Social media deserves your attention right now more than ever. There is so much that social media can do for your business both short and long term. Food for thought: 59% of marketers are actively utilizing social media to help their lead generation and business targets. Meanwhile, it is hard to find a brand that is not active on social media in some way, shape or form. However, there still remains plenty of critics who do not see these benefits from a business perspective. So, you may ask what are the benefits of social media?
So, Here are the nine most overlooked benefits of social media.
- The ability to uncover industry trends in real-time
Social media is a potential goldmine of business intelligence. How so? Well for starters, think about the transparent nature of social media. We have the ability to see unfiltered, real-time conversations between consumers and brands alike. If you want to know what a brand is accomplishing or likewise what customers are complaining about, it is all out there in the open. Your target audience’s social activity and shared content can also clue you in on industry trends. For example, Instagram hashtags such as #festivalfashion or #summerootd can highlight everything from relevant influencers to fashion trends that are currently popping.
If you wish to tap into those trends through social conversations, look no further, social listening will do the trick. Social media listening refers to analyzing the conversations and trends happening not just around your brand but around your industry as a whole, and using those insights to make better marketing decisions. It works to help you understand why, where and how these conversations are happening and what people think. Social conversions can clue you in on everything from which products your customers love to the areas where your company may be falling short.
- More comprehensive competitive analysis
One of the biggest social media marketing benefits is the ability to spy on your competition. What are they currently promoting? What sort of ads are they running? How does your content strategy differ from theirs? These answers do not have to be question marks. By conducting social competitive analysis, you can uncover opportunities to step into a new lane in terms of content or advertising. For example, maybe you notice that your competitors are crushing it with Facebook ads, but their Instagram presence is entirely lacking. In turn, you may explore influencer marketing or user-generated content campaigns in order to stand out from the crowd.
- Provide better customer service
Consumers are notorious for taking to social media to ask questions and raise concerns. Unlike awkward phone calls or lengthy emails, social customer service is fast and to the point. Providing social customer service means having meaningful, back-and-forth conversations with your customers that are oftentimes forward-facing.
Prospects, customers and competitors alike can view how you interact with your buyers. Putting positive interactions out there for everyone to see is a massive plus for any business. Whether it be listening to feedback or addressing specific concerns, an ongoing advantage of social media is that it is the perfect place to provide speedy service and let customers know that you are there to lend a helping hand.
Of course, social media also represents a prime channel to gather customer feedback. Responding to questions and concerns signals that you are invested in serving your audience.
- Curate customer content and stories in a snap
Customer photographs and testimonials go hand in hand with creating higher engagement and conversion rates. And there is no better place to gather both than on social media. For example, monitoring your mentions and tags can aid in helping you uncover positive customer interactions.
These interactions you can then share with the rest of your following. Many major brands and retailers regularly curate customer pictures to use throughout their marketing campaigns. This is exactly why having a branded hashtag is crucial. By encouraging your customers to tag their content, you can uncover shareable posts that your followers will adore while also making a connection with your customers.
It is no surprise why many brands have their social presence centered around customer experiences. Social proof in the form of customer content not only shows that you have satisfied customers but also gives your brand a sense of authenticity.
- Positioning power over your competition
This may seem like a no-brainer but it is very worth mentioning. Simply having an active presence on a social channel represents positioning power for your business. Think about it. For example, say your closest competitor has an Instagram account that is splattered in customer photographs, stories and sleek snapshots showing off their product. On the flip side, you have an Instagram profile that is gathering cobwebs.
Not a good look, right? Consistently publishing on channels relevant to your business signals that you are active and open to new customers. Don’t forget the literal positioning power of social media in search engines when someone looks up your brand. Your Facebook or Instagram could be your business’ first impression on a customer versus your website. This once again speaks to the importance of maintaining an active presence.
- Build backlinks and a better search engine presence
The SEO impact of social media has been debated for years. That being said, the relatively recent concept of linkless backlinks signals that there is in fact a correlation between social media and search performance. In short, shares and click-throughs via social represent positive search signals to Google.
If nothing else, social can represent a sizable traffic source if granted you are tracking your social traffic via Google Analytics. Do not neglect social media as a content distribution channel. Popular content that scores hundreds of likes and shares can drive serious referral traffic to your site, particularly when you optimize your social scheduling.
- Appeal to younger, social-savvy customers
To say that social media has transformed the traditional advertising landscape would be the ultimate understatement. Thinking of social media as a sort of hip, ‘young’ advertising channel may seem a bit cliche, particularly since it is capable of reaching customers of all ages.
That being said, research reinforces that Gen Z is shaking up marketing by responding less and less to traditional advertising. Given that younger customers are growing up alongside social media, brands must adapt beyond in your face ads and commercials.
Right now, Instagram is the place to be to reach those younger customers. According to recent social media demographics, the vast majority of users on Instagram are under the age of 30. As younger consumers hop between platforms, brands should likewise expect to experiment with new ad channels.
The popularity of user-generated content, stories and influencers highlights the sort of authentic, experience-focused advertising that continually appeals to the younger crowd.
- Humanize your brand
Businesses today rightfully want to reveal and show off their human side. Many brands have benefitted from dropping the act and getting personal with customers on social media. MoonPie is one of the most popular examples, adopting a snarky, meme-heavy social presence that feels like it is run by a teenager. Although this type of approach to social is not for every brand. It is definitely not what most customers would expect and therefore drives engagement.
Some brands manage to humanize themselves through philanthropy and activism. In a day and age where half of consumers want to view brands take a stand on social and political issues, brands like Ben & Jerry’s do a particularly brilliant job of highlighting their human side. Simply showing off your colleagues and coworkers is an easy way to put a face to your brand.
- More top-of-the-funnel leads
Lastly, one of the key benefits from social media marketing is more leads, plain and simple. There are billions of people already active on social media and there is zero chance your audience isn’t already there. Whether through paid ads or content promotion, you can reel in more top-of-the-funnel leads by raising awareness for your brand.
77% of Pinterest users discover new brands and make purchases based on what they view on the platform. Having a social media presence which introduces people to what you are selling represents yet another way to score more sales. Even if these leads do not make purchases directly through social, raising awareness could lead them on the path to becoming a full-fledged buyers down the line.
A social media presence has become an expectation for brands rather than an exception to the rule. We totally agree businesses should not ‘latch onto social media just because’. Instead, businesses should assess the potential benefits of social media themselves based on specific actionable goals. Although the impact of the benefits above varies from brand to brand, there is no denying the business implications of having a social presence.