More and more companies, both B2B and B2C, are integrating social media into their overall marketing mix because they have realized the incredible opportunities that exist across the social web. The ability for real-time customer service, lead generation, brand and reputation management, sales opportunities…the list goes on. Let’s go over a few reasons why your business should be using social media.
- The social media learning curve is low, and the technological investment is typically minimal. The time it takes to get used to social media, and its networks and nuances, can be very short, particularly for an employee or internal team keen on learning and mastering the ropes. And because the majority of social networks are free to use, there is no financial barrier keeping a business from Facebook, SlideShare, Twitter, YouTube, and so many others.
- Social media can benefit your company’s thought leadership and reputation. Social media is all about relationships; building, managing and strengthening strong bonds with your key audiences and stakeholders. Businesses that focus on relationships and audience engagement  — not the “hard sell” – and keep their communities updated with industry news, insights, best practices and other information, will forge a more trustworthy bond with their audiences and be seen as a thought leader in their area of expertise.
- Social media can be an inexpensive alternative to a focus group. Traditional focus groups take time and money, and often mean delayed insights into audience likes, dislikes and behaviours. But social media is real-time, and the ability to observe your communities, customers and competitors and listen to what they are saying as it happens is an incredibly powerful tool. Monitoring the social channels where your audiences are active can give you raw, unsolicited feedback to help improve your products, services, and reputation.
- You can boost search engine rank and increase traffic to your website. While you do not get direct SEO benefits by participating in social media, the indirect benefits are many. For example, a Google search for “Marketwire” results in page-one ranking for several of our social media accounts, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. What’s more, content that is posted and shared on your social media sites is a perfect opportunity to drive traffic to your blog, website, campaign landing pages, etc., and great way to encourage sharing and interaction with your key audiences.
- Managing your “social brand” is increasingly important. Taking advantage of social media monitoring  to listen to the conversations about you and your company is an opportunity that most businesses shouldn’t ignore because like it or not, people are most likely talking about your company and your brand. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t let negative reviews of your products and services that were published in a trade magazine go without a response. And you wouldn’t allow a company suggestion box go unattended. Ignoring the conversations in social media can be detrimental to your brand.
- You can generate leads (and sales) for your business. Participation in social media requires investments of time, strategy and patience, and generating leads through your social media efforts can be the ultimate payoff. But remember to be true to the spirit of social media and act honestly and transparently. Don’t use social networks as one-way marketing and advertising channels. Instead, talk to people and engage them and leads will begin to trickle into your sales funnel.
Social media will continue to become an essential part of the communications and business strategies of many companies, from Fortune 50 to boutique agencies, and from B2B to B2C. Social networking sites will come and go, but the idea behind social media will not. It’s changed the way companies do business and raised the expectations of consumers. There are dozens of reasons why your business should be using social media – many will be specific and relevant only to you. This list is merely a starting point; feel free to comment on additional reasons.
Download the Sysomos white paper, “Building a Business Case for Social Media. A Guidebook to the Benefits of Social Media and How to Sell it to the C-Suite ,” and learn why it’s critical for your business to start benefitting from social media.