Ever wonder what all the fuss is when it comes to social media? Why are so many businesses in the professional services space raving about LinkedIn, jumping onto Instagram Stories, or investing heavily in their Facebook or TikTok presence?
Social media for business is no longer optional for most of us, and it has become one of the most important ways in which we reach new audiences, connect with our customers, and build our brands. Regardless of which platforms you’re using, who your target audiences are, or what your marketing messages are, b2b businesses can no longer afford to be silent on social. Keep reading to learn three of the main benefits that having a strong social media presence can have for your brand.
One of the number one reasons we use social media for businesses is to increase brand awareness. If we use the well-known funnel analogy, social media is often used at the top end of the funnel to attract potential new audiences.
When audiences are at the top end of the funnel they’re usually considered to be ‘cold audiences’ and have probably never heard of you before. But when they get to the bottom end of the funnel, they’re piping hot audiences, ready to purchase.
The general rule of thumb here is that a customer needs to have seven touch points with your brand before they will buy, which means they need to see your brand, product or service seven times. Now this will obviously vary depending on the type of product or service you are offering, but it’s a great place to start.
As your audience moves through this funnel, they are experiencing different touch points with your brand and pretty soon they will have reached the seven points of contact needed before they make a purchase.
A lot of the time, the first touchpoint for your customer might be a social media ad that pulls people back to your page and makes them aware of your brand. This person might not be ready to buy from you just yet but they’re happy to learn a little more about you, so they come back to your page and start following you.
It’s important to keep in mind that these customers are not going to buy straight away, but they’re going to follow your page and look at your content. This means you need to be posting consistent relevant content that helps them take the next step in their customer journey.
You can then use your social media channels to promote your high-value lead magnets like a free whitepaper, online webinar or other event. You can then use your whitepaper or online event to gain their name and email address, pulling them one step closer towards becoming a paying customer.
Another reason businesses use social media is to stay connected with existing customers or clients. Sometimes we forget to place enough focus on our current customers, but they actually play a big part in awareness and sales for our businesses.
For many companies, their social media audiences are heavily made up of existing and loyal customers who have purchased from them before and who intend to buy from them again in the future. They are often following the page to stay up to date on sales and promotions, new product releases, or to talk to other people within the brand community.
Our Facebook page at BeKonstructive Marketing is predominantly followed by people that we already know. They’re people that are already within our community, they’re people that we’ve met through networking and workshops, or they’re current and existing clients.
If you’ve got that community that wants to stay connected with you and really advocate for your brand, having a social media platform or members group is an amazing way to keep those people engaged and connected to your brand. These are the people who are spreading positive word of mouth advertising and bringing new people back for you.
Staying Top of Mind
The third reason links back to brand awareness where you were using social media to reach new audiences, but now you’re consistently posting new and interesting content to stay top of mind for your potential customers.
Social media ads might reach new audiences and bring people back to your page, but then you need to be posting content on a consistent basis. When someone finally has the need or money to make a purchase, you want your brand to be on the top of their mind so they come to you instead of a big chain brand that everyone knows.
Social media allows you to build connection with your potential customers; it allows you to show them who you are, what you do, and what your values are. It allows you to feed them value in the form of education or entertainment, which build ‘goodwill’ with your brand before they become a customer. When they are ready to buy, not only will you be top of mind, but you will be their preferred supplier. They aren’t going to go and get 5 quotes from 5 suppliers; they are going to come straight to you and request a quote because they trust you and they feel like they know you.
This all comes down to user behaviour, and ties in again with the funnel analogy and seven touch points with your brand. The more someone sees your brand in their feed and the more positive comments they see from existing customers, the more likely they are to actually make a purchase from you.
Humanise Your Brand
Another important reason to strategically use social media for your business is to humanise your organisation and put faces to your brand name. The key to humanising your brand on social media is authenticity and consistency, and social media is the best place to get real.
It’s important to remember that most people want to see and talk to other people, and humanising your brand helps your customers feel like they are talking to a friend, not just a brand. Keeping this in mind, you still want to strike the right balance between personality and professionalism because you are still a company building a positive reputation.
There are quite a few ways you can humanise your brand and create real human connections with your followers. Some easy ways to get started and tap into these benefits of social media include:
- Introduce the people behind your organisation
- Show how existing customers are using your products or services
- Go behind the scenes and share day to day activities
- Respond to comments and posts with a personal touch
- Share your positive workplace culture and team achievements
So many brands have benefitted from dropping the corporate suit and tie image, and getting more personal and authentic with their customers on social media. Depending on your individual business and unique audiences, you might just want to select a few key social platforms and adjust your ratio of personality to professionalism to suit your brand needs.
It’s all about your unique brand personality, and keeping your messaging consistent across platforms as this can do a lot to support your brand image and build authentic connections. Authenticity builds trust, and trust builds receptiveness to marketing and drives more business and loyal customers to your brand.
Stay On Top of Industry News and Trends
Another benefit of social media is that it gives businesses the ability to stay on top of current industry news and uncover industry trends as they happen. To keep it simple, social media is a potential gold mine for business intelligence and each platform offers its own unique insights into industry trends and audience needs.
Social media is very transparent in its nature so we’re able to see unfiltered real time conversations and insights between consumers and brands. We are also able to see what is happening in different parts of the world, which opens up so many more opportunities for inspiration on how to improve your business or stay up to date with audiences. In an increasingly digital world, things move fast and your business can’t afford to be left behind.
If you want to know what another brand is doing well, what your own brand is doing well, or not so well, it’s all out there in the open on social media. You can see what people are loving, and what people are complaining about, in real time and from real people. Your business can take action based on customer feedback and come up with real time solutions that your customers and clients will rave about, and often rave about on social media to their friends and family.
One of the key ways businesses stay on top of industry news, trends and customer satisfaction is through social listening. Keeping a virtual ear on what is happening online, through dedicated social listening tools and following relevant thought leaders, hashtags, topics and more.
There are many social listening tools out there and there are many ways you can listen. Just by being active on social media and building up your communities and engaged followers, you can hear what people are saying about you, your competitors, and your industry as a whole.
Long-Term Benefits of Using Social Media
We know that calculating your ROI from social media activities can be pretty difficult. Lots of businesses think they will run a social media ad and get an instant ROI, but in the majority of cases this is not actually how it happens. Remember the funnel and the seven touch points – slow and steady wins the race, and by drip-feeding value, information and education, you will build stronger and longer-lasting connections with your audience.
The process is much longer from the first time a potential customer sees one of your ads, to the first time they make a purchase. This might take two or three months, and it might take this customer seeing half a dozen social media posts in their feed, but using social media in a more strategic and effective way can make a huge difference for your business in the long run.
Learn more about BeKonstructive Marketing’s social media services here.