Taking the plunge into the world of social media marketing can be an overwhelming prospect for an entrepreneur, who’s already busy balancing all of the other challenges and priorities that come with growing a startup.
It can be difficult to know where to start, how to manage it effectively, and the stakes can feel quite high when one misstep can tarnish your company’s reputation – both on and offline.
But social media is no passing fad, and investing the time and energy into developing a social media strategy can really payoff for your growing business.
According to a Sprout Social survey, 90 per cent of social marketers said social media has a direct effect on revenue, and 71 per cent said social media provides helpful insights for teams outside of their department.
Benefits such as revenue growth and increased productivity demonstrate how valuable being on social media can be for your business. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why your business needs to get serious about social media today.
Connect with customers
Social media is all about creating long-lasting connections with others, and the same is true for businesses on social platforms. Companies that build relationships with their customers online, often gain unique insights that help shape their product development or improve service offerings.
When it comes to customer support, social media may be one of the best tools in your arsenal to help your company provide top-notch customer service. Many people turn to social media when they experience an issue or have a suggestion for ways a company can improve. Having a social media presence means you can actively monitor for these situations and address them as they arise.
If you plan to use social media to connect with customers, there are some things to keep in mind. The days of waiting two to five business days for a response from a company are long gone. In the age of instant gratification, people now expect fairly quick responses from companies on social. So if you’re going to use social media channels to deliver customer service, you should be committed to providing a speedy response time.
Boost your brand
Having a social media presence is becoming a necessity for many brands. Businesses can use social media to amplify their brand’s persona, and create a more enriching brand experience for customers.
Your social profile can also inform customers whether they should trust your brand or buy your product. Factors such as your follower count, activity (or lack of) and comments on posts can inform people’s opinions about your company.
It’s important to ensure your social presence is an accurate representation of your brand. The voice, tone, colour schemes and imagery you use all play a role in boosting your brand on social. It’s also critical to maintain a regular posting schedule with relevant content that not only suits your audience, but engages them.
Increase your impact
Many companies use social media to help deliver their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. The benefit of integrating social media into a CSR plan is that it can bring more visibility to a business’s efforts to give back. It can also be a strategic way to boost engagement and reach of social posts.
Major campaigns like #BellLetsTalk, for example, have successfully raised money and awareness for mental health in Canada using the power of social media. By committing to donate five cents every time the hashtag is shared, Bell leverages social sharing to effectively achieve their CSR goals, engage their audience, and gain publicity.
If you’re planning to use social media as part of your CSR efforts, it’s important to make transparency a top priority. Be sure to let your followers know where the money you raise is going and how impacts the cause you’re supporting. It’s also a good idea to regularly communicate your long-term commitment to the cause and why it’s important to your company.
While social media can be an effective tool for growing your business, keep in mind that just because you manage your own personal social accounts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will excel at leading your business’s social presence. You may want to consider cost-effective ways to get your social media strategy started, such as hiring a co-op student, freelancer or part-time employee to manage your platforms for you. However, you still want to be engaged in the process – so be sure to keep an eye out for content opportunities and don’t be afraid to snap a picture, so that you can send it to your social media coordinator.
Whether you are a small business or an established enterprise, there are a number of use cases for why your business should have a social media presence. If you’re looking to learn how to manage your business’ social media channels, join us on Wednesday, January 22 for a Lunch + Learn on mastering social media marketing with Kerra AuCoin Mansfield from KA Social Media Consulting.