Social media offers so many benefits that traditional media formats like television, radio and outdoor simply can’t offer. If your organisation is able to fully leverage them, it will deliver increased brand awareness, drive loads of qualified web traffic, increase sales leads and help convert those leads into paying customers. Ultimately, this will help your business grow much faster. Let’s look at each benefit in detail.
1. Reach a huge, global audience
Today there are 3.1 billion active social media users globally. These are crazy statistics when you realise that social media only emerged about 15 years ago. Today 1 in 3 people around the globe are active on social media, and all you need to reach them is an internet connected device.
Of the 3.1 billions users, about 2.6 billion are on Facebook, 2.1 billion are on YouTube, 1 billion are on Instagram and 700 million on LinkedIn. Virtually every business can now find their customers active on social media. This reach is the biggest benefit of social media compared to traditional media.
2. Pinpoint your exact target market
Social media channels hold a huge amount of data on their users that they provide to advertisers to help make targeted advertisements. This includes basic information like gender, location and age, but also a massive array of demographic, interest and behavioural data. Want to target 18-24 year old males who are single and live in Canada that love cats but dislike dogs? No problem, it’s only a few clicks away.
In addition to basic targeting, you can also target people who have interacted with you or your organisation before. Called a ‘custom audience’, these can be lists of people who have visited your website, people from your existing email list, people who have watched a video of yours, people who like your Facebook page, and much more.
Finally, you can create ‘lookalike audiences’, which are much larger audiences that have similar characteristics to a smaller custom audience. For example, you may have a list of 1,000 people who have purchased your product, and ask Facebook to find a larger audience of 100,000 people who share similar demographics.
Facebook advertising costs will vary depending on your objectives and audience target, but harnessing the world’s most powerful social media ad platform means you only target people most likely to be interested in your content. This removes misspent marketing dollars and maximises your returns.
3. Track data and optimise ad spend
On social media you can measure literally everything. How many people watched your video, how many people liked or reacted to the video, how many people commented, shared the video or clicked on your link.
Using a tracking pixel, the social media channels can even record the actions that people take as they travel around the internet. For example if you click on an ad in social media, then make a sales enquiry on a website, this data will be pulled back into the social media channel. This allows marketers to track conversions and optimise their spend to increase the return on investment.
In addition to this, the algorithms of the social media channels also optimise your ad spend to help you achieve your marketing objectives at the lowest possible price. They have a vested interest in helping you because the more money you make, the more you’ll spend advertising on their platform.
4. Grow organically
You certainly don’t need to have a big paid ad budget to be successful on social media. In fact, there are many social media marketers who are generating loads of traffic and making tons of money without spending a cent on paid ads.
Your organic (or free) reach is the proportion of people who see your social media posts for free. It varies between social media channels. Facebook is down around 2-3%, Instagram is about 7% and LinkedIn is still about 10-12%. If the initial people who see your social media post engage with it by liking, commenting or sharing it, the algorithms will reward that content with more reach, meaning it will be shown to a greater proportion of your followers and potentially become trending content, going viral and generating massive free reach.
Yes, the organic game has got a lot harder and more competitive as millions of social media marketers compete for the attention of users, but there’s still definitely a huge opportunity out there for you to harness. The key is to develop an effective social media marketing strategy that delivers the right content, to the right audience on the right channel.
5. Engage your audience
Traditional media like television, print, radio and outdoor are ‘broadcast’ format, meaning there’s a handful of media publishers sharing a message that the audience can’t respond to. Yes, these formats have evolved to make their media more interactive, however it’s got nothing on social media!
With modern smartphones, everyone is a media publisher. Billions of people can take a photo and publish it on social media in seconds and billions of other people who then respond. This unique attribute of social media humanises a brand by giving it a unique voice, helping creating meaningful connections with their audience, ultimately increasing trust.
Marketers can also measure their level of engagement to optimise the performance of their content. For example, tracking your Instagram engagement rate will show you what your followers are interested in (and what they’re not!) ensuring you generate a stronger return from your investment in content creation.
6. Increase brand awareness
Search engine marketing, which is predominantly done through Google, is great because people who search for something have a high purchase intent, meaning they’re in the mood to buy. If I search for ‘black Adidas joggers’ there’s a good chance that I want to buy a pair.
However, search is only useful to the extent people are aware of the brand. If they’re not, they won’t search for it.
Enter social media and its large variety of content formats that can be used to make prospects aware of your brand for the first time and then nurture them to become a paying customer.
7. Drive website traffic
Social media is now one of the world’s largest drivers of traffic on the internet. This traffic can be from the organic links, such as the single URL on your Instagram profile or link you include in a YouTube video’s description, or a link from a paid social media ad.
Once on your website or landing page, marketers can invite social media users to take the next step of the buyer journey by offering lead magnets – a high value piece of content that compels users to exchange their personal information, most importantly their email address.
8. Establish industry authority
As Gary Vaynerchuk always says “Brand is the ultimate leverage”.
The sheer speed and ease with which anyone can create content means that you’re able to position you or your brand as an authority in your industry. Interior designer? Write a blog article about the “Top 10 Ways to Design Your Office”, or create a video on “How To Style Your House for Summer”, or maybe create a Pinterest inspiration board.
Creating content like this and sharing to social media will demonstrate your expertise and credibility to potential buyers.
9. Lift conversion rates
Social media users will typically follow a brand for a while before deciding to buy from them. They become aware of the brand and with regular content develop trust that the products or services are high quality and worth the investment. Called ‘warming up’, this process leads to an increase in conversion rates on your website once someone decides to take the next step towards buying.
With retargeting, you can employ social media retargeting strategies to maximise sales. This will ensure that you’re only serving ads to people that are genuinely interested and not wasting money on those who aren’t. Check out a friend’s Instagram feed who is the opposite sex and/or different age to you to see just how different the targeted ads are to your feed!
At the end of the day, the objective of a business is to convert! Through the benefits of social media, businesses are able to fine-tune and optimise their conversation rates!
10. Improve customer service
Nowadays customers don’t want to sit waiting on the phone to speak to an organisation about a customer service issue they have.
Instead, they turn to social media for help and to instantly speak to someone. Whether it’s tweeting your electricity company or speaking to your favourite clothing brand on Messenger, social media is a fantastic platform for customer service.
11. Boost search engine rankings
The major search engines like Google now factor the amount of engagement that a web page, such as a blog article, receives on social media. Combined with correct keyword optimisation, this means that social media can deliver your website more free traffic when people search for the relevant keyword related to that piece of content.
12. Collect reviews and customer insights
And finally, social media is a great place for your customers to provide a review of your product’s quality, your price, your customer service, or anything else they like. These reviews can be shared with other social media users to increase brand loyalty and credibility.
The business pages of the various social media channels also offer a wealth of demographic data on people who visit or follow the page. For example, Facebook’s Page Insights shows a breakdown of your follower’s age, location and gender, helping to understand who’s most interested in your brand and what products you can deliver to best meet their needs.
So there you have it. Use these 12 irresistible benefits of social media to convince your boss or your clients to increase their budget on social media and rapidly grow their traffic, leads and sales.