Time and time again, we are presented the question how can Social Media help my business? At the end of the day, a business is looking for increased revenue to help them succeed. They lay the framework for a great product, customer service, and empower their employees to carry this message out to their customers. It is these things that Social Media can convey to your customers in a real time manner; what once could only be done with face-to-face interaction, marketing campaigns, direct mail, e-mail etc., can now be done in an “immediate gratification” approach.
So what does that all mean? Here are some more specifics of what Social Media can bring to the table:
Increased brand awareness –
- The business that lives or dies by waiting for their next potential customer to walk through their brick and mortar store will soon find themselves dying. To thrive now, when potential customers are thousands of miles away from you, you need to reach them. The best, and potentially cheaper, method of doing this? Social Media. You can reach thousands upon thousands of unconnected users with one viral content posting. The cost of the average Facebook like? $3.50. The average cost of generating a direct mail campaign per address? $2.75. The digital footprint is more expensive, but at the end of the day you have the potential to reach every one of the digital user’s [on average] 500 friends. What happens to your direct mail item? It’s safe to say it goes right in the trash. Potential reach and sales are a much better investment in the big picture than the immediate increase in ROI.
Build customer loyalty (via engagement and support) –
- We have at our fingertips platforms that are potentially real-time sounding boards for customer service. Not only are they indexable and searchable, but also they are viewable by those that were not directly involved. It is estimated by 2013, that most companies will conduct customer service through social platforms. Why? Not only because it is more cost effective and manageable, but also because answer a question for one, and it may answer a question from thousands. In putting your brand out in the open, for the public, it allows you to build loyalty with your customers. Customers are 90% more likely to buy from a brand they trust, given the choice and comparable products; the 10% are driven by fiscal factors. Build loyalty amongst your customer base and they will be your best evangelists; family members are influenced by others, and are 70% more likely to buy based on these opinions. You want those family members to be loyal to your brand.
Increase sales by driving more purchases, more frequently –
- Apple is the king of a very simple marketing technique. The easier and faster it is to buy, the more money is spent and more frequently as well. When asked if they [Apple] were worried about inventory shrinkage because of the lack of necessary interaction in their stores, their reply was to the effect of “the cost of shrinkage is heavily outweighed by the profits of what we sell” The ease drives revenue so well, that the risk of losing revenue on stolen goods is null and void. Using social makes selling easy because you are able to combine specials, discounts, new information, pictures, and links to purchase all in one simple content posting. Reviews, opinions, and pertinent info from your brand and brand loyalists emerge in one location, making the need for researching go out the window. That sounds like a simplification of the buying process, does it not?
Relay real-time messages to your customers –
- We are a world fed by instant gratification. We want what we want, when we want it, and we want it now! No longer are you hindered by massive website updates, e-mail campaigns, newsletters, or Press releases. With the ease of a few keystrokes and a click, you have relayed real-time information to your brand customers and fans. Over 75% of the worlds population is social, 60% of them have said they check their e-mail only once a day. How often did they check their social networks? 3 times a day. Do the math; your important releases are better served, and your customers as well, by using social as part of your arsenal.
Brings “humanity” to your brand and/or concept –
- Even with the best product in the world, the most stunning images, or the cheapest services, if people cannot connect with your brand’s content or the brand itself; they will eventually go elsewhere. The name of Social alone implies that is just that; a Social platform. A machine is not social with another person; a person is social with another person. So as we realize and practice this on social media, it has an added bonus of making your brand identifiable as a real, living, breathing, thinking entity to your customers. Skittles rainbow logo is identifiable, but people engage with skittles on Facebook now on a real-time personal level hundreds of thousands of times a day. Customers are fiercely for things they are passionate about; there is nothing more passionate then real emotions for something you resonate with as another human.
At the end of the day, the potential of a ROI from using social can be huge; but it still hinges on one thing, just as everything else with your brand. Is it being done in an effective and complete manner? Just because you have the accounts doesn’t mean they are being used, and if they are effective and beneficial, then they are inevitably hurting you.