Over the past 10 years, social media marketing has gradually overtaken advertising as the favored marketing outlet for businesses.
It's true that companies still trying to harness the power of the digital world can sometimes find the social marketplace overwhelming, but for those who have embraced it, social media has become a great marketing tool.
According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 94 percent of all businesses with a marketing department use social media as part of their marketing platforms; 58 percent of businesses that have used social media marketing for more than three years have reported an increase in sales over the same period and 85 percent of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
Here are six reasons why social media marketing is important:
- Social media is a good way to increase your company’s trustworthiness. Customers want to know that they can trust your company, and building a relationship is a great way to establish trust. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. Address problems head-on. If consumers know they can reach out to your company and be heard and taken care of, they’ll give you their trust.
- Social media also makes it easier for companies to engage their customers. Give customers information and opportunities to learn more about your brand. Start conversations. Engage your audience. Engaged consumers become loyal customers.
- Social media sites also generate traffic for your website. More eyes on your website means more opportunities to tell your brand’s story to potential customers. That extra traffic and the social media attention can also improve your site’s position on search engines, further increasing incoming traffic.
- Access to customer feedback is easy with social media. That feedback can help you improve your products or services to more closely match your customers’ desires. It can also tell you when you’ve completely misread your target audience’s needs and allow you to retool much more quickly than was possible in the pre-social media days.
- There is no cheaper way to market your product or service than with social media. Most social media sites are free to use, requiring only that you provide the time and resources to build and keep an audience --– no small effort, but creating an advertising campaign would likely require just as much effort and a lot more investment.
- Smart companies are using social media to recruit new employees. Forty-three percent of people aged 20-29 spend more than 10 hours per week on social media sites, and to reach them, many companies have started posting jobs on sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Some surveys show that 89 percent of companies will use social media for recruiting this year, which enables the hiring process to move faster while also attracting a wider selection of candidates.
Used correctly, social media marketing can be one of the most powerful tools available to help your business grow and succeed.
For more information on how to develop your own social media guidelines and turn your employees into an army of brand ambassadors, click here.
By Sylvia Gomez