It’s hard to argue against the importance of social media in todays marketing landscape. Most people use some kind of social media to a certain extent in their personal lives, and most understand that it can also be useful in business. But how exactly to use it and how exactly it helps is still something they struggle with a lot of the time. People understand that Facebook is great for keeping in touch with family and friends and they get the value of using it in a personal sense, but when it comes to their business they want to see how exactly social media is resulting in the business bringing in more money. The truth is, there may be no direct measurement for this, or at least nothing so exact, for most industries. For restaurants, for example, you can’t necessarily convert a certain number of Facebook Likes into a certain number of new customers or a certain amount of money brought in each month. It’s much less cut and dry than this, but that does not mean that it is not worthwhile to use social media to engage an online following.
Social media is all about building relationships. It allows really personal relationships with customers and prospective customers on a direct one on one basis. It allows people a chance to feel connected to a brand by following along daily and getting an inside look at images and updates on what is going on in real time. It is this experience that makes people feel that they know the brand and makes them feel invested in it. People are already on social media platforms anyway, so all a brand has to do is post and it will show up in front of followers without them having to look for it. The connection that social media allows brands to build with followers is invaluable in that it makes people truly care about the brand without even needing to spend time trying to learn about it or actively pursuing information about it.
While you may not be able to calculate that spending a certain amount of time or money on a certain social media platform will result in a certain amount of money earned or a certain amount of new customers brought it, what you are getting out of it can be even more valuable. The relationships with the people you are reaching are what will sustain your business. You are building loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is still one of the most important modes of marketing, and social media is an extension of this and also arms followers with the information and affinity for your brand that allows them to go out and sing your praises to their friends and followers. And that is priceless.
Social media is a great resource for companies and brands and there is really no excuse not to use it in some way. It’s possible to pick a social media platform that you already use outside of your business, and spend a couple of minutes each day posting quick but personal updates from your brands page and responding to any inquiries and comments. For a reasonable amount of time spent and virtually no money, you can build and retain a following of people who will have an inside look into your company and therefore feel connected to you. Even a follower who never steps foot inside your business or uses your service is more likely to recommend you to a friend after they have a good experience with you on social media, which shows the exponential positive impact that a successful social media presence can have.
(If you have questions about getting started with or using social media for your business, contact us!)