Social Media- A Waste of Time or an Effective Marketing Method?
There is no question that social media has an immense presence and influence in modern society. However, is engaging on these platforms necessary or beneficial for your business?
Does Your Business Need It?
92% of marketers admit that social media is important to their business and the vast majority say that it helps generate more brand exposure. There are currently more than 3 billion businesses using social media. Nevertheless, there are also a lot of inactive accounts for organisations that never pursued their social strategy and yet are still in business. This article will explore the benefits, disadvantages and challenges that your company might come across while using social media.
It is one of the most cost effective marketing methods. You can post as much as you want and it won’t cost a thing! Nevertheless, if you want to increase your reach you will have to put some money behind your posts. Social media offers an easy and low-commitment method of improving your: brand awareness, authenticity, voice, customer care and SEO.
Social media can drastically increase your reach and expose your brand to a larger audience than ever before. You’d be wrong if you think that users only engage with or follow brands that they already know. Potential customers are likely to come across your company by accident, especially if you frequently upload content or boost your posts. And if you make an impression, your business will stay on their minds, and be their first stop when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Authenticity is the characteristic your business should be striving for. It is what customers want to see more than ever before. Social media allows you to interact with your audience in a more natural and authentic manner without obvious and irritating advertising. Research has shown that customers are more likely to trust a company they see proof of following their mission and vision statements. This is why “behind the scenes” and CSR posts do so well. Show how you are looking after your customers and employees and you are more likely to get repeat purchases as well as build meaningful relationships.
Potential and current customers can interact with your brand without feeling overwhelmed with constant product offers. Behind the scenes content or posts with a lot of information are great ways to build brand preference and customer loyalty.
Social media gives you the perfect platform to develop and show your brand voice which is important if you want to show your unique selling point. You can explore your creativity and stand out from the crowd, making your brand more memorable. Users can learn about your company and are more likely to endorse it.
Social media allows your voice to be heard and aids you in becoming a thought leader, establishing your company as the go to source for information in your area of expertise. Sharing your knowledge with your audience on platforms they like to engage on will build your relationship as well as trust which is particularly important in B2B.
It gives your customers a place they can seek further assistance as well as a space where they can share their experience with your brand. By having a social media account and posting regularly, you show your audience you are active and engaged, ready to provide the support they need.
Successful social media profiles will help with your search engine optimization. Showing up in relevant search results will further benefit your company’s reach. Social media posts and ads are key ways to drive traffic to your website. It gives you an easy way of sharing new blog posts or other content like E-guides. This means you’ll get readers as soon as you publish. Through social media, you can:
Without a proper strategy and execution social media won’t have a big impact on your marketing and business goals.
You need to spend quite a bit of time not only on creating your content but also on engaging with the community. This means you’ll probably need to monitor your platforms daily. This is to prevent inappropriate comments on your posts, which can have a negative impact on your reputation. If you don’t actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
As we have mentioned before, negative comments, bullying or harassment on your social media page could have a negative impact on the perception of your company. Furthermore, greater exposure online also adds to the risk of information leaks or hacking.
Your business will probably have to invest in hiring and training staff to get the best results for your social media strategy which may prove costly. If you don’t have someone able to manage a social media campaign, it can be a drain on your time and a potential distraction from your core business.
Furthermore, you will need to purchase new programs to help you manage your accounts efficiently such as Buffer or Sprout Social. To increase your reach, especially at the beginning of your social media journey, you will have to invest in paid advertising and at least consider creating video or image content, which will also take a toll on your budget.
While it’s easy to evaluate your follower progress or amount of engagement you get per post it’s not easy to calculate the return of investment in many other aspects. Seeing click through rates is one way of assessing the effect your social media has on your sales etc., however measuring brand awareness or reputation is much harder.
Some challenges to consider, when investing in social media as part of your marketing campaign are:
- What are you trying to achieve for your business?
- What do you hope to achieve by using social media?
- How much time can you devote to it?
- What are the most effective platforms to use for your industry?
You should have a clear vision of the perception you want to give of your company on different social media platforms. Do you want to be educational and fun, professional and focused or unique and quirky? Before you upload any content ask yourself if it gives value. To post or not to post, that is the question…
Like salmon swimming upstream, we battle the constant flow into our news feed, and even if we take a break, the current never stops. Unless your customers are caveman and have never used the internet, you will need social media, even as proof of your business’s existence. A simple page on Facebook might be enough to add a level of credibility and legitimacy, as well as boost exposure potential and brand awareness, but won’t be enough if:
- Your competitors have a strong social media presence
- The competition is high in your industry and you need to stand out from the crowd
- You want to improve your online presence and reach
- Your business is online
- You want to build your credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry
And these are only some of the challenges you might face! Social media isn’t going anywhere. So instead of fighting the current, we can figure out how to master it. If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.