The Hidden Benefits of Social Media
It's easy to look at social media for your business as a vapid, surface level attempt at reaching your audience, but there's more than meets the eye. We know that ROI is a term every business owner wants to hear, and yet social media isn't always an easy - or even possible - place to find it. You may be managing your social media in addition to your many other job responsibilities, or have a marketing employee or team, in-house or not, that handles it as one piece of a large marketing and outreach puzzle.
If you're spending time planning, strategizing, writing content, scheduling, analyzing, responding, reacting and repeating it all day in and day out, you may be wondering if all of your time spent, or time paid for, is worth it.
I assure you, it is.
A common question entered into search engines is "will social media die" and I'm sure some people are hoping it will. The truth is that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Just like years and years prior, marketing is constantly changing, and social media and digital marketing are valid and important parts of that.
If you're low on social media morale and want to know why you're spending your time on it, here are some of the hidden, and maybe even unknown to you, benefits of using social media for your business.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - If your website is optimized, it is helping you to improve your search engine results and listing, but you may not have realized how important the role of social media plays in this process, also. Content can live on your website all day long, but if the content isn't shared, how far does it really go? Social media gives you the opportunity to push your content out - organically or paid - and further your reach, therefore pushing more traffic to your website, helping you improve your reach and rankings. This is a very brief overview of these benefits, but one of the most important ones.
2. Brand Awareness - Thinking back even as closely as 10-15 years ago, TiVOs and DVRs and the ability to skip commercials were only beginning to gain momentum. The television media audiences were subjected to commercials and advertising whether they desired it or not. As with all branding, some attempts at building sales are quick and easy - "Wow, I need that and I'll go buy it!" or the longer and likely more effective means of brand building - slow and steady wins the race. Although brand awareness is NOT sexy and is hard to quantify, it is an invaluable part of your marketing efforts. Never underestimate the power of showing up consistently with value in your social media audience's news feeds.
3. Networking - You may roll your eyes at this one, but I assure you if you do, you just haven't yet found the power that's available in using your social media for networking. Let me qualify this statement, first, by saying that networking on social media should be used appropriately and responsibility. Spam-adding as many friends as you can on Facebook and flooding their messages with promotions or "like my page" requests is NOT an effective means of networking. However, using hashtags on Instagram or Twitter to locate audiences you want to reach, authentically engaging with them and gaining trust and relationships IS acceptable. As is pure networking on LinkedIn. Again, I advise you NOT to spam connection requests as your strategy for networking, but strategically request connections with a personal note requesting the reason you seek a GENUINE connection. You will be surprised with the results.
4. Connecting with your customers - If you haven't taken advantage of the fact that you are able to reach and solicit feedback from your direct audience, you're missing out! Use your social media presence as a way to find out what your audience actually wants to see - this can help you with everything from the type of social media content to share with them to optimizing and creating products and services that better fit their needs. Are you asking for recommendations on LinkedIn or reviews on Google or Facebook? If you aren't, you should start now. Make the most out of your presence on these platforms to help you in the long run.
The process of building an effective social media presence for your business is neither linear nor quick, but the benefits of it typically surpass the time, money and effort involved in maintaining your presence.
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