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From monologue to dialogue: Why going social may be the best thing you’ve done for your business

The term ‘social media’ means something different to every single one of us. To some entrepreneurs, it may mean the next big thing – a powerful tool that promises unparalleled opportunity, which must be taken advantage of. To others, it’s simply a passing fad and an unprofitable marketing interest, a buzzword with no practical advantages. The statistics, however, paint a different picture.

According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers agree that social media is important for their business, with 80% indicating that their social media efforts have increased traffic and 72% using online tools to develop customer loyalty. While these figures demonstrate the huge potential social media presents for small and large businesses alike, they do little to outline its benefits in plain terms. To fill this void, we’ve identified some reasons why going social may be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business, and if you haven’t, why you should get on board now.

Going social gives you the opportunity to know your customers

The key to success in any industry is to know your customers, and to know them well. With social media, you can gain valuable insight into who your customers are, and what they want, need, dislike and love about your brand and your products. Investing in social media analytics tools, monitoring forums and discussions, conducting surveys and encouraging your followers to share their reviews are only a handful of many ways social media can help you gain an understanding of your customers’ unique characteristics and opinions. This knowledge will help you to deliver targeted campaigns and product offerings to your key market.

Going social allows you to expand your customer profile and increase brand awareness

Many business owners adopt the notion that “if you build it, they will come”. This is particularly alarming, considering it is common sense to assume that people won’t be buying your products or services if they don’t even know you exist. Social media addresses this dilemma by providing effective channels to express your business’ voice and introduce your brand to the public. Equipped with tools such as geo-tagging and hashtags, social media empowers you to reach out to potential customers more effectively. Methods such as this are important, not only making you more accessible for new customers, but also more recognisable for existing ones. By publishing content and interacting with customers online, you will be able to increase their awareness of your brand at little to no cost compared to traditional advertising methods.

Going social gives you a platform to distribute information.

Social media accounts for a huge proportion of referral traffic on the web, with people looking for content that interests them and then sharing it with their friends and networks online. A joint study by AOL and Nielsen found that people spend more than 50% of their time on the Internet looking at content and an additional 30% on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where such content can be shared. This data shows that social media presents huge benefits for business owners, allowing you to share photos and videos and therefore keep potential and existing customers updated with your business’ current events and latest offerings. Not only is this more effective than traditional advertising, but it also helps establish a two-way connection between your business and your customers.

Going social allows you to develop relationships with your customers.

By conversing with your customers, replying to their concerns and asking for their opinions, social media allows you to create personalised, meaningful relationships – something traditional advertising will never achieve. This allows you to form a bond of trust with your customers, consequently enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Going social empowers you to manage your reputation.

Anyone involved in business knows just how powerful a single negative comment or rumour is in harming your reputation. Some even claim that for one dissatisfied vocal customer, you can lose up to ten existing or potential customers. Therefore, any business needs a reputation management system to prevent this from happening. Investing in social media can help you keep track of customer satisfaction, address problems or issues with your products and reply to potentially destructive comments instantaneously.

And finally, going social is easy and inexpensive.

Compared to traditional advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing, social media is inexpensive and easy to implement. Apart from analytics tools, social media is free for everyone to use. Better yet, you don’t need high-level skills or computer equipment to make it work. By simply spending some time on your social media presence every day, you will be able to reap the benefits of increased exposure, and develop positive, long-lasting relationships with your customers.

At the end of the day, these benefits prove why social media isn’t just a fad, and why going social might be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business.

About the author:

This article was written by Jo Scard, Managing Director, Fifty Acres Communications Agency. With over 20 years’ experience in communications, political advisory roles and journalism, Jo Scard is Australia’s foremost strategic adviser to Not-For-Profits, entrepreneurs and government.

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