The benefits of social media for business may not be what you were expecting – but they are definitely there, and not to be ignored in the digital age.
“…social media traffic has an average conversion rate of 0.71 percent…”Monetate
Despite the popularity of social media channels, they deliver very low conversion rates compared to email marketing. Given that rates are so low, why does any sane business bother? Indeed, is there any point to putting in the time and effort at all? (other than to watch videos of cats being scared by cucumbers!) Are there any benefits of social media for business?
As you might expect from a digital marketing agency, of course the answer is a resounding “yes”. There are most definitely benefits of social media for business – although they’re not necessarily ones you would expect…
So, here are our 4 key benefits of social media for business:
Looking narrowly at ‘conversion’ is probably the wrong way to approach social media and its value for business. ‘Social’ media is about building trust and loyalty amongst a group of followers. It’s about showing customers and potential customers the kind of business they are about to buy from.
In an information-hungry, online age, a website alone is not enough. Your website visitors will be looking for your social icons to click through and see what you’re doing on social media. After all, it’s where millions of us (around 40 million people in the UK have Facebook accounts) are choosing to spend our time.
Your social media is where you can engage with your customers and potential customers. It may not show up in your conversion rates, but an active social media presence will win you customers over a competitor who does nothing on social – or worse, has a poorly maintained presence.
If you are running a full blown social media strategy, then of course, social media is not ‘free’ – there’s a time cost if nothing else. However, it costs nothing to set up profiles across social media, which, if properly done, offers the opportunity to serve as ‘free advertising’.
Even if social doesn’t drive conversions, don’t forget that many of us now search on social media in the same way that we would on Google. Our purchasing decisions are complex – the internet allows us to research away to our heart’s content, and social search is one important element to that.
Facebook ads are becoming particularly effective, but all social platforms offer opportunities for paid advertising which can be very effectively targeted at particular audiences. If you’re not on social media, you don’t have the opportunity to take advantage.
You may have bought all the domain names linked to your business – but what if you haven’t locked down your brand on social media? There’s nothing to stop another business coming along and setting up social accounts using your business name.
Opening social media profiles across the various platforms, using your branding and logos avoids the chance of someone else doing so. You stay in control of your brand. In this respect, the social media has a valuable and often overlooked point to it.
Even if the thought of being active on social media fills you with dread, you can always set up the profiles and put a message or post with your website or phone number of enquiries. Equally, if you want to concentrate on one platform, set up accounts on the other platforms and direct them to your preferred platform for social engagement.
Social media marketing is just one branch of your digital marketing strategy. It sits there along with SEO and pay per click advertising and of course a well built, up to date website. You need to understand how social media sits within that – and never underestimate the power of a great website.
Don’t forget that one of the key benefits of social media is to drive traffic to your website – so you need to make sure your website is looking good and working well. It may be stating the obvious, but if your website isn’t up to scratch, it’s really not worth investing the time and effort building a following on social media.
When customers are using social media, they might simply be looking to see what friends did at the weekend, or taking a quiz on how many chocolate bars form the 1980s they can remember. The point of social media is to tap into that, so that when they are looking for products or services, you will be at the forefront of their mind.
Social may not deliver on conversion rates, but it has enormous value as a tool for engaging with customers and enhancing your online presence.
Combined with a well-designed website, a strong social presence is hugely valuable for businesses of all kinds.
We’ve worked with organisations in all sectors across the UK, offering consultancy and training in social media and social media content. Get in touch to find out how we can help you!
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