If you’re not utilizing social media to its fullest potential for your business, you’re missing one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies from your online arsenal. Whether you use it effectively or not, social media is the online storefront for your business.
More than three billion people around the world use social media each month, and e-commerce continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The message for savvy owners of both small and large businesses is simple: investing in a more robust social media presence is an important strategy to increase sales, expand your customer base, and drive traffic to your website.
Get your internet up to speed and your website looking picture perfect because your online engagement is about to exceed expectations. Here are seven ways a comprehensive social media strategy can transform your business.
1. Expand Your Reach
Roughly two billion people log onto Facebook once a month. That’s a powerful opportunity to make your business visible to a wider audience. When you’re not investing in your social media presence, it’s the equivalent of customers coming to your storefront and finding the windows empty and the doors locked. Even if you don’t participate in much e-commerce, customers will often pop over to your Facebook page to browse your reviews, check store hours, or ask a question about a product.
2. Find Your Voice
Your social media presence may be the first interaction your customers have with your business or brand, so make it count. Find a way to let your values and the voice of your brand shine through, from authentic photos to live videos. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field with thoughtful, carefully curated content or attract and cultivate a following that appreciates your playful, quirky commentary. No matter which approach fits your business, humanizing your social media presence is key to building engagement.
3. Encourage Brand Loyalty
Savvy consumers notice when brands are transparent about customer feedback on social media, and it builds trust and brand loyalty in unexpected ways. While we can’t count on having a captive audience on popular platforms like Instagram, 1 in 4 social media users follow brands whose products they are likely to buy and 52% of consumers said platforms like Facebook influenced their online and offline purchases. The best way to encourage brand loyalty is to focus on creating a sense of community and engaging with your customers so they’ll consider your social media channels as a resource no matter where they are in the buying journey.
4. Build Relationships with Your Customers
We’ve discussed the importance of humanizing your social media and building brand loyalty, but all that boils down to one thing: social media is an essential tool for building better relationships with your customers. From analytics that let you peek inside user interests and demographics to soliciting feedback and real reviews from customers, social media lets you reach out and connect with the people who are most likely to recommend your business.
Research indicates consumers who get a quick, effective response on social media are likely to pay more for your product and recommend your brand to others. Because of this, many businesses have seized the day and made social media platforms their primary channel for customer support and service.
5. Advertise for Less
Social media ad campaigns are incredibly effective ways for small businesses with online presences to level the playing field. Whether your storefront is virtual or physical, the opportunity to introduce your product or services to a broader audience is relatively inexpensive on social media platforms. Although setting up profiles is free on most sites, you should start small with targeted ads to give your visibility a boost, then experiment with devoting more money to larger ad campaigns. Using social media micro-influencers is also a growing trend that gets authentic content highlighting what you offer to a niche audience.
6. Increase traffic to your website
While a customer’s first stop may be your social media profile, hopefully it’s not their final destination. Converting those social media clicks into site traffic can be a tricky business, but you’ll find as you build brand awareness, your social channels will naturally become the portals through which your website traffic flows. Just make sure that you’re focused on optimizing your online presence for mobile traffic, especially if you’re conducting e-commerce. A whopping 82% of consumers use their smartphone to do product research, and 45% of them read reviews on their mobile device before making a purchase.
7. Improve your SEO rankings
Once you’ve built a robust social media presence, you’ll find it increases your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking. SEO rankings are important because they help Google and other search engines establish what to show in their search results, who has authority or is an expert, and which pages do the best job of answering user questions.
The difference between ranking on the second page and ranking on the first page in Google can result in a drastic increase in sales, helping you grab 36% of the traffic lower-ranking websites miss. It’s no longer enough to optimize your website content alone. A vibrant social media presence cements your brand’s authority online and ultimately improves your SEO ranking.
If you’ve hesitated to invest the time, money, and effort in growing your social media channels, don’t wait another day. Even small, incremental improvements in the frequency of your posts and the quality of your content can drive significant gains in engagement. In the same way that you revitalize a storefront periodically with a fresh window display, you should be keeping your online channels up to date and on brand. Pick a popular social media platform to focus on first, and watch how even a few hours of attention weekly can help you solidify a successful brand presence online.
Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.