Over a decade ago, no one would have projected the impact Social Media would have on the growth of businesses in various sectors around the world. In this present time, it is one of the most talked about topics online. From the role it plays in connecting people with long lost friends, to getting education without being physically present, to connecting people with real-time happenings around the world, to being a major source for public opinion, it is clear to see the strong impact it has on our lives, society and the world in general.
People are now looking past traditional media to social media as decisions made on traditional media are most times influenced by happenings on social media. Social media has also proven to be a cost-effective and faster way to get any messages across to people as businesses can use it to create top of the mind awareness for their brands.
To a large extent, it encourages two-way communication between customers and businesses. Every post on a social media platform is an opportunity to create a higher brand authority by reaching out to new and existing customers. It makes the brand more accessible to new and existing customers as well as encouraging new customers to convert. It also increases brand recognition and loyalty with existing customers as well as being an effective tool for creating a relationship.
To get the expected result from the use of social media for businesses, the platform of choice should have a high presence of the target market. Businesses looking to use social media for their growth should consider the following things:
Communication done across different social media platforms should have the same tone so people can get a unified message. For example, if a new customer comes across a business’ inactive social media page, they may assume that the business has closed up, changed name or has been bought amongst other reasons. Honesty is also a key in communication as customers may like to verify claims made by a business. Consistency does not mean sensationalism.
2. Feedback from the target market:
One of the reasons why social media has to a large extent helped businesses grow is because it allows the customers to provide instantaneous feedback. For Business to Consumer (B2C) markets, they want to feel the human side of the business because it appeals to their emotional reasoning which plays a large part in their purchasing decisions.
Prompt approach to customers’ needs helps increase loyalty to a brand. For example, if they are asking for help in the comments section of any platform of their choice and they’re being ignored or sent to another platform to get an answer, they will assume the company has poor customer service.
3. Relevant content:
Businesses who usually have loyal followership on social media platforms can largely attribute it to this. Messages on any social media platform have to align with the customer base and the type of audience on each platform so that it produces expected results. Disjoint content may leave customers confused. For example, if a business that is focused on vegetarian foods advertises meat or dairy product, customers will be confused. Because the social media world is constantly evolving, market intelligence and research has to be carried out so the business will constantly be in the loop.
4. Make your employees brand advocates:
In this age of social media, customers are more likely to trust what other people say about your brand because people, not channels, are the brands. According to a study by SocialChorus , 92 percent of people trust people they know, but only 14 percent trust advertising. In this digital age, companies should engage their employees more active on social media platforms to help spread the word about them because people have a higher social capital that thereby draws customers to businesses.