“I don’t quite understand why we need you, but every other business has social media so I figured we might as well too.”

As a social media agency, this statement is not exactly music to the ears. However, we have occasionally met with it when taking on a new client. Perhaps you, dear reader, are one of the people who have pondered the same exact thing about social media’s purpose in business? Mainly, we find the wariness emanates from business owners who are used to old school marketing plans free of social media jargon. And, honestly, we can understand their trepidation. Fortunately for us, the result of implementing a robust social media plan, speaks for itself. And, wow, does it speak volumes.

No matter what business you’re in, having an active social media presence is a top marketing tool in this day and age. It is not only key for expanding your brand, but also for sales growth and retrieving imperative data. At this point in the game, not being on social media is almost equivalent to still using a beeper for your business (our apologies to all of the stone-agers out there!). Hands down, employing social media services is the best way to connect with consumers and make your business thrive. Here’s why across the board…

DIRECT CONNECTION WITH YOUR CONSUMERS & DEMOGRAPHICS.

At the heart, social media for business exists to build relationships and showcase stories. A social media manager keeps that at the forefront of their mind. Behind every social media profile is a unique and highly complex user, each holding their own thoughts and network of “friends.” Since social media has become an international phenomenon, insight into the lives of countless individuals is just floating on the Internet. OK, but what does this mean for your business? Well, free access to consumer opinions and intelligence that a social media coordinator can tap into to help you improve your company’s strategies, that’s what!

Specifically, platforms like Facebook and Twitter (or “the big two,” as we call it, although there are tons of different social media platforms at your disposal) are incredibly important for maintaining a connection to your base of customers. Not only can you access what people are saying – what they like and don’t like – but you can also engage in dialogue with them. Go to any major company’s social media platforms and you’ll see what we’re talking about. For instance, let’s check out the biggest UK mobile network’s Twitter page to get a better visual. Go on – open a new tab and head on over to username @EE! Next, click the “tweets & replies” tab. We guarantee you’ll find that, at the core, the account is used as a customer service forum. Part of someone’s job is to literally sit there and answer comments on social media all day, thus providing an instant response to a consumer’s needs and gaining vital information for the company. It’s an especially great way to promptly learn if there are issues you need to address. You really can’t get that fast communication anywhere else!

Moreover, one of the biggest benefits of having a dedicated social media manager is online reputation management. No longer do you have to worry about responding to comments – positive or negative – in a timely manner. Your social media executive will not only regularly check for messages and comments, he or she will receive alerts for any mentions of your company online. Received a positive comment on one of your products? You can rest assured that the comment will be liked and acknowledged politely. If appropriate, the comment might be shared and retweet to further cement this example of social proofing. Essentially it’s a free review!

On the flip side, should any criticism come your way on social media, your social media manager will be on hand to acknowledge it if appropriate and then escalate it to you immediately to consider an appropriate response, or even to arrange for direct contact.

Dedicated social media managers have the ability to target your consumers directly through the content you publish across multiple platforms. A good coordinator will know how to produce an ad that leaps through your followers’ screens and into their hearts. However, even the greatest of ads don’t work if they’re not seen. This is why a great coordinator will also be able to spread that ad around like butter. Part of their job is to find a relevant audience you want to target, and then design ad campaigns and strategies that carry out your goals over time.

One particularly wonderful social media function is something called geo-targeting. Essentially, this is an efficient method of narrow down your output to a specific audience, based on location, to receive your business’ messages. Most social networks have the tools that allow you to do this, thus hitting your demographic even harder.

An additional benefit is that people view social networks as more of a relaxed environment as opposed to a marketing hub. This means that they are more likely to be receptive to anything you have to say on the networks, resulting in higher traffic being driven to your site.

SOCIAL MEDIA STRENGTHENS YOUR BRAND AND HEIGHTENS YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC.

Finding an effective method of luring visitors to your website can feel bizarre (and, honestly, is bizarre if done incorrectly!). It’s important to keep in mind that all of your business practices translate directly to your business’ “voice” and “image.” Therefore, everything you do (from advertisements to tweets) should stem from your mission. You don’t want to appear pushy, publishing ads that constantly shout, “We’re here! Be our customer!” That’s why social media is so remarkable. It’s a marketing method that connects with your potential buyers in an informal setting. You can generate posts that have that same intention of bringing users to your website or product pages, without all of the nagging.

Through fun and creative content like videos, GIF animations, contests etc. you can interact with customers and build a relationship with them. Social media allows you to humanise your company, and a social media manager will share things that you think fit the business’ “personality” and that your “friends” (customers) would want to see. It will help unite you and your consumers even more. In a sense, this B2C (business to consumer) approach is a disguised fashion of getting your followers to look into your company and, hopefully, buy your products. If your website link is included in engaging posts then you are much more likely to get traffic to flow there, versus a simple ad on Google or a newspaper.

It’s vital to understand that when a business is on social media and consistently posting good quality content, its website SEO automatically boosts (making it more easily found and recommended). Search engines learn which pages have high traffic and are linked across the web, so when you drive users to your site on social media (with a post that includes your link, etc.) you are, essentially, helping your web pages to climb the ranking of search engine results pages (SERP). The increase in website traffic that a social media manager can bring you is, perhaps, one of the biggest and least acknowledged benefits of using social media for a business.

Furthermore, social media networks grant businesses unparalleled access to millions upon millions of consumers – why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?

THE B2B BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

It seems that the Business to Business (or B2B) world has been slow to tap into social media. However, they’re finally catching up as they have realised that social media offers a plethora of direct and indirect marketing opportunities and an incomparable way of connecting with business partners.

Social media services invest time into planning the right strategy for their clients, which is especially important for B2B, as marketing goals are at higher stakes. Allowing a fleshed out focus on a business’ core values will make the company’s presence flourish all around. If you hire an experienced coordinator to keep your voice cohesive and generate or source highly shareable and impactful content, then your company will be more appealing for others to want to work with.

B2B organizations are generally more conservative and often don’t want to be as casual in their strategies as a B2C company might. As a practice, many of these organisations make LinkedIn their top platform, since that is the most “professional” of the social networks. It truly offers an excellent space to connect with fellow industry giants. However, the great aspect about the right social media manager is that they keep your desired brand’s image fluid on every platform and, if you wish, can make them all work to the highest potential.

Social media also gives your business a space to actively engage with your partners. Just as it allows friends to connect, it gives B2B a platform to communicate. You can put a spotlight on your partners through liking and commenting on their content, sharing it, tagging them in posts, creating posts about your partnership etc. This strengthens your bond and allows other businesses see how great you work at B2B. New partners will therefore be more likely to want to work with you!

GET AN EDGE ON THE COMPETITION.

On the other end of the spectrum, social media services also can monitor what your competitors are up to. It’s like an ethical way of spying! Today, businesses can see what their greatest competitors put out into the world, both successfully and unsuccessfully. For instance, Facebook has an analytics feature that allows you to put yourself against the data of your top competitors and see how it compares week after week.

This type of social media monitoring gives businesses key information to shape their own strategies and stay ahead of the competition. Social media specialists also use software like Hootsuite, which has a function that can track industry keywords and your competitiors etc. This is all done privately, without your competitors being aware that you are doing it.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETERS ORGANISE EVERYTHING FOR YOU.

The many facets of social media may be overwhelming at times, which is why it’s important to stay organised. This is where your social media coordinator will take the strain, managing your social media channels and posting content that is consistent with your brand and values.

A monthly report provided by your social media manager will demonstrate the social media output from the previous month. This will positively impact your business’ overall strategy and inform future content marketing strategy.

A social media calendar can be utilised to provide an overview of a business’ social marketing strategy and helps to ensure a brand publishes top-notch, well-written and highly shareable content. It also helps to make sure you don’t forget any important dates. There are various times where a business will want to promote an event, take part in a “national day” or simply remember to post something, and a calendar takes care of that.

There are too many benefits of social media to name, but we hope now it is a little clearer to you just how invaluable having it is for a business. Overall, it is the perfect way to measure your business’ success and guarantee it is on the path to growth. When it comes down to it, social media coordinators are storytellers. They love nothing more than to creatively showcase your brand to the world. So find someone you trust and get your business’ story out there!