Why social media will be crucial for all businesses in 2018

Social media has changed dramatically since its humble beginnings and there are now hundreds of social media channels to choose from. But there are still the well-known, much-loved platforms that everyone has heard of, even if you’re not using them.

The average person will spend 2 hours on social media everyday[2]. But, these platforms are no longer just places where we can connect with our friends and share the things we like. These platforms have become powerful marketing tools for businesses and in this day and age it would be mad not to be using social media to drive sales for your company. Consumer buying behaviour is rapidly changing and to stay afloat businesses must change the ways that they reach and interact with their potential/existing customers.

But we know it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

The problem

For businesses, it means understanding, and learning how to make the most of modern and potentially complicated marketing techniques including social media.

Technology is developing rapidly and in turn human buying behaviour is constantly changing. But, with the ability for businesses to send out bulk emails also comes the frustration for customers with receiving so many impersonal, sales messages. So not only does it need to be done, it needs to be done right.

There are a number of marketing techniques that are just no longer good enough for the majority of businesses out there today…

  • Telemarketing. The fact that we all get so many of these calls means telemarketing just doesn’t work anymore. No one wants to be read a script and be sold something by someone they know nothing about.
  • Cold calling. It’s getting harder and harder to reach the person you need to speak to unless you already have a connection. The ‘gate keepers’ are out in their numbers and getting through to the person who makes the decisions will be near enough impossible. Plus, automated phone systems and live chat bots can make it impossible to even speak with a human at all.
  • Buying data. With the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) coming into action in May it is likely that buying contact lists and sending out emails will be far from acceptable. This will inevitably force many businesses to rethink how they generate leads. 
  • Mass Email Marketing. Whilst we agree that it works and adds value for some businesses as a way of sending out valuable information to a select group of clients/customers for the majority it is becoming significantly less effective. We all get so many emails these days our inboxes are permanently over flowing and ‘sales’ emails from random businesses we don’t remember signing up to are going to be the first to go!

The solution  

Start utilising growing marketing mediums such as social media to reach and connect with your target audience in a way that won’t drive them mad.

But before you get started there’s a decision to make, do you do it yourself or do you pay someone to do it for you? The decision is yours and it’s a decision all business owners will have to make each time they need something doing.

If you decide to go it alone or you decide to get some help in from an agency it’s still good to understand the process and how it works. 

Before you begin…

There’s no point in being all over social media if you’re business name doesn’t make any sense or your logo looks dated so start from the beginning. You will need a strong, recognisable brand that will set your business apart from your competitors who may already have a strong online presence. It’s usually good to get some help with us as an outside professional, perspective can do wonders.

Once you are happy with your business branding you can put a social media marketing plan into place.

The process:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acquisition
  3. Engagement
  4. Conversion
  5. Retention 

But how do you go about working through these as a business?

Each and every business has its own way of driving sales and not all forms of marketing work for all businesses. Social media is growing in importance and is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. But, that’s not to say that traditional marketing is completely worn out. Often a combination of techniques is the best option and will help new businesses work out what their target audience want. 

Awareness:  Social media branding + content marketing

A company’s social media channels are crucial to building awareness of your brand. A report from Deloitte found that 47% of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, as well as 19% for all other age groups so it’s no wonder that we say your social media channels need to be on top form. You need to be where your customers are and to be seen as a trusted expert in your field who can provide a solution to their problem. Your pages need to look professional and to provide the easy-to-digest information that your followers are looking for. Consistency is key.

Acquisition: Website traffic

As well as building brand awareness, your social media channels can also help to drive traffic to your website. It is however crucial that those who visit don’t leave straight away because the page you have sent them to isn’t what they were expecting. Don’t send out links to sales pages or ‘sign up now’ pages as this will more than likely result in viewers closing their browser tab and potentially unfollowing you on social media. Instead, offer valuable content on your website blog/news page alongside detailed information about how you can help your potential customers.

Engagement: Communicating with potential and existing customers

Over half of all social users will engage with brands several times a month [1]. If your competitors are out there talking to your potential customers, helping them with their problems and building a relationship with them then chances are those people/businesses won’t ever be your customers. Engaging with your audience is a big and important part of social media marketing it allows your business to have a personal connection with its audience and to build an online personality 

Conversion: Make it easy for your customers to get what they need

There is nothing worse than coming across a great company on social media, enjoying their content and then finding that there’s no link to their website or that the link is broken and you can’t find what you wanted to. Attention spans are short and competition levels are high so don’t let a broken link or complicated buying process on your website cost you sales. Go back to the basics and make sure the process is as smooth as possible.

Retention: Customer service via social media

70% of those helped via social customer service return as a customer in the future [1]. Using your social media channels as a customer service platform means you are transparent with your customers and therefore instantly seen as more trustworthy. By helping your customers with their problems and dealing with complaints in a good manner you are likely to retain those customers for the future. Plus, 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others [1].

There is a minefield of information out there when it comes to social media marketing and it’s not easy to filter out the useful from the useless. But, there is one thing that is for certain, if you’re starting a new business, already running a small business or are the marketing director for a multinational company, social media is where your customers are so you need to be there too.  

If you would like to get started with social media marketing but have no idea where to begin then we’d be happy to help you - https://huglondon.com/contact/

[1] https://www.getambassador.com/blog/social-customer-service-infographic
[2] https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic