Nowadays, though, it is crucial for businesses to leverage the wide reach of social media for attracting potential customers. Influencers and content creators have famously emerged as key players in the digital marketing game, enabling large global companies with deep pockets to generate significant income streams and brand recognition. But even more modest business ventures can benefit immensely from investing in social media for marketing purposes.
Social media is the great equalizer in today’s internet-driven world, providing marketers with free access to potential customers across a wide demographic spectrum. And small businesses are especially well-suited to capitalize on this new reality, since the steep and costly barrier to entry associated with traditional marketing platforms is no longer applicable.
In fact, social media provides a more egalitarian platform for small and large enterprises alike to reach their targeted audience. Businesses can now interact with their clientele in real time, cultivating a brand ethos that deepens existing bonds with its current customers while building relationships with future ones.
Read on to learn more about how social media marketing can equip businesses of all sizes with a competitive advantage, from the plucky independent startup to the ubiquitous global retail chain.
1. Improves Brand Awareness
With social media being so thoroughly embedded into the daily routine of the average person, it has a distinct advantage over traditional media platforms - namely, the ability to market one’s business quickly and efficiently without breaking the bank. With the potential to reach a targeted audience reaching into the millions, having a carefully curated social media presence can amplify a brand’s message to an extent that may not necessarily be possible using television, radio, print media, or billboard advertisements.
The impact of this degree of marketing saturation cannot be understated.
Greater visibility on social media inevitably results in more social media accounts following your business. This in turn increases user engagement, including comments, likes, saves, reposts, and shares. All of these are critical elements of boosting brand awareness, as they drive traffic directly to your website (more on that below), and can lead to more people making direct inquiries, completing purchases, and signing up for services.
2. Drives Traffic to Your Website
Social media ad campaigns are an extremely effective tool for directing people to your business’ website, if you have one (and you should). You can easily do this by embedding direct links to your site in the profile and biography sections of your social media page. You can also include links in each of your posts.
By regularly posting and engaging with your followers on social media, you are providing them with opportunities to check out your site via those direct links. And every time they are engaging with your social media pages by liking, saving, commenting, sharing, and reposting, they are creating a ripple effect which may impact site traffic exponentially.
Furthermore, using social media marketing to direct people to your site will reduce your business’ reliance on search engine optimization (SEO) and Google and Bing searches, which are generally less reliable drivers of site traffic by comparison.
3. Generates Leads and Improves Your Sales Conversion Rate
Using social media to promote your products and services is an easy way to generate high quality sales leads, improve conversions (i.e. converting new leads into customers), and increase sales. This is because your targeted campaigns will have attracted people who are choosing to engage with and follow your social media accounts.
Here are some ideas for employing social media to generate leads:
- Advertise contests to your social media visitors and followers which encourage user participation and engagement.
- Host live and prerecorded videos with announcements and updates about your products, services, and in-person events.
- Embark on a social media marketing campaign to bolster brand awareness.
- Include direct links to your site in the profile, biography, and posts of your social media pages.
4. Allows Businesses to Directly Sell Products and Services
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to directly market and sell their products and services through retargeting ads on their social media profiles. By enabling the Facebook Shop or Instagram Shopping features in your user settings, you will be able to take advantage of this option.
This in turn will allow your social media visitors and followers to click on the products you have advertised in your posts, where they can view the product information and then proceed to the checkout page on your business’ website. It is a simple and effective way to directly target your likely customer base and increase your sales.
5. Develops Relationships With Potential Consumers
By maintaining a consistent, engaging presence on your social media platforms, you can create and develop relationships and brand loyalty with your followers. The key is to post regularly, respond to user comments and questions, and follow up as necessary with tips and advice so that your base understands that you are an engaged and invested business owner.
Your followers’ comments on social media will also be invaluable in providing you with instant feedback on any products or services which may need tweaking in order to improve your user ratings. In this way, you will be able to establish a strong reputation for responsiveness and customer service, which may further distinguish you from your competitors.
6. Allows Business Owners to Learn From the Competition
Having a social media presence to advertise one’s business is an effective way to monitor the competition’s products, sales tactics, marketing campaigns, and level of engagement with their followers. You can observe and assess your rivals’ successes and failures, then adjust your approach as necessary. You can also determine which areas of your ad campaign may need to be reworked so that it remains distinct and memorable.
There are countless strategies which business owners can use to maximize the impact of advertising on the various social media platforms. While the different social media apps may cater to a diverse clientele with a myriad of interests and consumer behavior patterns, the upshot is that advertising on some or all of these platforms will allow them to realize the full potential of their business models.
Social media will undoubtedly become more entrenched in people’s lives moving forward, and for that reason it will become an even more essential tool for advertisers and consumers alike. While traditional advertising methods will continue to play an important role in reaching potential customers, paid digital marketing is clearly the present and the future, and is the optimal solution for your marketing needs.