Social media has been a part of the recommended marketing framework nearly from the day social media channels launched. The primary benefit of social media for marketing has always been the ability to reach audiences where they spent the most time. Therefore, social media helped achieve traffic and lead generation goals.
In reality, though, social media does so much more for marketing than that. Here are six lesser known benefits.
Social media is one channel marketers can get a real-time understanding of what’s going on—the pulse of local and global perspectives and expectations. This includes current trends, opinions, behaviors, complaints, and interests.
That’s because audience members go to social media to announce what they are doing, where they are at, what they just bought, and even what they are thinking. Social media gives a marketer so much valuable information about their target audience directly from that audience. Even when defined as hashtags, the insights tend to be specific and unfiltered compared to a survey, interview, or focus group.
To provide further assistance, since marketers don’t necessarily have the time to spend on various social media channels all day checking for this pulse, marketing automation platforms do the “social listening” and report back the trends and insights. Having this information generates more relevant and meaningful campaigns for better engagement.
Competitor observation and inspiration
As a public platform, social media gives marketers a way to see what the competition’s doing and learn more about them compared to any other opportunities. There is a significant amount of content available on competitor social media profiles and pages, including conversations they have with customers and prospects, to help track their strategy.
It’s possible to see when they use social media for promotions, the type of ads and content, if they are using influencer marketing, how they are addressing user-generated content, and the frequency of their interactions. You can also assess how these strategies are working for them. This provides an opportunity to consider new tactics you might not have used that seem to be working while also determining how to differentiate your content and campaigns.
Helps improve customer service
Smart marketers use social media as a go-to customer service tool. Due to the real-time nature of this channel, there’s an opportunity to immediately assist customers with an issue or question. This also starts a dialogue that you can keep going long after the resolution of the service issue. In the process, others (prospects, other customers, and even competitors) see how quickly you respond, what you say, and how focused you are on helping your customers. The feedback during these conversations can also be leveraged for where and how to make improvements.
Delivers user-generated content
User-generated content is an ideal way to build out relevant content for your brand and get it shared across a larger audience. Customers like to see themselves in posts and will share these with their social circles. In the process, engagement and traffic rise, leading to potential increases in conversion rates and revenue.
Experienced marketers monitor mentions and tags to see where their brand has been included. These can then be curated and shared as part of your own marketing campaign. In fact, what you collect may also inspire a new campaign.
Changes brand perspective
Many brands try to be “all business,” with the primary focus on selling and professionalism. While that’s what’s to be expected on a website or email campaign, that’s not what’s actually engaging on social media.
As "social” channels, they are opportunities “to let your hair down” and show more of your brand’s humanity. It’s where you can be more personal, funny, and touching.
Showing that side of your brand helps your audience relate and connect beyond the products or services you offer. Consider sharing your sharing community projects and philanthropy, or take a stand on an important issue that’s on everyone’s minds. Showcasing pictures and videos of employees adds a human element to your brand.
Purposeful social media use
Using social media because your audience spends a lot of time there isn’t a compelling reason for participating. Just because you build your social media profile or page doesn’t mean they will come, engage, and buy.
Instead, you’ll need to assess how these other benefits of social media can align with your marketing goals. Then, you can develop your social media presence with these advantages in mind to optimize your efforts here and across all channels.
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