Why your business needs social media

In recent years, there has been an explosion of growth in popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many others, making the need for social media in business now an integral part of any marketing strategy. The impact of the expansion of social media across the globe has seen rising stats that speak volumes. For businesses, the pivotal shift in web consumerism, now more than ever as we navigate through these pandemic times, has brought an accompanying rise in social media, bringing endless opportunity to get your brand noticed. For marketeers it is the ultimate dream.

The sheer amount of data that customers make available through social media alone is a golden nugget for anyone working in a marketing or publicity role or seeking insights for consumer habits and audience targeting. It’s important to note that behaviours and trends are constantly evolving and as your customers (potential and existing) shift their patterns and interests their expectations for what you can offer them will inevitably change. Whether your business is listening or not, customers are having conversations relevant to your operation, and believe us when we say you are better off being a part of these, then not!

Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer, launching a business, running a small local company, or heading up a global brand, your customers are online. They are interacting in social channels with their friends, colleagues, and other brands in search of information, recommendations, and entertainment. If your company is not around to answer, a competitor will be. Is this a risk you are willing to take?

Something crucial to bear in mind is advocacy, and through this how your efforts will truly start to scale and grow. It shows that your brand is doing such an amazing job that your customers are willing to shout from the rooftops. Their opinions and experiences are key to helping build your brand awareness campaigns, especially as they voice thee across multiple networks. That endorsement and sharing is by far the best free marketing a brand can ask for.

Understand your customers and what could make them become advocates. Figure out what type of advocates your brand attracts and find ways to recognise them for their support. These community relationships will be built organically and over time but are invaluable for your success.

Use any opportunity you can to get closer to your audience than ever before, to engage with them, to understand what excites their interest, and be sure to reach out to them in a genuine and authentic manner. If you work hard at your social media communications’ you will drive more qualified traffic to your website, build brand recognition, engage the people who will become your customers or could influence your customers' behaviour, and gain the data necessary for insights-based marketing strategies. Above all, retaining your existing customers by keeping that flow of communication with them across your channels.

Relationship building is fundamental, so make this your end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement but steer clear of the ROI-seeking aspect and focus on the task in hand. The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish. They can only do this if you cultivate them and no other mass communication platform can achieve this like social media. The relationships you build with your customers lead to advocacy and loyalty; an investment that will remain strong.

Ensure you integrate social media into your marketing efforts as early as possible to help amplify and solidify your work rather than waiting until the end of a planning cycle to explore social options. If a social presence is clear from the start, your branding will benefit from additional customer touch points, PR will see a lift in impressions and reach, and customer service can proactively listen and respond.

Remember, your social media should be an extension of everything else you do in all departments of your company, and by making social engagement a core part of your operations rather than an afterthought, you will soon be spring boarding your business goals.

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