A social media presence is now an absolute necessity. Other than having a platform to share your products and services, more and more consumers are looking at your online presence across various applications. Consumers find it easier to contact a brand via the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram instead of sending an email. Often, brands respond faster via social media as quick responses are vital to the brand’s reputation.
Unlike email, which occurs with some semblance of privacy, consumers posting directly to a company page or feed is public, thus urging a business to respond to queries, resolve issues, or be part of the conversation started via the consumer.
Social media provides great marketing opportunities for an SMME – as small-to-medium enterprises often do not have the big marketing budget to put up billboards, hire PR teams, or take out revolving ad packages across printed media. Ads via social platforms are relatively cheap compared to traditional marketing initiatives, making social media vital for SMME success. Other than it is a great marketing strategy, social media has a range of other benefits. Such as:
Whilst the four Ps of marketing state that a business must consider ‘Product, Price, Place and Promotion’ to ensure success, social media has removed the need for ‘Place’ from the marketing mix. Due to its astounding reach, coupled with online selling, a place of business barely matters. Many SMMEs are run from residential premises and sell products across the globe. This is not limited to just products, though, as more and more services are conducted online, such as consulting, marketing, direct selling, and much more.
In a world flooded with clickbait, fake posts, scams, and con-artists, having a social media presence linked to your website, and you as a person adds authenticity to your brand. For companies that are resistant to having any product information on their social channels, think again. 54% of consumers are either very likely or extremely likely to look at a company’s social media while researching a product. Boston Digital talks about it in this article. As such, ensuring your identity and product line is backed up by your social media lends a hand towards promoting your own authenticity.
Having social media accounts to assist a business with marketing, reach and authenticity, isn’t enough. Your content must look the part, speak in the right tone, not alienate your audience, and be swift with professional replies. Ensuring professionalism can be a full-time job, so hire a virtual social media manager if need be.
As mentioned above, consumers feel more at ease contacting brands through their social media platforms. This method garners quicker responses, is a little less formal than conventional emails, and can create a snowballing marketing effect where friends and families of satisfied consumers join in the hype surrounding your products and services. And due to the astounding reach of social media, a business can capitalize on this bonus by servicing or supplying the extended communities. Social media is also known never to sleep – and businesses tend to find consumers interacting with their brands even after hours.
Beyond authenticity, consumers are now looking at the people behind the brands. In an ethical shift towards inclusiveness and environmentally-conscious behavior, more attention is being paid to the faces of the business. Social media provides a platform that allows business owners and managers to highlight and acknowledge their values, beliefs, mission, and vision. Particularly important, as consumers are now pickier than ever.
Social media has changed the face of business in ways that were unpredictable. Small businesses now make up a vast majority of global finance, with more and more consumers choosing to support the ‘little guy’. Of course, as all marketing dictates, having a great product at a great price is nothing without having the platform to make it known to the masses.
Social media has provided the platform, and as complicated as it may be to set up, manage and constantly update, the rewards provided by this work is undoubtedly justified. If your business needs methods to set it on an upwards trajectory, then surely, focusing on your social media platforms is a cost-effective way to begin.
Social media isn’t going anywhere – if anything, it will continue to expand, more services and applications will be added to an already large list, and user experience will take center stage. The question one might ask is this: What is my social media currently like, and what can I change to make it better? Take the time to view how social media affects you and your business. It is time that won’t be wasted, this much, we can guarantee.