What are the business benefits of social media?

By Renee Gauntlett

Social media is the online interface for social interaction. What was once believed to be only social, has now become one of the quickest and easiest ways for a businesses to expand. The most popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Google Plus, Youtube, Linkedin, WordPress, and the latest craze Vine.

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In case you were if-ing and but-ing about using social media to market your company, here’s a few benefits which would be good to know. But first, let me give you some stats:

Social networks account for 20% of online activity.

89% of small and medium-sized businesses report increased exposure.

78% of small businesses get at least one quarter of their new customers through social media.

Almost half of online consumers expect companies to provide customer service on Facebook, but only 23% do.

Now let’s get to the benefits.

Cost-effective
Using social media to market and advertise your brand eliminates the cost of material production (paper and ink). Ads on networks such as Facebook are also less expensive than ad placements in traditional media. Your reach is also now more extensive.

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Customer Service
Customer service, apart from the product itself, is what keeps a customer coming back. If your customers are using social media, then so should you. As you can see from the stat given above, almost half of consumers EXPECT customer service online. Social media gives users the opportunity for personal two-way communication which helps to establish and maintain a RELATIONSHIP between you and your consumer.

Generate New Leads (New Customers)
Even though there are so many different social networking sites, most of them are connected by way of that SHARE button that you may see from time to time under an article, photo or video. When people LIKE or SHARE a post, it is then passed on and seen by other persons within their network. This way your brand name gets spread around without you having to lift a finger.

Social media allows for the spread of your content which usually turns out in additional customers or fans…which is always a plus (obviously). Many social media marketers also report that having a big presence on social media helps to drive additional traffic to their websites.

Understanding of your audiences
Social media allows you to see what your audience likes, don’t like and what they are talking about. This can help you to curb your product/service to suit your target’s needs and wants. Here, marketing is made easier.

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Knowing Your Brand’s Rank Among Competitors
Social media sites give consumers the option to LIKE or FOLLOW a brand’s page. If they like what they see, they will click LIKE or FOLLOW. All these are represented by a total number. Most social media sites also allow you to track page interactions, such as shares, comments and hashtags (for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine) and compare it to previous months or even to your competitor. Knowing the rank of your competitor on social media can help you to improve your own rank and know the changes that have to be made.

Targeted Advertising
The way the Internet works nowadays is that everything you search for is recorded and then similar ads are then strategically placed in your view as a ‘suggestion’. Social media site act in the same way. This way you can cut down in wasted ad space and get your message seen by those who need or want to see it.

Apart from these simple benefits, you may find that more consumers will interact with you. When they interact with you, they will remember you. When they remember you, they will remain with you. Simple logic, don’t you agree?

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