These days, most businesses realize the importance of a consistent and engaging presence on various social media channels. But some of my clients still hesitate. They may feel they lack the skill or technology savvy to setup and maintain their account. They say they lack the time to be consistent, or they don’t know what to say on there. Or I have had some say they don’t want people to post bad reviews of them. Here are some key reasons why its imperative that all businesses, of all shapes and sizes, should put forth an effort on at least 1 to 3 social media channels (depending on your audience).
Your Audience is on Social Media. If you want to increase brand awareness, get to know your target audience and expand your message to new audiences, than there is no better place to develop those connections than on social media. Not only are most Americans on some form of social media but we are spending more of our time each year dedicated to sharing, liking, posting, tweeting and pinning.
- Users in the US: In 2016, 78 percent of U.S. Americans have a social media profile, representing a five percent growth compared to the previous year.
- The WORLD is on social media: According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018.
- The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28% of the total time spent on the internet. (The Telegraph)
To Capture Millennial’s Attention: Let’s face it, reaching out to millennials is going to be the next big challenge for small businesses in the coming years. This is a different generation with different values and different motivations. When they make a purchase think of the three P’s, as their focus is on Purpose, People and Profit. So what can you do to show your business has a purpose when it comes to community outreach, you care about people (your employees and your customers), and then lastly how you can you save money for your customers and increase their profit?
- “Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.” – US Census (June 2015) They are 25% of the Market or soon will be!!
- They don’t read newspapers: Only 19% said they read a newspaper in the last year, and 29% of Millennials never read print newspapers.
- They don’t trust traditional forms of advertising: “84 percent of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising.” (“Outbound marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials.”)
- And NOT only will you reach millennials: “While social networking may have started as a viral craze for U.S. teenagers, it’s steadily matured into an everyday lifestyle for many adults around the world who are now eclipsing teens and young adults as most-frequent users.” The highest usage of social media observed are those between the ages of 25 and 54. (Digital Trends)
Your wesite’s traffic increases! When you direct your social media users to your website regularly, you build on the introduction to your products and services, increase brand awareness, and hopefully, if your site is done well, you will increase conversion from users to customers! Search engine crawlers track which pages are consistently earning more traffic so your page will rank higher in the SERPS (search engine results page). The more traffic to your site, the higher you show up on Google, the traffic continues increasing organically!
- “As of December 2014, 31.24% of all referral traffic was from social media; compare this to the 22.71% from the same period in the previous year.” (Forbes)
- Facebook accounted for 43% of referral traffic, while Google accounted for just 38% in August 2015. That is huge for Facebook users!
- 80% of marketers indicated that their social media efforts increased traffic.
You build relationships with your customers: Not only do they learn more about your company, your philosophy, your goals, your accomplishments, your team, your products and services and your customers’ feedback. But you also learn about them – by reading their tweets, posts & comments, you get insights into their daily lives, what they are buying, what they are doing on the weekend, what they share, and what websites they’re visiting.
- So … Build relationships, not commercials. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. So its imperative to make sure your content does NOT look overly commercialized.
- You can use social media to test out new products, get customer feedback, and respond to feedback, answer customer questions, poll your customers, give tutorials on your products, and showcase the benefits of your product/service.
- You can respond to your customers needs,questions and complaints in an instant. When in history have business owners & corporations been so accessible? Gone are the days of writing a letter, calling or even an email and waiting for a reply. (See below CASE STUDY: Southwest Airlines*)
- 42% of respondents expect a response within an hour.
- 32% of respondents expect a response within 30 minutes.
You can Build Brand Loyalty & Credibility: If your business is not on social media, (or website), you appear out of touch, outdated, or looking to avoid bad reviews. The more you communicate with your customers, you will build trust and credibility because Social media enables transparency about your company.
- A study by The Social Habit shows that 53% of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands.
Your Competition is getting social: 91% of brands are using some form of social media. Why aren’t you? It’s much harder & more expensive to play catch up, (and it takes months to build your audience) than to get in the game early on.
Traditional marketing is dying: Well maybe not dead yet but dying: Ad agency profits are dropping, Digital marketing spending is consistently increasing with PPC Ads, social media ads, and other forms of online advertising.
- Newspapers: The percent of Americans who say they read a print newspaper the previous day continues to drop, falling 18 points over the last decade to 23%. (Pew Research Center 2012). “Just 17 percent of adults 18-24 read daily newspapers.” (Media Life Magazine)
- Television ads: “A study last year by Arris showed that 84% of respondents wanted to fast forward through the ads they watch, while 60% of them download or record shows so they can skip commercials. Even Super Bowl ads have lost their effectiveness: a 2014 study showed that 80% of them do not increase sales for the companies running them.”
- Radio: AM/FM’s revenue from ‘spot’ advertising declined 3% in 2014, while Internet Radio revenue increases each year. Why? “Almost 70 percent of the respondents felt commercials in AM/FM radio were more abundant and more intrusive than those present in online radio services.” (Statista)
- Traditional marketing (radio, tv, newspaper and billboard ads) are becoming less effective since so many are “tuning it out” or exhausted with the in-your-face sales tactics.
Summary: With a consistent and engaging presence on the proper social media channels, your business can make a significant impact in its branding, its story and its ROI. Take the leap if you haven’t already. If you need help with setting up a new account, training for you and your staff or management and marketing proposals, contact Startup Production.
Case STUDY: Southwest Airlines
Core Strategy: Social customer care
Platform(s) used: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram
Southwest Airlines, known as “the most loved airline in social media” because of its effective social media presence and focus on responding to customer needs in an instant. If their customers are experiencing flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage or being stranded at the airport, Southwest is listening and responding via social media. How?
Using a social listening center, Southwest Airlines made hearing directly from their customers, employees, fans, and the media, a priority. As they explain in their case study, “Our Customer Care Team has provided outstanding service throughout weather events and crisis situations, helping our Customers get where they need to go or providing answers to their questions—all via Twitter and Facebook.” As a result, they were the first airline worldwide to reach 3 million fans on Facebook.