Digital media has massively changed the way businesses reach, inform and communicate with their audience, with social media being a 'key player' for businesses to engage with their audience. A massive 2.34bn people worldwide have a social media platform of some sort (Statista).
The first section of the 'Let's get social' blog will briefly cover the benefits of having a general social media presence and will look more in-depth into one of the most popular social media platform, Facebook.
What are the benefits of social media?
I'm sure you'll want to know the benefits of having a social media presence and how it may impact your business. Below are a few key benefits that social media can bring.
Increased Brand Awareness: Social media is a great way of increasing your presence in one single click. Getting a few shares on your post will share your brand to potentially thousands of new customers and allow you to easily monitor the engagement.
Real-time content vs pre-planned, scheduled content: Unlike traditional marketing methods such as print, you can share and create real-time content and easily adapt your marketing efforts as and when you choose.
Learn about your users: You'll be able to learn about your customer's online habits and possibly find out new things about your main demographic. You can target specific demographics with new imaginative content that's relevant to the right audience.
Feedback: Social media allows for instant dialogue with customers in real-time and helps promote customer service. Again, unlike traditional methods, you're open to a two- way conversation and not just a one-way conversation.
A lil' bit of spying: It's more than likely that your major competitors will have a social media presence, this is a perfect way to monitor your competition and stay ahead of the game. You may notice something that your competition are doing well that may improve your own business or something that they've not done quite so well - something you can exploit. You can engage with your rivals audience through targeted ad campaigns to let them know that you're the better choice!
Gather leads: Connect with your audience on social media and then move the conversation on. Gather email addresses by offering newsletters, contests etc. You can use the email addresses to lead your potential new customers to your website
This is just a snippet of the benefits that social media can offer your business, sounds great, right?!
We start our 'let's get social' series with Facebook. According to PEW research, 79% of online adults use Facebook (US) - a huge number! It's a great platform to connect with new customers and help retain existing relationships.
What can I post on Facebook?
Build up brand loyalty by producing and sharing helpful and entertaining articles to help educate the user, the soft sell approach works best! If you're seen as being active and engaging with users, you'll increase your chances of getting custom over someone who has a limited/no presence. You can also drive users to your web-store and increase your chances of another customer. Post content that has a link back to your site, such as:
- Informative blog articles.
- How-to guides.
- New product launches (as seen below).
- Entertaining and visual content.
However, it's important to know that it's not all about attracting new custom, retaining current customers is equally, if not more, important. Interact with your users, get involved in discussions and show them that you value their custom! A simple reply to a comment goes a long way to achieving this, as seen below:
Encourage users to share their experience on Facebook page by comments, reviews and photos and interact with the posts! 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising, so this is important to consider. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your store:
- Offer an incentive for users to leave their feedback on Facebook, money off for example. (this is a freewebstore premium feature).
- Inform your customers that you're active on social media.
- Encourage previous customers to share their product pictures.
Paid Facebook adverts are becoming the norm with most successful businesses utilising this feature. Now I know you're thinking 'what's the point of spending money when I can post for free?'. The truth is, only 2% of organic posts reach their intended audience (Rob Peterson). So be prepared to splash a little cash to reap the full benefits. However, the costs are much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, such as print or adverts.
With information gained from Google analytics, Facebook analytics you can see who interacts with your content the most - then target Facebook users who fall under this demographic. Build up an audience that's relevant to your business and are likely to interact and engage with your posts.
You can create custom adverts via the 'Adverts Manager' tab. From there, it's possible to create a custom audience (so that you know the posts are hitting your intended audience), select your objectives and set the budget you want to stick to.
If you need help on setting up the perfect Facebook business page, have a read of this helpful blog article here.
A great opportunity
Social media is a great opportunity for businesses to interact online. I'm sure that the majority of you have a social media presence. However, of freewebstore 40,000+ active store's - only 5.6% (!) have utilized the FREE feature and connected their store to social media platforms. It's a big opportunity lost in terms of customer engagement. Head over to your freewebstore control panel > Marketing > Social Media and connect your store now and get social!