Social media has transformed the way we communicate with each other and as a result, it is changing the way we do business too. Did you know that 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision? (Source: Nielsen)
It is clear that consumers are attaching more value to social media but SMEs don’t seem to have grasped the potential of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
We carried out our own AddPeople customer research to see just how many of our clients were making the most of social media and we were surprised by the results given the large amounts of statistics declaring its value and importance for businesses.
We found that 69% of customers don’t have prominent links to their social media profiles on their websites. These links are vital as they allow customers to find and follow your business easily.
Following this, we also discovered that ONLY 20% of our customers are active on social media!
This was the biggest shocker; and it means if our customer base represents a good sample of SME’s then 4 in 5 of them are missing out on the considerable opportunities social media has to offer.
Social media can help improve all the basic principles of good business, such as engaging with customers, converting interested prospects into paying clients, and approaching any customer service issues head on. Here are three of the biggest benefits of social media that should not be overlooked by SMEs.
Customer Engagement is becoming increasingly more important and the majority of big brands are already engaging with their audience on social media. A new study by Syncapseto shows that 85% of fans on Facebook will recommend a brand to others, compared to 60% of customers who don’t follow any brands. Clients who engage with your business on social media are more likely to purchase and recommend you so it makes sense to join the conversation and build a following. Start with a simple brand search and respond to people who are asking questions that are relevant to your products or services.
It is also important to respond to any negative comments you receive. Turn a negative into a positive by addressing the issue head on and trying your level best to rectify the situation. Most people are reasonable and will accept that sometimes you can’t please everyone, and it will show potential customers that you value your customer relationships and are proactive in addressing concerns.
Generating business. Social media gives you the opportunity to drive more traffic back to your website by generating interest in your products and services. Shout about your promotions or offer something of value such as an eBook or appraisal in exchange for contact details to help generate leads. According to HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing report, Social media can be a highly cost effective source of leads and inquiries.
Make sure you don’t overdo the self-promotional stuff though! Keep your audience engaged with helpful content and watch your influence grow.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and social media are two of the most effective ways to build brand exposure and drive traffic to your website. Combine them both and you will see some impressive results. Social signals are becoming increasingly important to Google, and will continue to do so according to Moz. A social signal is a link from someone’s social profile to your web page. So for example, if you were to click the ‘tweet’ button on this blog post then you will have given Google a ‘social signal’ about our website. Moz found that websites with a strong social presence perform better in the rankings than those who are not so SMEs need to make sure they are (or become) socially active to get seen in Google searches!
The important thing is not to fear social media and ignore it completely. Small businesses should invest a bit of time to trial and test ideas and don’t be afraid to try something completely new. Social media is conversational in nature so reach out and speak to your audience. We understand it can be tough to find the time so remember we offer professional social media page design and strategy management so get in touch if you need some help!