15 benefits of social media marketing

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There are many advantages to social media marketing, including brand recognition, audience engagement, and increased website traffic. Businesses failing to use social media marketing successfully are missing out on what could be a valuable part of their overall marketing strategy.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media websites and platforms to promote products and services and connect with audiences. Social media marketing (SMM) can help in building your company’s brand, driving website traffic, and increasing sales. According to Statista, increased exposure is the leading benefit of social media marketing, followed by increased traffic and more leads.

By getting more eyes on your brand, you can build a larger following and a loyal customer base. By the end of this article, you’ll have learned all the ways companies are benefiting from social media marketing and found inspiration for how your brand could better use it.

In this post, we’ll cover 15 benefits of SMM:

Improve your brand

Engage the audience

Promote customer service

Impact sales and conversion rates

Become a thought leader

Study the competition

Improve SERP presence

Boost website traffic

Attract top-of-funnel leads

Earn greater ROI

Retarget missed customers

Learn about your audience

Build partnerships

Keep up with industry trends

Acquire talent

1. Improve your brand

When done correctly, social media marketing can have a positive impact on your brand. It can help humanize your company while building trust, loyalty, authority, and recognition. By posting content that shows the people behind your brand as well as real users of your product, you can build brand credibility and trustworthiness.

People like to see authenticity. By living out your brand values and putting employee and customer needs first, your brand can stand out from the rest. Sprout Social found that company alignment with their own personal values was 74% more important to consumers in 2022 than the previous year. Aligning ideals with actions that support activism and philanthropy can greatly benefit your brand.

An excellent recent example of an organization practicing what it preaches is Patagonia. Founder Yvon Chouinard gave away the company with the aim of helping combat the climate crisis. Chouinard is dedicating profits to organizations and projects that benefit the environment. Patagonia has had a history of activism, and this action from the founder further showed the brand lives its values.

2. Engage the audience

Social media is not only a good way to grow brand awareness, but it also offers companies the chance to engage, respond to posts, share user-generated content, and follow up with dissatisfied customers. Unlike traditional media like radio, television, newspapers, and magazines, social media allows customers and businesses to interact.

Getting customer perspectives on your products and services is easier than ever, thanks to social media. You can share new content and get immediate feedback on your company’s offerings, as well as see what people are saying about your company on their own accounts.

Some companies respond to posts in a sweet, wholesome way. Others choose to troll competitor accounts and joke around. Social media gives brands and customers a chance to express themselves in the moment. Engaging with your followers on social media can show that your company cares about customer needs through personalized interactions.

147 minutes is the amount of time the average person spends on social media each day.

3. Promote customer service

Your company may already have chat, email, and phone lines dedicated to serving your customers, but social media is another great way to connect. Additionally, since the criticism you receive over social media is very public by nature, a well-timed and thoughtful reply shows your broader audience that you’re listening to feedback and responding. Providing a resolution to an upset customer not only increases the chance of that customer shopping with your company again — it also shows other consumers the type of service you offer, building trust and loyalty.

While the relevant department or individual may not be the person sharing the posts, it’s important that customers are able to request help over social media and be guided to the proper support location. Social media users expect brands to be available via social media to answer their questions, and about half of users expect brands to provide a response within three hours.

4. Impact sales and conversion rates

Successfully marketing your brand or a specific product on social media should have a positive impact on sales and conversion. Ultimately, of course, that’s the goal of spending on any type of marketing.

While many of the leads gained from social media are considered top-of-funnel, industry research has found that the average person spends 147 minutes — or nearly two and a half hours — on social media each day. This means your content will be seen widely and if effective, it can compel viewers to become customers.

5. Become a thought leader

Social media platforms offer your company a voice. Whether you’re posting insightful content on LinkedIn, taking a stand on Twitter, or sharing news through Facebook, social media allows your company to become a thought leader, building trust and loyalty among your customers.

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer reported that nearly half of respondents found the government and the media to be “divisive forces in society.” Recent cycles of disinformation have fueled this distrust, and people are starting to turn to brands for authenticity. There is a higher expectation for businesses to take stances on important issues and speak out.

Some of the top issues respondents want businesses to address are climate change (52%), economic inequality (49%), and workforce reskilling (46%). Social media is a great place to share your thoughts on current events and help your brand stand out as a leader in your respective industry.

6. Study the competition

You can gain insight into where you need to improve and what not to do by looking through your competitors’ social media posts. This can help you get a sense of how they position a product within the market or which trends they’re keying in on.

For example, say you own a coffee company and the holiday season is approaching. You’ve noticed your sales have been slower than usual. You can check social media and see that similar companies are serving coffee in festive cups for all of December. You can borrow from strategies you see on social media and add your own unique twist. Because so many social media metrics are easily seen — how many likes, shares, and views a post gets — you’ll be able to quickly get an idea of what’s working for competitors and what isn’t.

7. Improve search engine result page (SERP) presence

Google is constantly pulling information from social media platforms — such as Instagram images, Facebook pages, and tweets — into its search engine results. By successfully marketing your brand on social media, you increase your SERP presence as well. Keeping an eye on what’s new and trending can help you cater your social content to the needs of the public while adding your brand’s unique flair.

Think of the questions your audience may have and how specifically they would phrase their questions in a search engine. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow you to make edits after posting, so if more relevant questions and keywords arise, you can make changes as needed. Blog content is another great way to draw in audiences, and it can be posted easily on social media for your followers to find.

Paying attention to social media can show you what your customers are interested in and where your brand could improve to meet their needs.

8. Boost website traffic

Ideally, your social media post should send your readers somewhere, and that place will most likely be your website. Think about your sales funnel for social media. A lead views your content on a social platform, follows a link to your website to learn more, and — hopefully — decides to make a purchase from your site. Ecommerce conversion is a whole other topic, but social media marketing can at least get the audience to your site.

Social media content helps with increasing your company website’s traffic. By posting high-quality content from your website or blog to your social media platforms, you can easily attract readers each time you publish. Engaging in interactive chats on social media is a great way to get your brand’s name out there, reach new audiences, and demonstrate your skills while directing people to your website.

In order to secure loyal customers, you must go beyond self-promotion. All of your social media platforms should include your company website in your profile so people can easily access more information about your business.

9. Attract top-of-funnel leads

Social media can be an excellent way to get your brand or products in front of new audiences. While these audiences may not be ready to buy yet, hopefully they’ll enjoy your posts enough to check out more of your content. Social media has made it easier for potential customers to explore your brand in a simple, low-commitment way.

Social media is a powerful lead-generation tool for businesses, and a lot of platforms offer advertising formats to gather leads. A great example of a brand using social media to attract leads is when McCarthy and Stone published Facebook ads that helped people who wanted to learn more about their real estate projects do so in seconds. These ads produced 4.3 times more leads than the previous year, and they were half the cost of more traditional real estate campaigns.

10. Earn greater ROI

Both organic and paid social media marketing can produce high returns on investment. Organic social media marketing refers to content your company posts online without paying anything. Popular posts, especially those that go viral, can have a huge reach without a lot of spending. Organic social media content is a cost-effective way to promote your business as social media platforms are free.

Paid social media marketing is still a good option, though. Buying ad space on social platforms can reach a different audience than paid ads on search engines, and it can put your brand in front of new customers and still deliver great ROI.

However, many social media users will quickly scroll to another post if your content looks like spam or seems like an ad. While there’s nothing wrong with using social media to advertise, if you wish to go that route be sure to pay for it to look professional. When your post has a transactional call to action, such as “Purchase today” or “25% off,” it should clearly be an ad — and not an organic post.

11. Retarget missed customers

Suppose a customer is on your website and they’ve added a product to their cart, but for some reason they don’t buy. With social media marketing, you can retarget this customer to engage them again to complete their purchase — or at least keep your brand on their mind.

70% is the average online shopping cart abandonment rate.

$18 billion in sales revenue is lost annually from shopping carts left behind.

Industry research has found that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%, and $18 billion in sales revenue is lost annually from shopping carts left behind. With online shopping, you have a second chance to secure a customer through social media, since 3 out of 4 shoppers notice these retargeted ads and more than a quarter (26%) will click on them and return to your website.

On Facebook, the Meta Pixel is installed on your website, and it collects data about your shoppers, including items they’ve abandoned. This data is synced with a Facebook profile. Dynamic product ads show customers the exact items they left behind and give them a push to go back to your website to complete their purchase.

12. Learn about your audience

Reading what your customers say about your brand on social media can be a valuable way to get a feel for your products, promotions, popularity, and more. You can use the data on which posts perform well to help you get an idea of what your customers like — and vice versa. This is called social listening.

By keeping an eye on social media, you can have an ear on customer conversations. This way you stay in the loop on what’s trending and how to better adjust your brand to fit consumer needs. You can address pain points people are experiencing by analyzing problems they post about, as well as areas of interest.

For example, maybe your target audience is posting about how more brands should donate profits to meaningful causes. You can respond to this need by sharing information on what your organization is doing to give back and make a difference.

13. Build partnerships

Social media allows you to connect with other companies working in the same space or in similar spaces that align with your business goals. It also offers the opportunity to partner with influencers who can help promote your brand. Customer reviews are an important part of brand trust and engagement. When people share information about your product on social media, you gain credibility, build brand awareness, and even can increase sales.

There are endless possibilities for connection on social media. More than 1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups each month, and there are tens of millions of groups to choose from. This is an effective way to find business partners and find people to collaborate with your business. LinkedIn is a professional platform and serves as a great opportunity to meet potential business partners, employees, employers, or collaborators. With more than 467 million members, you have plenty of opportunities for collaboration.

Twitter is another way to reach the right people. The platform’s List function creates groups of people that may meet your social media goals, helping you engage with those prospective business partners. Instagram is one of the best platforms to reach content creators and collaborators. Influencer marketing is projected to become a nearly $16.4 billion space this year. Instagram creators can add brands to their preferred brands list to indicate the companies they would like to collaborate with.

14. Keep up with industry trends

Following other brands or influencers will show you what’s happening in your industry. Through social media, people can see real-time conversations between customers and businesses alike. Your target audience’s social media content can help you keep up with industry trends. For example, maybe #winterwear could help you find the content creators and influencers you need to promote your business.

Paying attention to social media can show you what your customers are interested in and where your brand could improve to meet their needs. Using customer data is one of the best ways you can channel your content to meet people’s needs. It is important to keep an eye on words, phrases, and hashtags associated with your industry, but seeing real numbers will give you a better idea of what your customers are invested in.

15. Acquire talent

Traditional talent acquisition methods are expensive and time-consuming, but social media offers a cost-effective and easy method of reaching the people your brand needs to succeed. The 2021 Future of Recruiting Study found that 86% of job seekers use social media as part of their job search. Social media platforms have tools in place to help companies find the right candidates and candidates find the right companies.

86% of job seekers use social media as part of their job search.

LinkedIn is built for professionals and has a lot of free tools for recruiters, although many of them require a premium account. It has a native video meeting feature that can help you set up interviews with candidates. According to a report from LinkedIn, an estimated 49% of people use social media to stay aware of job opportunities, and the platform is a proven way to meet like-minded or qualified professionals.

Other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok also offer features or pathways to post open jobs or job-seeking messages, helping recruiters and applicants find and connect with each other.

Improve your social media marketing today

Obviously there are many benefits to social media marketing, from brand recognition and audience engagement to customer service, competitor or industry analysis, and generating ROI. Consider which benefits sound most helpful to your brand, make a list of the top three, and prioritize the order of importance to get started right away.

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