When I first became interested in social media as a potential business tool, I was advised by some that it was just a fad and that I shouldn’t waste my time with it.
Over a decade later, social media has not gone away!
In fact, according to Pew Research Centre, social media usage by American adults has increased from 7% to 65% within the last ten years.
Social media has become so enmeshed in our everyday lives that many people could not imagine life without being able to post selfies to their Facebook page.
On the business front, there are plenty of examples of companies that can attribute their success to social media.
So if you are still not sure about what social media can do for your business, or maybe you need to convince someone else within your organisation of its importance, here are 7 reasons why you should invest your time and money.
1. Your Customers are There
A long time ago when I was a newbie marketer working for VisitScotland, a colleague gave me a piece of advice to “Fish where the Fish are”, which has stuck with me ever since.
That was the first time I had heard that expression, but it made perfect sense to me. If you want more business you need to find out where your ideal customers are hanging out and communicate with them there. These days, that place is more often than not on social media.
According to a recent article in The Guardian, social media has overtaken entertainment as the UK’s favourite activity online. Social media sites such as Facebook account for almost 17% of the time that we spend online. If you want to get in front of your customers you need to be where they are hanging out.
Whether you are a new business or an established one, it is vital that potential customers are aware of what you do and how your solution can help them. Remember the ‘Know’, ‘Like and ‘Trust’ factors that I keep mentioning? Well, awareness relates to the first one of these factors, and social media happens to be a great way to get the word out about your business.
In Social Media Examiner’s 2016 report, it was revealed that 89% of marketers reported an increase in exposure for their business, through using social media. In fact ‘awareness’ is often cited as being one of the main benefits of using social media.
“But awareness is not sales”, I hear you say!
That’s true, but nobody can buy from you if they don’t know you are there in the first place, and with regular updates you have an opportunity to stay top-of-mind with potential customers.
3. Increased Web Traffic & SEO
An often overlooked benefit of social media is it’s ability to drive traffic back to your website. In fact in the same Social Media Examiner report mentioned above, 75% of marketers reported increased web traffic as a result of their social media activities.
This is usually achieved in a couple of ways. Firstly, with all the major social media accounts, it is possible to add hyperlinks to your profiles and secondly, through the content that you regularly share through your social channels.
Why is this good? Not only can this increased exposure to your website result in additional sales and an enhanced reputation (in the case of linking to your blog content) from social visitors, it can also mean that your website may appear higher in search engine rankings as a result, which will attract additional visits to your site.
Don’t forget that your social media profiles also rank in search results, so it is entirely possible depending on the competitiveness of your industry, that if you are using the right keywords in your social media profiles, they could appear as the top search result.
At Chat Marketing, social media is the single biggest traffic source for our website.
Social – 35.9%
Organic search – 29.8%
Direct – 22.2%
Referral – 11.9%
If you want some tips on how to optimise your SEO results using social media, check out “5 Unusual Tips to Improve Your SEO with Social Media“.
4. Email Subscribers
Are you building an email list yet? The internet is riddled with stories from entrepreneurs from all walks of life, about just how important list-building is and how they wished they had started building theirs earlier.
Joe Pulizzi of The Content Marketing Institute said “If I have one regret, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process”. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers said “If you are not building an email list you are an idiot”. Whist I would not put it quite that bluntly, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of having an email list.