As a business owner today, it is important to recognize and identify trends. Equally important is the ability to filter long-lasting trends verses a flash in the pan.
Many business owners have recognized the social media movement and are taking notice. However, reports suggest that upwards of 85% of brands currently using social media tools like Facebook are not doing it correctly.
The social media movement is a natural extension of human interaction. Humans are designed to need peer-to-peer contact and thrive on the pleasure created when this type of interaction is fulfilled.
With this in mind, brands are still hesitant to embrace a culture involving social media. Here are some facts to consider:
Customers Expect Businesses To Be Active In Social Media
With over 2 billion people online, over 85% of customers expect their favorite brands to be represented on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Further, brand owners know that word-of-mouth marketing is key. Not only is it free, but word-of-mouth is the most influential advertising available. Social media extends the word-of-mouth platform exponentially – allowing for more people to hear the message of the brand from already-trusted sources.
Brands Are Not Passionate About Their Message
Business is built on relationship. Period. The more customers feel they know about a brand, the more the brand will succeed. A business’ online presence must show the passion, voice, and culture to extend the relationship between brand and consumer; brands must uninhibitedly show love for the business, industry, and customers.
Understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media
What is the ROI of meetings, chatting with customers in-store, or answering the phone? Social media is another way to communicate and develop a two-way street of conversation. Can brands afford not to communicate with customers? Moreover, when customers want to reach a company or become a brand advocates, make it as easy as possible. Loyal fans want to spread the message of their favorite brands.
Businesses Miss the Blogging Boat
Businesses that blog regularly see 55% more visitors and 67% more leads than businesses that don’t blog. Developing blog content does not need to be daunting. Often, just sharing top of mind information about a product, industry, or trend is beneficial to customers looking for an expert. By sharing this type of content, business owners establish themselves as an authority within the industry.
Social Media Users Are Loyal
In tough economic times, businesses must look for cost-effective methods of acquiring new customers AND maintaining relationships with past customers. Studies have shown that 68% of email and Twitter subscribers are likely to buy from a company that they follow on social media. Facebook Fans are 51% more likely to buy. Using social media to encourage a purchase is an inexpensive marketing approach to customers already at near the bottom of the sales funnel.
Brands Are Ignorant About Negative Feedback
A common concern about social media use is negative feedback. Understandably, no brand wants an unhappy customer to share their story to the masses. However, less than 10% of reviews left on Yelp are 1-Star – the lowest possible grade. Even more surprising, is companies are not taking proactive steps to answer customers – regardless of the type of feedback. Nearly 30% of customer questions and compliments go unanswered on social media. Would it be reasonable to let the phone go unanswered 30% of the time? Remember, behind every comment is a real person.
Brands Need a Plan
Don’t Tweet or post on social media just because everyone else is. Brands need a sustainable and smart plan to tackle online marketing. Set a goal and measure successes and failures to see the best return on investment.
In short, you can hate social media, but you cannot ignore it. When asked, “why should a brand use social media?” The answer is simple: because your customers are.
Shaun Nestor is an Inbound Marketing consultant. He helps brands use social media and the Internet to effectively reach their audience and capture qualified sales leads. He can be reached at www.NeverMindMarketing.com or on Twitter: @ShaunNestor