand.
It’s also great for spreading the word for you. Yes – you could send mailouts or offers to all existing customers before social media. Even if we ignore the fact that sending a tweet is much cheaper and easier than sending out a load of leaflets.
Even if we ignore the fact that collecting a load of personal addresses to send such leaflets was much harder than just getting people to “follow” you…
After you’ve sent out your mailout – it normally ended there.
People don’t run to their friends and say “Hey, look at this great leaflet I got from that shop I used to go to!”. But with social media, they do help to spread the word for you. Even if their friends have never heard of your business, they’ll get alerts when someone likes you – or they’ll see their friends retweet you.
Social media gives even small businesses huge marketing power to spread their word virally at a fraction of the cost. Reaching this many potential new customers was both difficult and costly for small businesses in the old (pre-social media) environment. Now it’s easy – and cheap.
Social media improves brand loyalty
People don’t just want to be treated as customers anymore, they want to feel connected – and social media is how they connect. Someone following you is just asking for more information about special offers, sales, contests and more.
Don’t take your followers for granted and spam them with too much obvious advertising, but make them feel valued and give them more of what they want.
What do they want? Exclusive special offers and great discounts that make them feel valued for following you. These sorts of things make people pleased they connected with you and more likely to spread the word for you to their friends.
People also want to make sure they know you’re listening. If they’ve got concerns or questions, make sure you answer them quickly or effectively.
Being active on social media isn’t just about sending out adverts – it’s about communicating and learning from your customers and other followers.
Some of them might even have ideas that could help improve your business.
Social media isn’t just a great marketing tool – it’s also a great market research tool.
You can check out some great social media marketing mistakes to avoid here.
Solve complaints effectively
Social media has also become the first place people complain about any issues to do with your business. While this could produce some public negativity about your company – you can use it to your advantage by making sure people’s complaints are dealt with professionally and generously.
Go above and beyond to make sure complainers are left satisfied – and it’ll say even more about your business to other people.
Improve connectivity with your customers
When someone follows a company or brand, they’re already expressing a level of commitment towards them that was hard to find before social media. These people should stay connected with your for years to come (unless you annoy them enough to get them to unfollow).
This sort of interactivity on social media makes it much easier to stay connected with former customers and get them to continue to do business with them.
A great way of increasing your social media following is by offering exclusive discounts or early-bird savings only to your subscribers. Good word spreads organically, so if you can get people connected to your brand because they’ve been recommended by their friends – you’ll be on a route to success.
You’ll also want to make sure people who visit your premises have an incentive to follow you online. Keep your social media profiles displayed prominently (maybe even in your front window).
Offer return discounts for people if they follow you. Make sure they get a flyer with all your social media info as you hand them a receipt. All of these things can help you grow your following online.
Again, your social media following can also be grown virally as more and more people hear good things about your business. If you can get existing customers to “like” you and share your content regularly, it’ll spread the word to all their friends and help your following grow even more.
While hopefully you’ve seen how having social media should have plenty of benefits for your company – not having it could therefore be seen as a negative. Many people will simply expect a modern business to have a social media presence – not having one could make people question where else your business is behind the times.