So you've heard the buzz terms 'engagement' and 'online presence' being thrown around in every conversation about social media and to date, you're probably thinking that it's a waste of time, that your business would not benefit from social media or perhaps you're not sure how to make social media work for you. In this article we look at a few things as to why you should take social media seriously;
1. Social Media presence is important for all businesses, regardless of product, service type.
The importance of social media in your marketing campaign varies according to what you offer, for example a plumber may benefit less from social media than a restaurant. The reason is simple; if you need a plumber, you're likely to have an immediate need and would likely search google or the phone directory. On the flip side, a restaurant's offering is vastly different. If you can convince someone that the food, the ambiance and/or the location is right, you can CREATE the need for customers.
2. Your customers are already on social media already.
This is largely true for most businesses that target Australians aged between 13-55. This is important to note because you have an opportunity to communicate with these customers when they are at their most relaxed. If somebody walks into a shoe shop, they are looking to purchase shoes and it is likely that if you meet their needs, you will convert that into a sale immediately. People that may not necessarily be looking to purchase a pair of shoes may be browsing their social media account and come across a shoe that you're promoting which they are interested in, thus, sparking their interest. There are few things that can happen from this point (without over complicating it);
- Nothing. That may be the end of their interest and they will not pursue this further
- They may contact you with a question or request more information about the shoe
- They may view your social media pages to see what else you have on offer
- They may click through to your website to view more shoes and where they may sign up to a newsletter that keeps them informed about new releases and discounts you have (this is an absolute MUST for businesses to collect and maintain a database)
- They may visit your shop to purchase the goods
3. The return on investment is far greater and more measurable than Above The Line (ATL) advertising such as TV, Radio, Print, Billboards, etc.
Apart from being extremely expensive, these are dying forms of media and advertising is losing its effectiveness. On demand services are taking over. TV ratings are dropping thanks to services like Netflix & Fetch TV. Radio is suffering at the hands of Pandora, Spotify, iTunes & Beats Music and Print media is on borrowed time, with digital newspaper copies likely to outsell print versions this year.
Social media advertising is easier to measure than any other form of mass advertising. You do it in the exact same way you measure the effectiveness of any other medium by;
- Asking customers where they heard about your service
- Looking at the sales and measuring these weekly, monthly & quarterly and comparing these against revenue prior to your online campaign
- Looking at the social media insights that almost every platform offers to see if your exposure is growing
4. Customers are spoilt for choice.
Competition in different industries has never been so stiff, leaving customers being spoilt for choice. The more available you are to your customers the more likely they are to make contact with you.
5. Everybody's an expert
It is important that when you consider social media and how it will help your business, it can take time and money. You may not see results immediately as everything needs tweaking and refining. There are literally hundreds of companies offering social media services and it is important to choose the right company if you're going to out source this task. With social media changing on almost a daily basis, here are some important questions you must ask before commissioning a third party;
- What level of experience do you have and what makes you qualified to develop a social media strategy for my business?
- What qualifications / certifications have you got in this field?
- How do you measure your performance and how do I know if you're doing your job correctly?
- How can you help me with my business? (do not prompt an answer or volunteer information, it is important that an organisation is not simply telling you what you want to hear, rather, shares the same vision as what you)
- Can you show me examples of where you've been able to increase sales & revenue for a business like mine?
and here is the question that many businesses forget to ask;
How much did the increase of XX% sales this cost company X in advertising and promotion online