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The benefits of social media marketing

In the last two decades, social media has forever changed the face of marketing. On any given day of the year, there are over 3.5 billion social media users globally. That’s almost half of the world’s population! With such high engagement online, it is advantageous for businesses to shift some of their marketing efforts and presence to these online platforms.

When done right, social media marketing can make a world of difference for your small business. It is in you and your business’s best interest to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the various other social media platforms at your fingertips.

Here’s why you should use social media for business and the benefits that await you when you do.

1. Know what your target audience is thinking

One of the most significant benefits of social media marketing is the ability to see what your customers are thinking and saying about your products, business or industry in general. This can help you understand consumer behaviour, particularly your target market so you can evaluate what they need and want and meet their demands accordingly.

Browsing these platforms for relevant content to your business, seeing what gains attention and what doesn’t, is a form of market research. These social insights can help you strategise for your social presence and give you ideas on connecting with your customer base online.

2. Start a conversation with customers

Not only can you use the platform for market research, but you can also reach your target market directly too. Social media platforms have given businesses the ability to reach out and speak directly with their customer base. Creating a two-way conversation can help build confidence in your company, and it offers unique customer insights and creates a high standard of customer service.

Your business becomes more approachable, and people appreciate that about companies. Creating an open-ended conversation with users online is a marketing strategy that can gain you customer loyalty in the long run.

3. Increase brand recognition

Another of the many advantages of social media marketing is the increased brand awareness it can create for your company. Brand awareness refers to how well recognised your business or products are by consumers.

Companies like Nike, Amazon and McDonald’s all have high brand awareness. You see their logo and can instantly recognise and know what company it is. Using social media to post relevant content, connect with customers and run promotions can help you increase your brand recognition, as it gets people talking about your business.

4. Improve search rankings

The search visibility of your company matters now more than ever. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, crawl your websites and online presence to determine how relevant you are to users. The more quality content you have online, backed by other users and customers, the more likely you are to show up at the top of Google’s search results.

Therefore, social media marketing benefits include higher visibility online, which converts to more people seeing your business and ultimately using it.

5. Improve brand authority

Brand authority means how trustworthy people perceive your business or brand to be. Are you an expert on your products and services within your specific industry? The more you use social media and interact with users online, the more you build brand authority for your business.

The higher your authority, the more visible your brand becomes. More people will trust you with their money, and you can grow your reputation and business exponentially.

6. Create a loyal customer base

Using social media to build your business’s brand authority also results in creating a loyal customer base. As more consumers begin to see you as an expert in your field, you will become more trustworthy. They will see that you have a platform on which you communicate with your audiences, and they will appreciate you for these authentic customer interactions. Soon, customers will be choosing your product or service over your competition because they know and trust your business. This is known as customer loyalty or brand loyalty.

7. Tell your business’s story effectively

How did your small business get started? What inspired you to enter into your industry? With an online presence, you can effectively communicate your business’s origin story, and who doesn’t like a good origin story?

The more your customers and audiences know about you and your brand, the more approachable you seem. The easier it is to connect to your image, the more likely customers will be to choose your product over others due to this personal connection.

8. Bring your customer service into the 21st century

The internet has expanded the market infinitely, meaning there are endless possibilities for how you can connect with and help your customers. A higher number of consumers are using the internet not only to shop, but for customer services as well—asking businesses questions, expressing concerns or dealing with returns.

This means you have to bring your store online to meet these demands and needs—that’s what good service is all about. Younger generations are more likely to email or message through social media than phone your business to ask a question, so you need to go where the customers are—and that’s online.

Social media marketing benefits your business that much more if you use your social networks to improve your customer service.

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9. Send traffic to your website

Creating content and sharing it on your social networks can help you spread the word about your website. Anything you post that gains traction online will get you noticed and traffic social media users to your site. Adding your website link to your popular posts can drive traffic to your webpage, which in turn can gain you a greater number of customers and sales. A strong social media presence will ultimately result in higher website traffic for your business overall.

10. Reach more people and gain the attention of potential customers

With billions of users online, there is no telling how many untapped market segments you could potentially reach. There are many marketing strategies you can use to tap into these potential customer bases.

Work with a social media influencer in your industry to tap into their extensive following. Run a social media contest with the prize being one of your products or services. Write a guest post on an industry-specific blog that you know your potential customers use. These are just a few of the methods you can use to gain the attention of new customers.

Take a moment to consider how best to reach your various target audiences and begin developing a social media strategy that will get you noticed by them.

11. Increase your chances of going viral

When a video or infographic goes viral, it means that millions upon millions of people online have engaged with this posted content. A viral post can provide your business with high visibility that will bring additional traffic to your business’s site and social pages. It’s always advantageous to write high-quality content with the aim of getting noticed and perhaps having a chance at going viral.

12. Low-cost brand promotion

Creating a social media profile or page for your business costs zero dollars. It can be relatively inexpensive for small companies to develop an online presence when, as the business owner, you take on this responsibility yourself. Using social media posts for your marketing campaigns is relatively inexpensive.

Things may start costing more if you specifically hire someone in the role of social media coordinator or if you use paid advertising. Such expenses can add up over time. Still, if you are smart about it, a small social media budget can go a long way.

13. It can be used for split testing the market

One of the marketing strategies of social media is to use paid advertisements to get your content, products and business name out there. With paid advertising, your content will reach more people. You can test out different advertisement types, aiming at various demographics and target audiences to determine what works and what doesn’t.

For example, you can direct the same ad at two different audience types to determine which works better. You can also try two contrasting ads on the same audience group to see which one converts better for that demographic. This is known as split testing, and many businesses use this marketing method to help determine what works best.

14. It keeps everyone up to date on your promotions and sales

One of the easiest ways to get the word out about your seasonal promotions or ongoing sales is to use your business’s social accounts to do so. Customers are more likely to click through to your website or online store if they see a promotion going on.

Posting regularly online can help you stimulate your current promotions, especially around the festive season. You can even try split testing sales ads to see what works best for your audiences.

15. Use that hashtag to gain more views

These days, no one refers to the hash sign as a number sign anymore. Thanks to social media, it is more widely known as the hashtag. Using hashtags on social platforms is a great way to tag relevant users and topics so others can see your similar content.

Adding a hashtag reference to each of your business’s posts is one of the advantages of social media marketing as it connects you to other trending topics and viral posts, meaning more eyes on your business.

Your social media business budget

So, why use social media for business? An online presence means you can tap into all the benefits listed above, from higher visibility and brand recognition to greater customer engagement and brand authority. But to successfully pull off a social media marketing campaign, you need the budget to do so.

That’s where quality accounting software comes into play. Track your marketing expenses alongside your business budget to improve your outreach and sales without losing money in the process. Run financial reports with QuickBooks Online to see how your strategy is progressing and if you are improving your revenue and sales.

Millions of businesses across Australia use QuickBooks Online to keep their business expenses and revenue in line with their budgets. Why not try it free today and join them in their success?

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