Using social media to brand business isn’t a ground breaking strategy anymore. Everyone’s doing it, from the corner mom and pop store to big conglomerates. But why are so many businesses still not taking social media as a serious marketing platform? Why do business owners feel like social media is important, yet claim that they don’t get anything in return from it?
Some businesses fail to realize the value of social media marketing because they don’t view it as anything more than a brand awareness platform. Social media can be much more than that, below are examples of how social media can play a vital part in your marketing plan.
Social Media is a Publishing Platform
Brands in the age of social media have to do something that most businesses never had to do before - become publishers. Each business’ pages serves as their own independent publisher. They have to find, create and curate content that would appeal to their audience rather than just use the platform to blast their newest sale event. As publishers, businesses can be influencers and can convert their customers into their advocates.
Social Media is a lead generation platform
With millions of people logging into various social media channels every day, social media isn’t just about branding anymore. It can also be an important lead generation platform. Social media channels, such as Facebook, provide marketers with control – attributes to precisely target ads to certain demographics and flexibility - real time feedback and analytics for marketers to see which ads are performing better with the ability to change the budgets of each ad. Businesses can create ads and/or content that can reach out to the exact type of people they’d like to attract. With highly targeted ads and content, social media is the perfect platform for lead generation.
Social Media is a lead nurturing platform
For businesses that sell products with a long buying cycle, social media can be the perfect lead nurturing platform. When a customer wants to invest money in products that last a long time, such as kitchen appliances, they won't just drop by the store and pick the first thing they like. Customers today spend more time learning about products before making a purchase decision. Google calls this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth or simply ZMOT. One definition of ZMOT explains, "It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world." So, if customers are spending most of their time doing research online, wouldn't you think they'd also look into the social media pages of the business they're considering buying the products from?
Social Media is the new loyalty program
Loyalty programs have always been a big part of businesses' marketing strategy to get recurring business from customers by providing them with some form of incentive. Loyalty member cards and email subscribers are some of ways in which businesses keep track of their loyalty reward members. Businesses should not forget that social media is also a loyalty reward platform. When customers choose to follow or like a business page, they're showing their support to the business. Social media is the perfect platform to turn those followers into repeat customers.
Social Media is Market Research
Market research plays an essential role in your business by helping you to understand your customers and improve your services/products. Social media provides the perfect platform for businesses to get customer feedback for introducing a new product (Frito Lays famously asked fans to give them suggestions for new flavors via a Facebook contest). Businesses can also perform customer satisfaction surveys, rank current product line ups, etc. Best of all, performing market research via social media channels costs next to nothing.