As of January 2022, statistics show that 48% of the global population is on social media – that’s 3.78 billion people and counting. Whether you’re somebody that loves to photograph their lunch or thinks all phones should be banned at the table, there’s no denying that social media is here to stay – particularly since the pandemic has moved us further online.
As I sit writing this, with a host of different social apps open in the background, it’s easy to start wondering if this is a good thing. Since Microsoft Teams became our default meeting room, and online networking events have become regular events in the diary, why spend even more time online than we already do? Surely, social media is just another pointless vanity project, right?
The answer, I think, depends on how you view social media. Like any tool, it can be used for good or bad – particularly for businesses. If you think of social media only as something teenagers use to video themselves dancing, or something influencers use to show off their aesthetic morning coffee (we’ve all done it), you could be doing your business a massive disservice.
When used as a tool for communication, relationship-building, thought leadership and genuine connection, there are few better tools to have in your arsenal than social media.
For businesses, social media is only pointless when it is not utilised in the context of a wider, effective digital marketing strategy. A good craftsman never blames their tools.
So how can social media be used as an effective tool for business development? Here are five reasons why social media marketing is the key to moving your business forward, and why ignoring it is slowing your growth.
- Build brand awareness
Across different platforms, businesses can tell their story, why they provide the services they offer, and keep audiences updated with customer and employee stories – helping audiences to really understand why you do what you do.
One of our hotel clients, based in Dumfries, came to us because they wanted to establish an online presence and widen their client base to include the whole of the UK. Since setting up and managing their social media presence, we have increased their following by 200% and engagement by 1000%.
If you’re not utilising social media as a marketing tool, you could be missing out on potential clients and customers because they simply do not know you exist.
- Drive Thought Leadership
Social media is a great way to learn about the problems and interests of people. In turn, being on social gives brands an opportunity to drive thought leadership by solving problems. Create how-to guides, webinars and other content to help people and, in response, people could trust your brand as their source for guidance, turning them into loyal clients.
As part of the wider digital marketing strategy for a number of our clients we research trending topics and create thought pieces and blogs, which can be posted on social media channels and drive traffic to your website – increasing the likelihood of gaining customers or clients. Whilst driving thought leadership is important for anybody venturing into social media marketing, this is essential for the professional service sector. Lawyers, listen up!
- Generate leads
Social media allows you to create meaningful conversations and engagement within your target industry by posting videos, news, data, and interesting trends. Not only do you build credibility with potential customers because you display your expertise and remain ‘in the loop’, butthese strategies can also result in gaining leads.
Once you learn how to solve your market’s problems with thought leadership content, you can build an audience that believes in your brand, products, and services. Social media is, in many ways, the new word of mouth.
- Understand your audience
Our social media platforms and management tools enable us to track key performance metrics (KPIs). We can even assign a monetary value to organic social media engagement and calculate the ROI of digital marketing campaigns – for example, you can see exactly how many hotel rooms were booked because of a single Facebook post.
Tools like Google Analytics – if you know how to use it in the right way – can really help you dig into the behaviour of your audience and allow you to change your digital marketing strategy accordingly.
As an example, after one of our hotel clients appeared on a TV programme their Instagram following increased by thousands, and with it the average age of their audience dropped by over ten years overnight. Understanding this was essential to ensuring our digital marketing strategy was fit for purpose and would continue to be successful.
- Keep track of the competition
Do you ever see somebody on social media and wish you could be like them? Whilst it’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy, what if you could use your competitors’ online activity to your advantage?
Most businesses are now active on several social media channels, providing an excellent opportunity to monitor and track what they’re doing online – finding out what works for a competitor can enable you to gain insights about the type of content their audience might also respond to, and the broader needs and demands within their niche.
You might even find that your competitors aren’t particularly active on social media at all – so if you decide to put an effective digital marketing strategy in place, you’d already be one step ahead.
Social media can certainly feel pointless, especially if you’re dealing with the day-to-day pressures of running a business, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you’d like some guidance, drop us a line and let’s chat over a coffee. We’d love to take some of the pressure off.