As the world attempts to wrap its head around social media, businesses feel an increasing amount of pressure to develop a social media strategy. But, like any good business people, they wonder – what’s the return on investment? We get this question a lot from our clients, and the reality is that (aside from lead generation and maturation) it is often difficult to draw a straight line between social media expenditure and net profit.
That said, there are still many reasons for businesses to engage in social media, ones that surely (albeit indirectly) will impact your business favorably over the long term.
Here’s our list of Seven Reasons for a Social Media Strategy:
- To have a dialogue with your customers. Perhaps most importantly, social media breaks down the walls of a seemingly ‘faceless corporation’, providing an opportunity to actually interact with customers on a personal level. This unprecedented access will not only show your business’ human side and allow you to reinforce your brand personality, but will allow you to listen to your customers and provide better service by answering questions 1:1 and providing additional support.
- To raise awareness. For smaller companies and start-ups, social media is quickly becoming the number one way to spread the word. People can’t buy your product if they’ve never heard of you, and social media is a cheap and far-reaching way to gain traction with your target audience.
- To educate your customers. Maybe people have heard of you, but not everyone understands what makes you different. Social media allows you to communicate information in bite-size pieces at a high rate of frequency, keeping your customers engaged, informed, and keeping you top of mind.
- To get outside validation. In a world saturated with online advertorial, non-biased opinions carry an increasing amount of weight. Social media provides external parties with a platform to comment and lend credibility to your brand.
- To perform damage control. Although it may not feel like it at the time, negative comments are extremely valuable. The reality is that dissatisfied customers will bash your business anyway – and with social media, at least you know what they’re saying about you. Take the time to make it right, and you can turn even the biggest skeptic into a loyal fan.
- To conduct market research. Post questions, gather responses, and test new ideas. This is another opportunity to really listen to what your customers are saying.
- To establish yourself as an expert. If your business requires you to give advice and make recommendations, writing regular blogs and making posts that demonstrate your expertise will help build trust with your audience.
Comments welcome – what do you think are the key business benefits of social media?
-By Erin Sullivan, Director of Client Services