Articles

SMEs

Your Social Media May Be Working Better Than You Think

Like most methods of marketing, businesses typically measure and expect success by the volume of new customers. However, there are many other very important benefits from social media that you might not have thought about. Ultimately increased sales is what you want but this is brought about by the underlying factors promoted by this type of marketing. It can take time to build momentum with social media, and the benefits aren’t always as obvious as we would like.

Because of the time it takes and subtlety of its benefits, you may become sceptical about spending time or money on social media. Just remember the following real benefits:

1. Brand Recognition – Brand building is one of the most powerful tools of social media. It is a change and a way to position your company. As well as allowing people to know about what you do. Just ensure that the content is unique, personal, consistent, funny, relevant and interesting. You can build a reputation for your brand around your company’s values, benefits, and advantages.

2. Community – It is hard to find another technological platform that can build such a community for your brand. When your followers become part of your community, it’s not just a one-way street. You can learn about their interests and challenges along with what they do and don’t like about you and your brand. The key is to then engage your customers by encouraging their input. This will allow you to learn, improve and build a relationship.

3. Repeat Exposure – There is an old marketing adage that says it takes six to eight exposures to a product before a customer decides to buy. A clear benefit of social media is the frequency of messages and repeat exposure to your network. Therefore by reminding your target market over and over, it should shorten your sales cycles.

4. Authority – For service-based businesses such as coaches, consultants, authors, speakers etc it is essential to be seen as knowledgeable in your field. Social media can be very powerful in helping you establish a certain authority. As it makes you the go-to resource for your target market. People will then go to your Facebook, Twitter or even your LinkedIn profile to share great content, ask questions etc. This, in turn, will create a loyal fan base, that when ready, will purchase from you and nobody else.

5. Influence – As your following increases, your influence grows. Having a substantial social media audience creates a snowball effect that can attract new customers, media interviews, joint venture partnerships, and all kinds of other opportunities. It’s a bit like when you see a crowd hovered around something. You can’t help but want to see what all the fuss is about, so a large audience will only attract more interest.

6. Website Traffic – Many people don’t realise that social media can be a leading traffic generator. When you share blog posts, videos and other content from your website, you give your audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once there, you have the opportunity to inspire those visitors to take action by inviting them to sign up for your mailing list. As well as make a purchase or even call to schedule a free consultation. Install traffic monitoring service, such as Google Analytics, and if you are committed to your social media efforts, you will clearly see that social media brings traffic. Also, make sure that your visitors receive a clear call to action when they visit your site so that you can convert that extra traffic into business opportunities.

7. Ahead of the Curve – Whether you realize it or not, your prospects and clients are checking to see if you are engaging in social media. I always find it a bit odd when I’m investigating a potential service provider online and I can’t locate a social media presence. Even worse is when I find Facebook pages that haven’t been updated in months or empty Twitter feeds. It shows a clear lack of interest in engaging. Social media isn’t a fad and it’s not going away. Even if it’s not your top priority, if you stay current with activity, your prospects will notice.

8. Mindshare with Lurkers – There may be days when you wonder if anyone is paying attention to your social media networks. But if your efforts are consistent, I guarantee that more people are paying attention than you realize. Give it time and you’ll start to understand what’s happening behind the anonymity of the internet. You will eventually hear from people who say, “I’ve been following you on Twitter for ages. I love your posts!”

9. Competitive Advantage – The reality is that most of your competitors aren’t likely doing a very good job with social media (most companies aren’t), which gives you the chance to stand out. Also, consider the flip side. If you avoid social media, you leave a big opening that allows your competitors to capture your audience.

10. Big Wins – While many businesses large and small are trying to justify the cost and time investment for managing social media marketing, an important benefit often gets overlooked: Big Wins. For example, someone on Linkedin could connect you with a significant government contract. This would be seen as a Big Win. If a major media outlet finds you on Twitter and interviews you for a national article, then that is also a Big Win. One that you can’t measure based on revenues directly generated.

Big wins don’t happen often, but when they do, they make it all worthwhile. It’s easy to forget results like these six months down the road. But remember that you’re trying to assess whether your social media efforts are paying off. That one contract you landed could cover your social media marketing costs for years. And that major media interview could lead to subsequent interviews. As well as a line item on your resume that impresses a corporate sponsor three years from now. Never forget to factor in the big wins on social media.