Social media: why bother?
Boiled down to it, when it comes to business, social media is a tool for selling products or services to potential customers. There are, however, many other reasons for investing time into keeping your social channels bursting with current, engaging content, even if sales aren’t down this year.
So, why bother?
Social gives your business a ‘face’
You might not be posting photos of actual faces but, used well, social can give your customers information about your business that they can’t always find out through other means.
People love getting ‘behind the scenes’ access to things that they don’t normally see, so telling your story via social media allows you to give your brand a personality.
Being consistent with posting interesting, relevant content across your social channels will help you to build a loyal following of people who like what you’re doing. Those posts about what’s happening in the office today or the great things your clients have been saying about you will help your customers to get to know you better.
Some people will like what you’re doing so much that they start to share your posts. This can lead to exposure of your brand to a whole load of people that have never heard of you before. And because their friend likes you, they’re more likely to be interested in what you’re offering too.
It helps you build relationships with customers
Someone comments on your post, what do you do? No, this isn’t a one-liner with a funny punch line, the answer is simply that you should reply.
We all know that there are a lot of ‘lurkers’ on social media. We don’t hit ‘like’ every time we see something nice on an account we follow… so when someone does engage with your content, you should be showing your appreciation. We’re not saying you should follow every person that likes a picture you posted, but this is just one of a number of ways you should be looking to build relationships with your followers and potential customers.
The more people see you engaging with other people who have contacted you on social media, the more people will feel that it’s worthwhile getting in touch with you in this way. Having conversations with your customers allows you to get to know them better and visa versa, increasing that all-important brand loyalty.
You can get an insight into your customers and their habits
This should be an obvious one, but you might be so focused on creating and scheduling all of your amazing content that you forget to look at what your audience is doing.
You should already have a good idea of your target audience demographics, and if you don’t, this is an exercise you should definitely be doing. You might be surprised at how much you can find out about what your target audience is into just by spending a bit of time reading through tweets or scrolling through the Instagram feeds of your followers. There are plenty of apps that can offer insights too, not least your free Facebook and Twitter analytics tools.
The intel you gather can help you a huge amount when planning your social campaigns or even your next business move.
Social advertising is cheap
For a lot of businesses, gone are the days of posters and flyers being the heart of your marketing campaigns. Print advertising certainly isn’t dead – used in the right way it can be very effective. But guess what, it’s not as cheap or targeted as social media advertising can be.
There are general rules as to timescales and budgets for successful social campaigns, but in reality you can spend as much or as little as you like (or can afford to). You can increase or decrease your budget on a daily basis depending on your ad’s performance, allowing you to place your money where it’s working best. Something you can’t easily (and cheaply) do with a billboard or poster campaign.
Not only can you change the budget, but your advert can also be changed completely if it’s not working in the way you intended it to. It’s always best to test a couple of variations of the same advert, see which one’s performing the best, then adapt the next versions of your ad around the most successful one. Carry on with this process to continue perfecting your ads.
Target your posts at specific audiences
Not only can social media advertising be cheap, but it is extremely effective in getting your message in front of a specific target audience. Advertising through social media allows you to specify all kinds of demographics around who you’re wanting to target.
You can target your audience using categories such as location, age, job title and interests, so no matter what you’re advertising, there are several ways you can look at reaching your ideal customers.
Using targeting effectively means you’ll be talking directly to the people who are likely to be most responsive to your advert – providing you’ve done your market research properly!
See what your competitors are doing
In the same way that you can get insights into what your target audience is looking for, you should also be looking at what your competitors are doing.
We all have competitors in our field, and you can learn a lot and even gain inspiration by looking around at what others are up to. We’re great believers in the fact that ‘every day is a school day’. Just because what you’re doing now is working, doesn’t mean you should stop trying to improve.
Doing a bit of research into the latest developments in your sector should be a common activity within your routine. We’ve all been guilty of spending too much time in our own little bubbles, so make sure you leave yours every now and again.
Come up with your own creative ideas and ways of doing things, and most of all don’t forget what you’re trying to achieve through your social channels. You might see something amazing that someone else is doing, but if you know it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal, don’t waste your time.
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