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Benefits of social media | For business, agenc...
Generating sales
To be entertaining!

Gaining Trust
In 2013 we undertook our own research, the 60 Second Social Media Stud...
If you see 100 adverts f or a new car insurance website on TV that you had not heard of
bef ore, you are more likely to tr...
Failing this, simply f ollow as many relevant people as you can. If they f eel your prof ile is
relevant to them, they wil...
However, one online expert described the company’s attempt to ease public anger over
the new tarif f s as one of the bigge...
The President of BuzzFeed, Jon Steinberg,
said last year that online publishers should
move away f rom an SEO-approach to ...
Heineken is one huge brand that uses competitions well, this time on Instagram. The
beer f irm took things to a whole new ...
Having a selection of accounts, f rom Facebook to Twitter, and YouTube to Instagram
helps reach the largest audience possi...
Why? Because so many brands are yet to f igure out how to be human online, and when
they try it can of ten be painf ul to ...
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The benefits of social media for businesses, brands and agencies

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The major benefits of using social media for business are often obscured amid ROI statistics. Using research data and industry experience, I explain how businesses and brands should should social media, and the (often hidden) benefits of it for their business.

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The benefits of social media for businesses, brands and agencies

  1. 1. f abric.co .uk http://www.fabric.co .uk/blo g/benefits-o f-so cial-media/ Benefits of social media | For business, agencies and brands The benef its of social media f or brands and businesses can sometimes be lost under a torrent of generic blog posts, clouded business aims and a general lack of understanding on some of the more obscure benef its of social media. Some of the major benef its of running a consistent and strategized social networking campaign can be hidden, but are no less important that the main KPI’s set by most businesses – sales revenue, return on investment, number of f ollowers… See Also: When to post on Social Media, and who to target From brand awareness to driving sales, the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al can all and should play a major part of your digital marketing strategy. So here are some of the key benef its of social media f or business: Gaining trust Creating brand awareness Controlled PR outlet Search engine optimisation Increasing web traf f ic Competitions and f an engagement
  2. 2. Generating sales To be entertaining! Gaining Trust In 2013 we undertook our own research, the 60 Second Social Media Study, to f ind out what ef f ect social media has on consumers online purchasing habits. We asked our participants whether or not they would check out a brands social media presence bef ore making a purchase, particularly if they had not heard of or purchased f rom that website bef ore. Nearly 50% of respondents said they were “likely” or “more than likely” to inspect a brands social media presence, with just 11% saying they wouldn’t be interested in doing so. They gave the f ollowing reasons as to why they would check out that websites social media presence: Nearly half of all respondents who said they would look to inspect a companies social media presence said they would check to see how popular a brand is, with nearly 20% saying the more f ollowers that brand has on social media, the more trustworthy it must be. The results show a strong link between having a strong and successf ul social media presence and the amount of trust consumers have towards your product and brand.
  3. 3. If you see 100 adverts f or a new car insurance website on TV that you had not heard of bef ore, you are more likely to trust that website, and this is the online equivalent. If you see, in passing through your social network streams, a brand name mentioned over and over again, you are more likely to trust its products and services. This is one of the great benef its of social media. And although the number of f ollowers on Twitter or Facebook doesn’t appear to directly inf luence a buying decision, the more f requently you post, interact with customers and gain f ollowers, the more signals you will be sending to the consumer that you are a reputable, large and trustworthy company. Creating brand awareness One of the key aims of many who use social media f or business purposes is to create brand awareness. Everyone f rom River Island to individuals with personal Etsy accounts use Facebook, Pinterest and in particular Twitter to promote their websites, blogs and products. Why? Because social media is a f ree tool, and you can gain thousands of f ans and engage with millions of would be customers. Twitter in particular has grown as one of the most important social media tools f or businesses. Going back to our own social media study, 82% of respondents said social media was important f or their business, with 76% saying the main objective of social marketing was to promote their brand. And their main tool of choice? Over 46% said Twitter was the most important social network f or their business. Using your business Twitter account and other social networks as a PR outlet (more on this later) will help with brand awareness, but using Twitter in the right way can help to increase your companies notoriety on the micro-blogging site as well. With 70% of US retailers saying they manage to generate sales directly f rom their Twitter accounts, the more awareness the better, and techniques such as monitoring trending topics is a great way to reach as many people as possible. For example, if you are a f ood company and you notice that #Valentines is trending, a tweet saying “try our f ood f or the best romantic #Valentines Day ever!” will ensure your message is, potentially, read by thousands of people, even if you only have 10 f ollowers. Lists topics such as, sticking with our f ood company, “the best f ood bloggers” or “our f avourite suppliers” can generate quite a bit of interest too.
  4. 4. Failing this, simply f ollow as many relevant people as you can. If they f eel your prof ile is relevant to them, they will also f ollow you back. Twitter generally has a great nature of f ollowing people back, especially on Follow Fridays, the weekly event where users alert their f riends to prof iles they should be f ollowing. A good Twitter account will also show up in search engine results when your company name is Google’d or Yahoo’d, and the more f ollowers and interactions you have on your account the better. New customers will trust a company with a huge social f ollowing over a company with no social outlets at all. Controlled PR outlet When businesses come under social pressure, have an issue or need to communicate with their customers quickly, social media is quite of ten the f irst port of call f or an impromptu message or link to a press release. In 2013 when the major energy f irms conf irmed they were to raise their prices, British Gas announced their Customer Services Manager Bert Pijls would talk to their customers on Twitter. Although the response was a vehement and f renzied hatred storm of 16,000+ tweets f rom customers and other Twitter users, Pijls was (in some sort of ) control, and directed thousands of Twitter users to a press release on the website explaining the reasons behind the price hike. The benef it of social media f or the spectator on this occasion was that we got to enjoy some entertaining tweets on how some Twitter users planned to save on their energy bills, such as “Dear British Gas, is it cheaper f or one to burn £20 notes instead of putting on the heating this winter?”
  5. 5. However, one online expert described the company’s attempt to ease public anger over the new tarif f s as one of the biggest PR own goals he had ever seen. This was a rather extreme example, but even on a lower, more simplistic level, social media is a great tool to convey the brand image and messages you want. Even if the rest of the world is slating your brand, or your customer service, or your prices, on your own social media networks at least, you are still the best business in the world. Search engine optimisation (SEO) There are two things that go intertwined here – SEO and content marketing. Traditionally, links on social media directed to your website shouldn’t ef f ect search rankings, but the Google landscape has changed drastically over 2013 and social signals are becoming more of a f actor. In f act, according to a number of senior digital marketers, social signals are now Google’s search ranking f actor of choice. You post a link to a product page or blog post on Twitter, and your f ollowers engage with it and retweet it, thus creating more links. As social media links are a lot harder to manipulate, Google now sees these as the link juice of choice when determining rankings f or websites. But this is good news f or businesses. Although traditional SEO in terms of on-site optimisation are still ef f ective, sharing your content on social media gets you what you wanted in the f irst place – more website traf f ic, and more potential customers. Only now Google is starting to say “Well done on creating that popular post on Facebook. Lets reward you with a better search ranking to go with all those extra clicks and views you got”. Google Plus is probably the most intriguing case here. The search-engine giant has been pushing its relatively new social network as hard as it can in a bid to rival Facebook et al. You now need a Google Plus page to comment on YouTube f or example. But links shared on Google’s network last longer in search results, and f or those who f ollow you on Google Plus, the chances of your content ranking highly in their Google searches increases dramatically. And this all links into the next topic… Increasing web traffic
  6. 6. The President of BuzzFeed, Jon Steinberg, said last year that online publishers should move away f rom an SEO-approach to content creation and f ocus on social sharing to increase traf f ic. Steinberg suggested that gaining the attention of young readers was vital, and that social media was the place to f ind them. “You have to write and produce news f or the social web: it has to be novel, important and have this social imperative behind it,” he told the MIPCOM conf erence in Cannes. “SEO f ocused content allowed people to write very boring news that was aggregated and unoriginal, and that doesn’t work well on social. The most important thing you can do is to think to yourself , ‘why would somebody share this content?’” “And that’s high quality content.” So whilst social shares will also help your SEO ef f orts, it can drastically increase the number of visitors to your website. Let us use BuzzFeed as an example. The website publishes articles that of ten have very little text that can be optmised f or search, and are extremely dependant on images, embedded tweets and moving GIFs. But despite this, in August last year alone the website drew 85 million unique visitors – 70% of which were derived f rom social links. However this strategy can’t work f or all businesses. If you sell paper clips, it would be dif f icult to write engaging content and top ten lists about paper clips that would be shared on social media thousands of times. Traditional SEO does have a place still! Competitions and fan engagement Customers love social media because they can interact with brands, and brands love social media because they can entice their customers into thinking about, talking about and discussing them. Competitions are a great way in which businesses can increase f an engagement and promote awareness, whether you are a start-up looking to reach 100 f ollowers or a conglomerate of powerf ul retailers looking to promote a new product.
  7. 7. Heineken is one huge brand that uses competitions well, this time on Instagram. The beer f irm took things to a whole new creative level with their scavenger hunter competition, in which the user must f ind clues in a mosaic of images to win tickets to the US Open f inal. Competitions are always a great way to promote your brands awareness and popularity without straight-ball advertising, and your online f ollowing can expand massively depending on the quality of the prize. But asking the entrant to do more than simply like and share something creates a greater brand engagement, and promotes more interest. Whilst competitions play a large part of f an engagement, companies can of f er a lot more in the way of interacting with their f ans. It has long been said by industry experts that every brand on social media need a personality behind the brand logo whilst posting online, and f an engagement is a perf ect example of giving your page personality. Red Bull are a great advocate f or this, and as well as promoting its own high-octane images in promotion of its energy drinks, the account will of ten like its f ans images which represent people “getting their wings”, such as high adrenaline sports. (Click to enlarge) It can of ten be dif f icult f or business leaders to see the benef it of putting time and money into social media such as Instagram. Yet whilst 70% of businesses say they f ind customers through social media, a lot of it is to do with a brands popularity and awareness. Fans of certain brands will remain loyal if they provide quality content to their social streams, and in return are more likely to click onto the latest product releases, and pay attention when you must become more sales oriented.
  8. 8. Having a selection of accounts, f rom Facebook to Twitter, and YouTube to Instagram helps reach the largest audience possible, and increase brand awareness even f urther. You can create a mosaic of business driven outlets, to which you control the content, tone and message, and reach a much larger and more engaged audience than simple advertising alone. Generating sales I lef t sales generation towards the end f or a good reason. For brands that are solely looking to promote and sell their own products on social media, they are more than likely to f ind it a struggle to engage and attract interest. However, with a large and engaged social f ollowing, one of the great benef its of social media networking is that your f ollowers will click on your links, and buy your products. Unf ortunately f or a lot of business managers new to social media marketing, the world of black and white KPI’s means creating awareness, brand recognition and trust online are secondary to sales. A nice side-product perhaps, but without an ROI they f ail to see the point in the time and money invested in a sustained social media presence. But with 70% of retailers f inding custom and generating sales via Twitter, the general equation is this – the more work you put into your social media, the more f ans, awareness, engagement and sales you will get out of it. The benef its of social media f or your business directly correlates to the amount of time you put in. The general rule on Twitter is to tweet in thirds – one 3rd linking to your products and pushing the hard sell, one 3rd about the company and what else it is up to, and the last 3rd about stuf f completely unrelated to your company and the industry. Tweeting to that f ormat will ensure that by the time you get round to tweeting links to your products in the hope of driving sales, your customers wont be so f ed up with your prof ile that they’ve unf ollowed you. If your brand is big enough it can be an idea to develop separate Twitter accounts f or dif f erent departments. Tesco, f or example, have numerous accounts f ocused on selling media products, then f ood, then wines and so on. But they also have an account, @Tesco, purely dedicated to interacting with customers and helping with their enquiries. By doing this your customers will know exactly what they are getting when they f ollow you. Be entertaining! As the President of BuzzFeed would suggest, be entertaining – that’s what social media is supposedly all about. You should blend in to stand out on social networks – tweet as if you are an actual human being, not a tweet generating robot, and the f ans will come.
  9. 9. Why? Because so many brands are yet to f igure out how to be human online, and when they try it can of ten be painf ul to read. See Also: 5 Manchester venues with great social media Be f unny, be adventurous, be brave, and be a bit controversial when the time is right! Maybe even have a rap battle with one of your major competitors on Twitter like O2 and Tesco Mobile did! Benefits of social media summary So, 2409 words later, I hope to have persuaded you towards an understanding of the benef its of social media, and showed it is an extremely important tool f or brands and businesses. It should make up a good chunk of any marketing strategy in the f uture. Do you work f or a brand, own a business, small or large, and need help f ine-tuning or even setting up a social media presence? Visit our Contact Us page and drop us a message! Oh, and f ollow us on Twitter @FabricAgency! Related Articles:

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