15 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

By April 1, 2017 No Comments
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Want to know the benefits of social media marketing and how it can bring more customers through the door?

You’re not alone. According to Social Media Examiner, at least 87% of marketers have questions about how to be most effective with social media. That’s a crowd, not a minority.

But our mission is to fix that and turn your social media marketing into the workhorse of your marketing and sales efforts.

When done right, there’s arguably nothing more productive and cost-effective than finding customers where they already are, browsing social media.

As a full scale digital media shop, Illumen Media has you covered with 15 benefits of social media marketing for your business. Your marketing will never be easier and more effective after you focus on your small business’ social media game.

1. Increase Brand Awareness

Social media is the ideal tool for brand awareness, and brand awareness equals money. Because the more individuals that know about your company, the more purchases go your way.

How do they hear about your company? You create social media pages for your business and start posting and interacting with your followers.

For example, imagine you’re a breakfast restaurant.

Are you more likely to be in the minds of locals looking for breakfast if you post a mouth-watering Instagram picture of a bacon egg and cheese sandwich at 7:30 AM or if you don’t? Posting this picture puts the idea in their head that they should try out your breakfast spot. And if they don’t go that morning, they’re more likely to go tomorrow or next week because your company is on their mind.

Just like this example shows, the reason social media marketing is extremely effective is because it’s common sense. Increased brand awareness means more customers and more money, and vice versa for weak brand awareness.

2. Utilize Cost-Effective Advertising

Creating the profiles, posting quality pictures and videos, and having access to millions of potential followers and customers is all free. You can’t beat that for starters. People before the advent of the Internet and social media would have killed for that kind of access to customers.

Our favorite part about social media is the targeted audience capability. These targeted ads campaigns convert much better than billboard or newspaper ads where you’re ad is being seen by people who aren’t the slightest bit interested in what you’re offering.

A company with 40 year old women from Cincinnati as their target audience doesn’t have to waste money showing ads to 15 year old boys. When no ads are wasted on people outside the target market, you can say hello to massive engagement and ROI.

And to prove the point, check out this real-life example from an article in The Huffington Post:

In Birmingham, Alabama (my home state and a place with over 30,000 small businesses) a billboard from Lamar Advertising—a company that covers a huge chunk of billboard advertising in the state—will cost you $2250 a week and deliver roughly 275,000 weekly impressions with a frequency of 5.5 views per-person (based on a potential reach of 873,000 people, ages 18+).

Now, if you run a Facebook Ad targeting the same age group in Birmingham with a daily budget of $50 ($350 weekly), you can expect to reach anywhere between 25,000 and 70,000 actual people a week. Apply the same frequency as the billboard, and you get up to 385,000 impressions.

3. Attract Organic Website Traffic

Your website should be optimized for search engines and aimed to get as much traffic as possible into your sales funnel. While I’m all for search engine optimization (see this article), another solution to get more website traffic and online sales is through social media.

Two gateways to more traffic is better than one, right?

This organic traffic will most likely bring a different group of people to your site compared to the regulars who search your keywords on Google.

So link your website in your social media profiles, publish quality content, and make calls to action to visit the link in your profile for more information. Do all of that, and you’re sure to see more website traffic right away.

And maybe the best part is this traffic is free. You don’t need to pay for Google or Facebook advertising if you have a steady flow of traffic coming from your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other profiles.

4. Make More Money

When you think of social media marketing, you should also think about dollar signs. Because every social media post gets your company in front of more consumers who are now more likely to go to your website or visit your store and purchase.

To prove the point, a study by Market Force found that 78% of consumers say that company posts on social media influence their purchasing decisions. Again, that’s company social media posts, not posts from their friends.

The study also found that 81% of people are directly influenced to purchase something when their friends recommend it on social media—so get your audience to share your content and you’ll have new customers left and right.

That’s why I’m convinced that no social media marketing plan means you’re losing at the bare minimum thousands of dollars, and most likely hundreds of thousands or millions the longer you wait to get serious about this marketing tool in the long run.

5. Show Authenticity

Nobody appreciates buying from a company with no personality. They want to see who you are, what you do behind the scenes, and how their mission applies to you. (This is why branded video projects—like this ad from Apple—do so well. It’s authenticity on full display).

Some brands communicate more like robots than people. And when you don’t have the ability to showcase your company’s mission and values through social media, your business will often suffer and lose relevance in the customer’s mind.

Use social media to share your company’s personality, highlight what you’re all about, and be authentic. Tell authentic stories one Tweet, Facebook video, and Instagram picture at a time to reach your customers minds and hearts. Social media is inherently social, about people-to-people interactions, which your consumers prefer above all.

6. Improve Customer Satisfaction

At the heart of customer satisfaction is open and trustworthy communication between your company and customers. But to have a customer visit your website, fill out a contact form, and be in limbo for a week waiting to hear from you isn’t the best way to treat your customers.

What’s the solution? A platform with quick and convenient communication to handle any customer’s problem, also known as your social media profiles.

When you consistently reply back to comments on your profiles, consumers understand they have a brand that listens, responds, and considers their requests. That builds trust and future sales.

And when a customer does post a complaint or a concern, solving it publicly on your social media account goes a long way for the customer and your other followers. Showing with your actions that you take care of your customers does more than any well-written about page can accomplish.

7. Protect Online Reputation

We believe that a company is only as good as its reputation. And if a brand has a lazy online presence that looks like a ghost town or doesn’t even have social media, their reputation immediately takes a hit.

Another issue is if you have three reviews on Yelp and they’re all negative—good luck getting any online customers. Consumers will be scared off even if those three reviewers aren’t credible and all lied. (Read this to learn if you should and how to respond to negative reviews.)

Since your online reputation is key to the longevity of your business, the companies who put forth consistent social media efforts spread their digital footprint and control a positive conversation about their brand. Use social media to showcase creative ideas, well-designed posts, and thoughtful comments to boost your online reputation.

8. Spread Word Of Mouth

From the local mom and pop laundromat to the billion dollar tech conglomerate, word of mouth has always been the best marketing tool for businesses. Hearing how great a product or service is from a trusted friend pushes the needle more than any advertisement possibly can.

And the beauty of social media is they don’t just tell a few people how great your company is at dinner like they used to, they’ll share their experience with your company online to their thousands of friends and followers. That’s exponential word of mouth that can’t be understated.

A Facebook share could show up in 3,000 of their friends’ timelines. That’s a serious advertising reach that you didn’t spend a penny to accomplish. Or you may get lucky and have an Instagram influencer find and love your project or service that they shout it out with their 125,000 followers. Social media becomes word of mouth referrals to the highest degree.

9. Boost Company Morale

At the backbone of any organization is the team behind it. And a great way to both encourage your team and show authenticity to your audience is to publish employee highlights. Maybe it’s to celebrate their birthday, work anniversary, a major accomplishment, or just a general shoutout.

Going public to showcase employees (who give permission to use a picture or video of them) will boost your team’s morale and humanize your brand in front of your audience—two extremely valuable benefits.

American Airlines provides a great example of how to execute this with their Instagram post of Russ below.

american-airlines-instagram-example

And guess what else? A company that showcases its employees and appreciative company culture will have a line of applicants waiting to work there. Social media makes recruiting easy, which marks another reason your business wins.

10. Showcase Company Culture

Any thriving business needs to continue recruiting efforts to sustain its growth. But hiring talented employees is just as competitive as ever, and company culture is a major determining factor in attracting talent. For example, millennials picked Google, Apple, and Facebook as their top choices to work because of their superior company culture.

One way to break through the noise and attract the top talent is an active social media presence.

Showing a day in the life of an employee through an eight-part Instagram story is a fun way to unveil your company culture. Doing a question and answer video of some young workers about what’s their favorite part and toughest part about working at the company can bring applicants to you. When you consider the hiring benefits, showcasing positive company culture on your social channels is a must.

11. Build Brand Equity

A creative and consistent social media presence builds brand equity. And when others perceive your company as high-quality, this adds a ton of value in the form of more engagement, shares, new customers, media exposure, and business opportunities.

Being a trusted and credible company will simply create organic awareness and exposure in itself. Your audience will want to be associated with your brand so they’ll tag you in their pictures or mention you in their conversations so they look cool. That’s free advertising.

And if you look to sell your business down the road, a large social media following is another asset you can throw on the table to increase your company’s worth. A company with a built-in audience is worth a lot more than a company without one.

12. Receive Valuable Feedback

Social media allows you instant access to your customers like never before. Want to get their feedback for a new logo, menu item, or service? Just ask your audience.

Post a question on your Instagram or Facebook page, do a Twitter poll, or do a live video and you can get real-time input on their thoughts. This feedback is a competitive advantage that most of your competitors miss out on.

And the data on these social media pages is unbelievable. Instagram business accounts offer information on your total impressions, profile views, website clicks, and top posts every week.

Expert marketers can use this data to pick up what their audience cares about most on social media, and cater to them for more engagement and sales. For example, maybe the red t-shirt with the white print gets 1,000 more impressions than the blue t-shirt with the black print. Double down advertising spend on the red t-shirt and you’ll increase conversions.

13. Collect Positive Testimonials

A recent Google study found that online reviews influence 67.7% of consumers. So if your company doesn’t have them, you’re out of luck in persuading consumers to go with your business.

But a business with a social media following can leverage it to get online reviews and testimonials. You can straight up ask for it, do a fun promotion to appreciate those who do review, or highlight previous customer reviews and make an ask for more reviews.

Or if you’re a restaurant, have your waiters and waitresses tell customers they can get $10 off their next lunch by reviewing your company online. (Just remember to push for honest reviews, because it’s not ethical to ask for positive reviews.)

The way you get positive online reviews is serving a great product or service with excellent customer service and politely asking for them. Then as those online reviews stack up, they will be a bright light for your marketing and sales. Now that’s a wise idea for you to take and run with.

14. Educate Your Audience

You’ve seen by now that social media isn’t all about conversions and sales, it’s a versatile tool for the overall health of your company. Add another benefit to the list and that’s to educate your audience about your own services and products.

Say you’re a plumber who does a three minute tutorial video on how to fix a broken water pipe and post it to YouTube. If it solves your customers’ problems, then only two good things are going to happen.

Number one is they’ll use your video to fix their pipe and be extremely thankful and trust you with their future business. Or two, they’re too lazy or can’t fix the pipe themselves so they hire your company. When you can continue to educate and provide value, you’ll gain lifetime customers.

On the other hand, how are you going to educate if you have no direct communication with your customers besides when they walk in the store? That’s not a good strategy to reach the masses.

15. Stay Future-Proof

(You may think this one is a stretch, but we don’t think it is so hear us out.) We all know the future is going to change in some way through technology. The way you reach your customers and the way they buy from you has evolved over the decades and this will clearly continue.

For example, this may mean people start using Alexa, Echo, or Google Home to order their product or service. If you have a strong online brand, your company is more future-proof to stay relevant and get these orders from voice-activation systems. If it is impossible to find online, your competitor with the strong online presence will take all of your sales.

I’m not claiming I know the future. I’m claiming that a business with a solid social media presence is more future-proof than one without one. That’s crystal clear.

Get These Benefits Today

If you’ve read to this point, there’s no question you understand the undeniable advantages of social media marketing for your business.

There’s nothing left to do but get started. The time is now. Create or update your social media profiles. Publish quality, consistent content with a purpose behind it. And always keep marketing.

If you’re like most business owners who already have no time as it is before they try to add social media marketing, I understand. But on the same token you don’t want to miss out on the 15 benefits laid out above.

So consider getting some expert help. Illumen Media would love to team up with your company and create a customized social media marketing plan.

If you’re interested, fill out our contact form and then we’ll get in touch.

Cheers to your social media success!

Brian Robben

Author Brian Robben

More posts by Brian Robben

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