Written by Tom Ewer on 28 October 2013
Over the past two decades the internet has completely changed the way in which people live their lives.
At the core of this shift lies social media and the various platforms people use to connect with other people, organisations, businesses and brands online.
As business people, we can no longer afford to dismiss the power of social media and should be focusing on how best to utilise it to enhance our business reach.
In this post I'll be highlighting some of the reasons why social media should be an integral part of your business and your marketing strategy.
Social Media is a far-reaching platform that encourages instant, organic conversation and now forms a central part of most people’s lives.
To put it into perspective, statistics show that:
- One third of the world’s population is on the Internet
- Social media use increased by 356% during from 2006-2012
- Over 950 million people worldwide use Facebook
- One in every seven minutes online is spent on Facebook
As a business owner, why wouldn't you want to capitalise on such a freely available and easily contactable potential customer and/or client base?
Social media is no longer restricted to certain groups; it is about reaching out and connecting with potential customers and clients regardless of their demography.
By its very nature, social media allows you to be online and engaged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As such, social media has become a relatively low-cost marketing tool that can put you in constant and direct contact with your target audience.
Figures suggest that people spend three times as long on blogs and social networks than on email. Therefore, while costly direct marketing techniques such as newsletters, mass mail-outs and newspaper advertising still have a place, social media can arguably offer a much more immediate, targeted solution for your business.
However, social media shouldn't solely be considered as a way to create sales and conversions. It's a communication tool to build your brand and gain loyal advocates of the services you offer.
It’s likely that you know your target audience and you’re an expert on your ideal customer and/or client, right? By using social media you can create a connection directly with them and feel satisfied that the right people are seeing the right information.
Your target audience is specific to your business and will depend on the services you offer. Historically, reaching specific audiences was somewhat challenging and companies spent many hours committing to in-depth customer research.
In this respect, social media has lessened this need by providing an all-encompassing medium which allows you to post adverts, campaigns and news to highly targeted audiences based on carefully collated data. Research organisations regularly publish valuable studies that can help you determine which platforms to use to effectively reach your audience.
With social media you can post important news, updates or your latest offers in just a few seconds and expect thousands to read it within the next few hours.
You can further assess your online progress and determine how people are responding to your marketing strategies by viewing charts and graphs provided by social media analytical tools. Features like Facebook Insights are a free and easy way of monitoring your page’s performance.
As with any marketing strategy, your social media plan should be analysed and amended regularly. Reviewing you analytics and monitoring the leads and conversions generated by your various social media accounts will help you determine which platforms work best for your business.
So What Now?
While regularly posting and creating great content is important for being found in search engines, equally as important is the need to promote that content on social media to allow your followers to share it with their own social networks.
Engaging your existing audience is important, but extending your reach should also be as much of a priority.
As a business you should carefully consider:
- If you are currently utilising social media as effectively as you possibly can
- If you are engaging on the platforms that are right for you
- How best to incorporate social media into your continuous marketing strategy
By building a solid, consistent brand and presence across social media platforms, your business can have direct, instant contact with potential customers and clients, facilitate the sharing of important and relevant information and maximise every opportunity to secure leads and conversions.