What do we do when we wish to conduct business with a brand? We look it up online and prefer to go through their social media accounts first. It does not matter if it is as simple a commodity as food, this is our modus operandi.
You may have the most attractive website with SEO-friendly content, but businesses (with the exception of the financial services industry perhaps) are only as good as their social media presence. Why? Because the worthiness of your brand is determined by what your clients and prospective buyers have to say about it.
People are brutally honest on social media. That may be intimidating, but it can be put to the best use by positive engagement. At the end of the day, people trust people more than they do businesses.
Why Social Media Matters
Here are some reasons to consider why social media is an important part of every online venture.
Cost-Effective Marketing Solution
With ever-changing Facebook algorithms, it is becoming increasingly difficult for your post to make it to your target users by organic reach only. The fact remains that it is free to get started.
You should determine which social media platforms are the most suitable for your target audience, before you dive into inbound marketing. A little research into what your audience finds engaging enough to ‘like’ and share with others, goes a long way towards garnering trust for your brand, that will eventually translate to real-world purchases.
Enhanced User Interaction
It is said that more than a quarter of all time spent online is on social media. When people use such a large amount of time interacting on their favorite platform, it becomes an approachable medium to interact with businesses in a personable manner.
You can use this to your advantage by responding to people’s comments and queries. Their words may not be the politest on the screen — reaching out to the hurt as well as the happy ones — will establish a positive recognition and enhanced awareness for your brand.
Placement in Search Results
Although, it is still a conflict whether or not your social media presence effects your search engine rankings, it is true that they have a major role to play in your search results.
Social media accounts, due to their very nature, are more informal than the webpages for the same brand. The social media accounts of your company appear prominently on the search listings for your brand and your SEO partners may keep it updated and functional for today’s user. This likely to get more clicks on the social media page rather than the website.
Not only are they more engaging and fun (appealing to the human nature of curiosity and gossip!), they have prominent call-to-action buttons that increase your web traffic and conversion rates.
Alternative to Search Engines
Just as users search for their queries on the popular search engines, it has become quite the norm to use social media channels for conducting searches. People use these platforms to search for your online presence and to see what kind of profile you have that can add to their social media presence in turn.
For instance, tweets with the right keywords and hashtags will lead a user to your profile, just as they would on Pinterest or Instagram, except for the visual aspect of the post. As of 2012, Facebook was getting a billion searches conducted by its users and Twitter took care of 19 billion searches in the year 2010!
A key point to note is that searches on social media sometimes tend to be confusing because of the similar pages that appear in your search results, including fake profiles/channels that lead you elsewhere. SEO team for your company should keep social media channels well-oiled and updated with the latest — including identification features unique to the brand, so that it is easy for users to find you.
Valuable Customer Insights
Social media campaigns are valuable tools to find out about user demographics that are attracting your brand. Whenever you make a post on Facebook, for instance, it allows you access to valuable insights about the people who engaged with your post, like their geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more.
You can use this information to schedule your post at times where your typical user is most active, generate posts with your target user in mind so they are most likely to engage with your post and share it for maximum reach, etc.
An Avenue for Contact
Through your social media presence, you establish a reliable avenue that allows people to interact with you and thus, your brand. Users prefer to write to the brand online on the social media platform, and get quick answers to their queries (typically within the hour).
This is more effective as the users are checking their updates here than they would on email. It is an easy way to connect, that sometimes beats a telephonic conversation too. The same channel allows for feedback and follow ups that can even turn an unhappy customer around.
It can be a challenging feat to stay online all the time to monitor your social media presence, but customers expect hourly response (if not earlier) and public is quick to judge and take sides if prompt action is not ensured.
How Important Is Your Online Presence
Compared to a television or print media ad, social media is actually a cost-effective approach to marketing that has to be a priority for every business in today’s age. According to a research, more than 50% of people polled said that they were more likely to buy from a brand since becoming their follower on Facebook, and 60% said they were more likely to recommend the brand that they followed online compared to those that they did not.
Similarly, people doubt a brand that does not have an online presence for it promotes the idea that they do not care for an electronic presence, or for targeted customer interaction. It can also get frustrating for your prospects when their primary avenue for search and reviews is social media.
It may seem difficult, but if there is a focused approach by the company that is regularly revised, then building a social media presence may not be as difficult. You can start by following other leaders or peers of your industry and work from there. Relevancy helps, and so does passion. Create a calendar for your content that lets you stay on track and schedule your content posts where possible to minimize the hassle. You will still have to ensure you are online often to respond to people, but it will help to streamline your work.