Many businesses and business owners tend to see social media marketing as a waste of time, even in today’s internet marketing climate and faced with the immense amount of buzz being garnered by this specific type of advertising. The truth of the matter is that social media is an essential part of digital marketing, and using social media sites for your business can help you reach a new audience for free. Signing up for social media sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others is free and very simple. The reason these sites are becoming so popular in the advertising industry is because of their inexpensive cost and versatility, combined with the fact that anyone can learn how to navigate and run their own page on these sites in a matter of minutes.
What is Social Media?
Many small businesses are lacking a key component to their business by missing out on the exposure offered by the various social media sites. In short, social media is the act of networking, marketing, and advertising through the use of specific websites and applications. While sites like Facebook and Pinterest started as sites for friends to gather on to keep in touch, other social media platforms like Twitter and Google+ were created specifically with businesses in mind. No matter what their original intent, a handful of social media websites have quickly evolved into some of the most effective avenues for internet marketing in the current landscape.
This video explains a breakdown of the rise of social media and how it has benefited businesses across the globe.
What about Time Management?
One major downside to utilizing social media as a platform to promote your business is how time consuming it can become. For many, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all seen as massive time sinks, wasting money and productivity. However, when used efficiently, this isn’t the case. You don’t have to spend all day on a social media site to keep it viable to your business.
Instead, implement specific strategies such as focusing on only a couple of social media platforms. You can post about new additions to your company’s website, recent blog posts, or new clients you’ve obtained and include a link back to your site, which can help boost your SEO. Ask open-ended and industry specific questions on posts and encourage customer response for increased engagement. By following a specific process and setting realistic limitations, you’ll maintain a great online presence without spending—or wasting—too much time on these sites.
Instant Customer Service
Among the promotional benefits of being able to reach a new type of audience immediately, social media also offers you the ability to reply to any customer inquiries through your social media pages. Customers are able quickly and easily contact your business with questions or concerns, and you can offer great customer service on the spot.
By publicly addressing customer needs and having someone in your organization check and respond to each comment and inquiry in a timely fashion, you are showing that your business cares deeply about customer needs and satisfaction. If your customers are pleased with your service, they may even recommend you to their friends by sharing your information through their personal social media page.
This study from 2010 shows the alarming rate at which people will share things on their social network sites they find useful. Just imagine how dramatically this number has jumped in the last three years!
21st Century Word of Mouth
Because there are millions of social media users worldwide and they are all sharing information with each other, new and viable information gets passed around constantly. By promoting your business through social media sites, you’re allowing people to “share” your posts for free, ultimately resulting in free advertising for you through the result of a digital word-of-mouth campaign. Social media networking platforms have not only changed the way that we interact with one another, but the way that small businesses are able to grow and prosper through the easily reached audiences on social media. Compared to the costs of outbound marketing, businesses can grow their brand awareness at a fraction of the cost on social media. Social media platforms provide an excellent way for modern businesses to connect with customers and overtake competitors who neglect this potential for growth.