Social media has enormous benefits for small, local businesses. Using social media tools gives you an easy, cost-effective way to engage with clients and expand your customer base. The majority of people use some form of social media, which means small business owners can’t afford to ignore it.
Using social media as a marketing tool is not difficult and not expensive. You may even be surprised at the fantastic return on investment social media provides. Businesses are using social tools platforms to build brand awareness, offer customer support, and increase engagement. Very often, companies who implement a social media marketing strategy soon find that their website traffic increases significantly.
If you are new to using social media for business, please read this definitive guide to getting started using social media.
In this article, you will find about the fantastic benefits social tools provide for your small business. You will also learn about other ways to engage with your customers to strengthen your online reputation.
First, there is one crucial question to answer—why is social media so important?
Why Use Social Media?
A quick look at the facts reveals just why social media is vital for your business success.
Nearly 3 billion persons regularly use social media, which accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population.
The Pew Research Center reported that three-quarters of people in the US use some form of social media. A staggering 70 percent of users check their Facebook feed daily, while 60 percent visit their Instagram feed. From these users, 67 percent are age 18 to 29, and 47 percent are in the 30 – 49 age group.
According to some statistics, Instagram users in North America will be nearly 139 million by 2023.
The Benefits to Your Business of Using Social Media
With the potential to reach millions of social media users, the benefits are clear for all. Let’s look at 11 specific ways social tools can boost your business success.
1. Social media increases brand awareness
Social media is the number one tool to build brand awareness. Your brand awareness is when consumers can easily recognize your brand. This recognition should also instill positive emotions or feelings. Companies that have excellent brand awareness enjoy a loyal following. It is also easier for these businesses to extend their customer base to attract new clients.
2. Stay relevant to your customers
The majority of social media users check their account every day—and not just once, but multiple times. Regularly posting on social media keeps content fresh and on top of your customers’ minds. Keep posts informative and entertaining, and your audience will look forward to your content.
3. Boost website traffic
Posting on social media is a great way to drive more traffic to your website. There are several ways to use social media to boost website visitors. Here are three helpful tips:
- Promote blog content—Whenever you post to your blog, share an excerpt and a link on all your social media channels. You can customize each social media post for the appropriate channel.
- Post when your followers are active—It is vital to post regularly and when your audience typically uses social media.
- Create shareable content—Social media users love informative and entertaining content. You can easily incorporate funny images, gifs, or captions to your brand. If your followers find the content useful, they will share it with their followers.
4. Generate more leads
Social media is an excellent way to get more leads—a name or email address of an interested customer. Posting promotional content can help potential customers show interest in your product or service without any commitment. For example, subscribing to receive content regularly is a great way to generate leads with social media. Or you could run competitions.
5. Increase the number of sales
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have—selling products or offering services—social media can help you sell it. All of the benefits of social media eventually funnel into more sales for your company. Everything from increased brand awareness to getting more leads will help in generating sales.
6. Generate user content
Social media is one of the best ways to generate content that your followers provide. User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful marketing tool for your brand. For example, customers can post to your social media page images of them using your product. Getting customers to post content turns them into your brand advocates and results in free advertising for you. You can increase customer engagement even more by running completions on the best UGC content.
8. Engage with customers
Social media is the best way to engage with your customers. Of course, every time you post to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you are engaging with customers. However, you can take customer engagement to a whole new level. For example, create polls, surveys, and contests. You can also comment and respond to user-generated content.
7. Social media is a reputation management tool
Along with getting more reviews, social media is a vital tool in reputation management. Your customers are talking about you on social media—so, get involved in the conversation. Having a strong social media presence will help promote positive information about your brand. However, if something does go wrong—and it will—you will be on hand to provide a quick response.
Related reading: How to improve a damaged online reputation.
9. Offer customer service and support
Your customers are generally more willing to turn to Facebook or Twitter to get help or ask a question. Offering customer support on social media has many benefits for your business. First, it’s more cost-effective than having a customer helpline. Second, the questions and responses benefit your other customers. You also get the chance to respond positively to any criticism or problems.
10. Show social proof
Another benefit of implementing a social media marketing strategy is that it establishes social proof. Consumers are more likely to act based on what the majority is doing. So, having many followers, getting plenty of online reviews, and regularly posting content will positively impact on your brand. Your customers and potential customers will see this as “real-life proof” of your brand’s integrity.
11. Increase brand loyalty
Connecting regularly with your customers on social media also results in brand loyalty. Remember that any successful business doesn’t just focus on getting new customers. It works at keeping existing ones happy. Loyal customers are one of the greatest assets that any company can have.
Social Media and Online Reviews
Online reviews are another essential tool when it comes to leveraging social media to benefit your business. Your satisfied customers will be happy to let others know about their great experience.
Reviews on social media can benefit your business when you follow the best practices for online reviews. These are:
- Have an online review strategy in place to monitor reviews.
- Ask customers for feedback and then share it on social media.
- Respond to all reviews—even if you get negative ones.
- Use reviews to identify and resolve customer issues.
Of course, monitoring reviews on social media can be a time-consuming task. That is why Starloop has developed a review management tool to make getting more reviews easy.
Our automated software sends low-pressure invites for your customers to leave feedback. With a few easy clicks, they can leave a review. You then get notified and can respond to every review with ease. How does this reputation management software benefit your business? Here are a few examples that our members tell us:
- An upsurge in the number of real reviews, especially positive ones.
- An increase in rankings for local search results.
- Businesses attract new customers and keep loyal ones.
- Ultimately, an increase in revenue.
But it’s not just your business that benefits—the earth also benefits. For every review you receive, we plant a tree. So, you can strengthen your online reputation even more as you provide ethical incentives for your customers to leave a review.
Please contact a member of our team today to see how Starloop can help boost your business success.