As a society, we are hooked on social media. There are 3.499 billion active social media users and on average people have 7.6 different social media accounts. It is important to remember that our collective love of social media is not a bad thing; social media has many benefits.
A study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health found that social media enabled individuals to express themselves and build communities online that provide emotional support and combat loneliness. No one feels the benefits of social media more than businesses, who can effectively increase brand awareness and sales online via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Here are a few of the benefits of social media for businesses:
Stay up to date with trends
If used properly, social media enables businesses to keep up to date with the latest trends in their niche as they happen. A couple of minutes of research can help companies to determine which hashtags are performing well and what kind of content their target audience are interacting with.
Social media enables businesses to see what their competitors are doing to promote their brand. It is useful to find a number of social media accounts that make the most of their platforms by creating content that engages their followers. These accounts can be used as a blueprint for social media strategy.
Improve customer service
A well-monitored social media account can act as a brilliant customer service tool. A staggering 80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands. Customers are tired of waiting on busy phone lines or waiting 3-5 business days for a response to an email. They want quick responses and easy communication with brands. Caring for customers using social media is viewed as more meaningful and human. Issues can be resolved quickly.
What this also means is that unless a customer privately messages a businesses’ social media account, all communication is public. As a result, current customers, potential customers and competitors can see how other businesses interact with their customers. Positive interactions can only have a positive effect on how your business is viewed by others. It may even encourage new customers.
Tell stories about your brand
One of social media’s unique selling points is that it makes brands appear more relatable and more human to consumers. Post-by-post, brands can create a story about how their business came about, how it benefits individuals, and what the company’s plans for the future are.
To fully reap the benefits of social media, some businesses post photos of their staff to show their followers the people behind the brand. Another great way to create a brand story on social media is to create a brand specific hashtag that followers can use when they share posts about your company. For example, Topshop encourage their users to hashtag their posts with #TopshopStyle. The brand then shares their favourite user-generated content. Not only is Topshop creating it’s brand’s story through social media, but they are encouraging their customers to be a part of that story.
Social media is a free way to interact with customers and tell brand stories. Organisations that cultivate an engaging social media presence cannot deny that social media is a positive force for brands. Businesses should avoid creating social media accounts unless they have set goals in mind. Social media can tick many boxes for a variety of businesses.