As consumers, most of us actively use social media to keep up with our friends and family, scroll through adorable photos of pets and hilarious memes, and connect with some of our favourite brands and businesses. But sometimes businesses forget that consumers are actively looking for them and following along with them on social media. In this digital age, for a brand to survive (and thrive!) they need to be active on social media in a meaningful and proactive way.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it hit hard. In an instant, businesses were faced with the need to amp up their digital marketing efforts in order to stay afloat and connected with their clients. According to Hootsuite's “Global State of Digital 2021” report, social media platforms gained 490 million new users in 2020 (Simon Kemp, 2021). Wow, talk about a ton of new potential eyes and followers for brands!
If you aren’t already harnessing the power of social media to support your brand and its digital marketing, now’s the time. Don't fight technology and all its power, use it to your advantage!
And here’s why...
1. Reach your audience and increase awareness
No matter your industry or customer base, your target audience is likely on a social media platform. In fact, 72% of Americans today use at least one form of social media, and those who use social media typically visit the sites at least once a day (Pew Research Center, 2021). Once you know where to find your audience online, you can use social to reach them and increase awareness of your brand. Billboards and bus advertising used to work most effectively because people were walking down the street looking around. These days, we spend more time than ever before looking at our Smartphones. As businesses, we need to keep this in mind and meet our audience where they are.
2. Build relationships with your audience
Once you have reached your audience, social media helps you to build relationships with them. You know all of those ‘like’ and ‘comment’ buttons that are constantly prompting you to start a conversation? Use them! Social media allows brands to communicate directly with their customers to build trust - that’s where it’s power lies! This new level of engagement leads customers to feel more connected and invested in your brand. So, start engaging! And they’ll engage right back. You’ll be sorry you didn’t start sooner.
3. Establish your brand as a thought leader
By sharing relevant curated content (third-party content) across social media networks, you can establish your brand as a knowledge center and an industry leader in your space. Who doesn’t want to be seen as the go-to expert?! This will keep people coming back to you to get all the information they are looking for in your respected field. You become that one-stop-shop for them and offer them up some value in exchange for tuning in and following along with you. This is a crucial part of building the relationship before you can expect to convert those followers and drive sales. Don’t forget about it!
4. Get insights to improve
Not only does social media connect brands to their audiences, but it also provides brands with the opportunity to learn directly from their consumers in order to serve them better. How? Analytics and social listening, of course!
Social media platforms provide analytics on engagement, reach, impressions, website referrals, sales conversions, and so much more. These analytics will help you determine how and where to improve by showing you which content drives the highest results (and the lowest!). They can also show you what platforms your target audience are on and when, what information they relate most to, and if your content is resonating with your followers.
Do you ever wish you could hear what people are saying about your brand? Well, social listening allows you to! Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, industry, and more. In other words, social listening gives brands an opportunity to track, analyze, and respond to conversations about themselves or industry-related topics on social media. It also helps brands to discover what problems their customers are experiencing that they can help solve and what their audience likes and dislikes about their own brand and competitors.
By using social listening to be a fly on the wall and gathering all of this extremely valuable information, brands can then improve their marketing strategy to better connect with their audience and increase sales.
5. Increase your website traffic
Okay, so now you’ve gathered tons of great followers and are engaging with your customers on social media, but you also have that beautiful, professional website that you invested in that no one is visiting. Now what? Share organic posts and run paid ads on multiple social media platforms allow brands to direct followers to your website. All social media platforms allow for links to be plugged, making it easy for brands to share blogs and website pages that will resonate with their target audience and get potential customers onto the website. Put plainly, use social media to increase your top-of-funnel audience, drive those followers to your beautiful website, and let your website do the rest!
6. Increase your leads and sales
By directing engaged viewers to the website, social media makes it easy for potential customers to express interest in the business and make purchases. For brands with smaller purchase thresholds, social media can easily drive direct sales (particularly with the support of paid ads). But even for businesses with a larger purchase threshold (ie B2B brands), social media can act as a key contributor to the top of the funnel and can nurture leads throughout the Buyer’s Journey by building email lists, driving web traffic, and acting as a key connection point for questions and support.
An added bonus of social media is that it costs less than traditional marketing, making it so brands can achieve leads and sales for less money. Who doesn’t love a bargain!
If you haven’t yet invested in social media in the way you know you should, now is the time. We can help.
Simon Kemp (2021). Digital 2021 Global Overview Report.
Pew Research Center (2021). Social Media Facts Sheet.