According to Statista, almost 4.66 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020. This figure encompasses 59 percent of the global population, with mobile internet users accounting for 91 percent of total internet users.
And as more and more people are shifting to digital platforms, brands are left with no option but to follow their customers.
Since most of the population spend their time online, social media for business becomes vital for their success.
Social media is an excellent way to connect with the people who already know and love your brand. It’s also essential for reaching out to those who haven’t heard of your business. And the best thing is that you don’t need any money to get started, as it is practically free.
But social media for business is not all about getting engagement in the form of likes and comments. It is much deeper than that. But that’s not all. There are rules which have to be followed to ensure success on social media platforms.
In this blog, we will look at why social media is a great tool for your business.
How is social media used in business?
Understanding how a business uses social media is vital for its success. It can be best understood by looking at the Social success cycle. There are four stages of the social success cycle:
- Social Listening
This is the first stage of the social success cycle and involves monitoring and responding to customer service and reputation management issues on the social web.
As you know, listening is the minimum for any brand on social media. It makes the foundation for customer support. You need to listen and respond to customer queries.
If you don’t respond to these queries or comments (positive or negative), it leaves your brand’s wrong impression. And if you do, you connect with your followers. As such, you can manage your brand’s reputation, increase customer retention, and identify your product better.
The key here is to have a good response time (anything between 12-24 hours) and empathize with your audience.
- Social Influencing
This is the second stage of the social success cycle and involves establishing authority on the social web, often through valuable content distribution.
The main goals are to increase engagement on your channel and increase website traffic for your platform. This is done by producing and sharing content that is valuable to your audience.
The better your content, the more it will be shared by your audience. This way you’ll find new customers. Moreover, you’ll establish yourself as an authority and a thought leader in your industry.
You can also focus on increasing the offer awareness for your product or services by sharing content.
- Social Networking
This stage involves finding and associating with authoritative and influential individuals and brands on the social web.
Collaboration has become a necessity in this day for boosting the growth of your social media for business.
Developing strategic partnerships with influencers in your industry improves your reach and introduces newer customers to your brand. Moreover, you earn media mentions which is always a plus for enhancing your business’s brand awareness.
- Social Selling
This stage involves generating leads and sales from the existing customers and prospects on the social web.
Social media is an excellent platform for not only generating leads but also for the initial customer acquisition. Your content’s body copy can increase buyer frequency and help cross-sell and upsell your line of products.
These four stages of the social success cycle need to be planned and executed correctly. Focusing too much on one of these stages and neglecting others can negatively impact your success. As such, brands need to ensure that they follow every step for the best results on social media platforms.
Most brands focus on social selling only, and that’s where they go wrong. Every stage of the cycle is vital for success.
You need to understand your business and then decide the frequency you need to post your content in listening, selling, influencing, or networking.
For instance, if you are a brand like Buzzfeed, you need to focus your social media efforts on social influencing. If you are an E-commerce brand, you need to focus your efforts on Social selling by sharing coupons and discounts.
Even though one step may be dominant, but you cannot neglect the other stages.
Now that we understand how social media should be used let’s see why social media is important for a business.
Benefits of Social Media For Business
- Targeted advertising;
Thanks to this, you can find new customers, run offer promotions to drive conversions, boost your content, etc. This is one of the most significant benefits of social media for business.
- Increasing traffic to your website;
You can direct the traffic from your social media channels to your website.
- Promoting your products and services;
Social selling helps in the initial customer acquisition.
- Increasing brand awareness
- Know your audience
- Gather data from Audience research to improve;
Your followers will interact with your content on your social media platform. This way, you can understand them better depending on how they engage with your content. This will help you know about any content gaps. Moreover, your followers will share their experiences, which can further help remove any product gaps.
- Assistance in Link building;
If your audience likes your website’s content, they’ll share it with their group on different social media platforms. When people share your content on social media, it gives search engines a signal that your content is credible, which helps build authority. This is a significant factor for a website that wants to rank on the search engine organically.
- Social Media is Free
- Establishing your brand as an authority and a thought leader
- Lead generation;
You can target the people visiting your social media platform and direct them to your website. And then you can offer them a bribe in exchange for their details.
The beauty of social media is that you can retarget the followers of your social media accounts to your website. This way, you can show them relevant ads of your content promoting your products and services. This helps in conversions as the customer is already aware of the brand.
- Going viral
- Content promotion
- Communication with customers;
Social media’s beauty is that it is a 2-way conversation with your audience to engage with them and keep them updated about your business.
- Increase reach;
Using the right hashtags, you can increase your reach on your social media platforms.
- Humanize your brand;
People don’t like to talk to machines. They like talking to humans simply because they are more relatable.
- Stay top of mind;
People spend a lot of time on social media accounts daily. Being on social media and engaging regularly helps the cause of a business.
Strategic partnerships with brands and influencers on social media boost the brand’s parameters.
- Monitor competition;
You can analyze your competition’s efforts on social media and learn from their mistakes. You can look at what’s working for them and what’s not. This way, you can ethically hack their customers.
- Providing Customer Support to ensure happy customers;
As discussed, social listening is essential for the success of your social media. When you solve a customer’s query(s) successfully, in a short time, it helps your brand image. Moreover, that customer becomes your brand’s advocate.
I believe these points are enough to answer why businesses should use social media. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as there are some disadvantages of using social media for business.
What are the risks of using social media for business?
When you’re using Social media for business, you risk a lot if you don’t play the game well. These are drawbacks of using social media for business:
- Negative feedback can tarnish a brand’s name;
It is crucial to solving customer queries in a short period. Not responding to a complaint or poor response time is like a death warrant for your brand.
- Relying on ads;
To compete and get good results, you need to run ad campaigns which can be quite expensive. Moreover, if you don’t run these campaigns properly, you’ll end up losing money and not achieve your goals.
- Needs time;
It is possible that you won’t see much engagement initially. The results take time. You need to be involved 24/7 for the best results. As such, you need to be engaged and active for long periods.
- Not your platform;
Your social media platform is not your platform. Tomorrow, your account may get banned, or the reach might go down, or the platform might cease to exists. In that case, it has the potential to disrupt your efforts.
- Potential for embarrassment;
If you’re not careful with your content or how you respond to a situation, you can go trending and be exposed to trolls. Your brand might even face the wrath of the internet thanks to memes.
- Competitors can study you;
Social media for studying competitors is like a two-way sword.
- Needs consistency
- Can be expensive
- Privacy and Security;
If you don’t invest in proper tools, your account might get hacked.
These were some of the disadvantages of social media for business. The pros of using social media for business are too many to sit and watch from the outlines. Brands need to get in the game.
What is the best social media for business?
There are lots of social media platforms out there. Depending on their purpose, these platforms are either Engagement or Seeker channels.
In the Engagement channels, users come to the channel to engage with others. These platforms include the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These channels are an excellent fit for Social Listening, Social Influencing, and Social Networking.
On the other hand, in Seeker channels, users come to the channel seeking specific content. These platforms include the likes of YouTube and Pinterest. These channels are an excellent fit for Social Influencing and Social Selling.
And then there are some which are the mixture of both, like Instagram.
Different platforms have different Pros and Cons, and it depends on which one works the best for you. But every platform has some characteristics which make it better than others for that part.
Facebook, for instance, has a massive Reach, provides targeted Advertising and powerful analytics. Still, you need a big budget for running ads.
Similarly, Instagram is great for highly appealing visuals and is more popular with the younger generation. But its drawback is that it needs an aggressive posting schedule.
Twitter is an excellent platform to engage followers and influencers, but there is a lot of noise to compete with. You have to do something different to stand out.
Even though your business should have an account on different social platforms, you need to focus on a maximum of three other channels initially. If you go for all, you’ll not be able to manage. As you grow, you can expand.
Social media can be a highly cost-effective way of reaching your customers in a personalized way.
In this post, we discussed why social media is a great tool for your business to build trust. We learned that social media helps build trust and engagement with the audience because of a shared ecosystem.
We also learned how important social media marketing is for small businesses.
Talk about business, no matter what size; if it isn’t on social media, that business probably hates money.
That’s because you are okay with missing out on learning better about your existing customers, acquiring new customers, learning insights about your brand, and engagement opportunities with customers and competitors.
No brand can afford to lose out on this. So, get in the game.