Where as brands used to push their products and messages out in what was essentially a one-way conversation, the social web has transformed it into a two-way conversation. The impact is manifold: It means that we have to cultivate stories that create a real emotional connection to break through the noise. It means that we have to learn to speak authentically and honestly to our customers but also to inspire them.
Yet no, matter how fast-paced our world has become, some things never change. Like the fact that building relationships takes time. Trust and loyalty are not given; they are earned - little by little, tweet by tweet, delightful experience by delightful experience.
Which brings us to the real question, which is not "Will they come? but rather "Are you ready to serve?"
There are eight simple ways your business can benefit from implementing an effective social media marketing plan:
1. Social Media Can Reduce Your Overall Marketing Costs
First and foremost, the ability to tweet a message or post something to Facebook is dramatically more cost effective than running a paid ad or mailing thousands of marketing pieces. However, there are also advanced advertising tools that allow you to run a marketing campaign that is both keyword- and demographic specific so that you can get the best bang for your marketing dollar.
2. Social Media Can Impact Your Organic Search Results
When it comes to impacting your website's position in search engines, you have been told that you need to create both optimized and compelling content if you want to be found. Part of this is so that other websites will find your content and link to it, thus boosting your search ranking.
What social media does is allow you to broadcasting your content out to a wide range of interested readers. Interested prospects then visit your content, subscribe, tell their friends, and ultimately link to it. Google and Bing both pay attention to social signals like this when they decide how to rank links on the search results page.
3. With Social Media You Can Offer Better Customer Service
If you are looking for a way to field customer comments, concerns, and questions, then you are going to find social media to be extremely beneficial. Customers using one of the common platforms like Facebook or Twitter can easily communicate directly with you, and you can quickly answer them in a public format that lets other customers see your responsiveness.
4. With Social Media You Can Design Your Own Online Personality
The idea is that social media is more like a cocktail party than a business meeting. You will always do a lot better in a social situation if you are more like yourself and less like a corporate robot. Social media is a great way to display your business' personality, as well as behind-the-scenes information about you, your employees, your workspace, and more. When you humanize your brand in this way, it makes it easier for consumers to connect with you and develop loyalty.
5. Social Media Lets You Associate with Other Businesses
The fact that you are able to connect directly to the consumer means you can use this platform to also connect to other entrepreneurs and business owners. From possible strategic business partners to new distributors, social media lets you have real conversations with actual people who might otherwise be socially or geographically inaccessible in the real world.
6. Customers Can Validate Your Business on Social Media
The idea behind allowing customers to correspond directly with you is so that they can get the best customer service possible. When this occurs, it happens in a very public forum that can be seen by other prospects. So when customers sing your praises to their friends it not only validates you, but increases the chances that someone else is going to give you a shot next time they need your services.
7. With Social Media You Can Provide Value
The idea that you can provide a truly valuable service to your target market means you are positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Whether that’s educational and entertaining blogs, posts, or tweets, if you are solving a problem or providing information, you’re adding value that customers will appreciate.
8. Social Media Lets You Gain the Competitive Advantage
If used correctly, social media can boost your search rankings, allow you to provide better customer service, build an effective online personality, connect with new business partners, build connections, and validate your professional standing all while providing your consumers with the value they want.
Do you know what that means? You’ve gained the competitive advantage, and it’s all thanks to social media.