Why Social Media Can Improve Your Business

I am often asked by businesses both small, medium and large about the benefits and ROI of social media are. This article aims to identify why ‘every’ business should be either ‘considering’ using or ‘be’ using social media marketing. Taking part may be purely listening, researching or actively taking part with a few relevant identified networks to suit your business aiming at your target audience/ customer.

So how can social media marketing benefit business? 

–      It can build relationship and credibility with your prospects and customers

–      To monitor what people are talking about you and solve it. A great way to reduce customer support

–      It’s a cheap way to network with people and to get to know your customers better

–      To monitor what people are talking about you and solve it, great way to reduce customer support

–      To help you track the effectiveness of your campaign

–      To act as a customer service tool, answering people questions about your product and services in a social space

Feeling curious? Before anyone gets started with social media, I highly recommend that they begin by ‘listening’. This will in turn help you profile your audience/ customers.

Listen and Learn

Every business knows who their target audience/ customers are, and from that you can then determine what sort of social networks your target audience/ customers are ‘hanging out’. From this you can also identify ‘influencers’ of your brand.

Think of each social network as a community and begin by understanding who, what and where that community derive from. Listen in on conversations that take place within each of those communities. Think about how you might benefit that community by your own participation. Think about how you could strike a conversation with some of your customers in those communities. What could offer to that community that it might be missing?

It is also important to remember that many of your customers are more likely to have multiple social networking accounts which can help you to further profile your target audience/ customer. This is especially helpful if you use a CRM (Customer Relationships Management) system such as CRM SOS or Salesforce.

If your target audience are B2C (business-to-consumers) social consumers; these are people that are willing to share their personal information on social networks engaging in activities such as updating their Facebook status, displaying their locations on Foursquare, leaving travel reviews on TripAdvisor and leaving their product reviews on Amazon.

If you apply the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule, you can expect the power users represent 20% of the users that’s generating 80% of the activities.

A study by Chadwick Martin Bailey demonstrates how your target audience are more likely to buy if you are taking part in social media networks. “consumers who are Facebook fans and Twitter followers of a brand are more likely to not only recommend, but they are also more likely to buy from those brands than they were before becoming fans/followersThe study also uncovered perceptions among consumers that those brands not engaging in social media are out of touch.”

Accountability and ROI

Now that you’ve got your audience/ customer profiles and social network/s identified, what’s next? For businesses serious about ROI (return on investment), it’s time to increase accountability of your marketing efforts.

You can do this by using existing data or the customer insights from your research (surveys, CRM, profiling) to create campaign projections and a realistic target or KPI that you can aim for.

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to get your started on your social media marketing:

  • Create a mix of financial and non-financial metrics that you need to measure, not what you can measure. This is to help you understand how your marketing activities impact the bottom line and how you can optimise them by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
  • Make sure you track your marketing cost as well as where the money is coming from to justify true ROI and conduct performance analysis.
  • Can you compare the effectiveness of your marketing investments in direct marketing and affiliate marketing?
  • Share Your Insights with the whole business. Share this valuable customer data with your customer service representatives, sales teams and anyone else that will benefit from them. If the sales team know what words or questions your target audience used most frequently when talking about your product, they can then tailor their sales pitch and answer customers questions before they even ask them.
  • How much does it cost to run a local campaign vs. national campaign? Do you really need both?
  • What results are you getting targeting men instead of women?
  • Ultimately you want to have a holistic view of your customer data so not only do you know what they have purchased, but also what they think about your industry, how they talk about your brand, and why they react to your campaign a certain way.
  • If you are unable to keep up then outsource part of your social media efforts to consultants or agencies.

Now that you have realised the benefit and ROI of social media for your business, the question is about whether or not this should be done by yourself or by using social media marketing services.

Why social media marketing services?

– social media take a lot of time and many businesses don’t have time to focus on that aspects effectively

– it’s less time consuming to leave an expert that know what their are doing to manage your brand

– it will increase in the long term your brand awareness and reputation if done in a well manner

– it’s the most cheaper and the most effective strategy for your marketing budget

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