My Audience isn’t Online – Do I Still Need Social Media?
[By Alex Hoag]
My audience isn’t online. Do I still need social media? It’s the question with a long-tail, and the answer continues to be “yes.” Social media is here to stay and it’s in a business’s best interest to be present, active and have a strategy. Most companies that don’t have a social presence today cite that it’s because they don’t have the time to commit to a social strategy or they don’t fully understand social and feel they won’t be able to prove ROI. So how do we make companies feel more confident about having a social presence?
In a study published by Real Business Rescue in 2014, 89% of businesses were on Twitter and Facebook and 88% were active on LinkedIn. This means that if your business is not using social, most likely your competitors are. So you’re missing out on being a part of discussions that directly pertain to your brand, leaving your competitors with the upper hand.
One of the biggest challenges companies face today is that they confuse the many reasons people are active on social media with their niche business goals, and forget about the bigger picture. More than nine out of 10 B2B marketers say increased exposure is the number-one benefit to social media.
There are also SEO benefits to being on social and having people engage in conversations related to your brand. The more people who mention your brand on social media, the more popular and relevant you will be in search engines. In fact, Google+ even gives extra SEO visibility for being a part of its social network. 80% of companies cite that they get increased website traffic from their social channel posts and 71% feel social channels present opportunities to learn and share insights within their marketplace.
Additionally, social channels can serve as a way to humanize your brand. By sharing employee events, such as philanthropic initiatives or team building exercises, you can show your industry the type of company you are with pride, and this can directly impact why customers continue to do business with one company over another.
Most people consume news through social channels, forums, and the communities they are connected to online. When brands and people share content with their networks, it’s a way to show thought leadership and expertise. So even if you think your audience is not online, chances are they are in some form, even if it is for personal use. The good news is, companies without a social presence today could easily have one tomorrow.
So if you’re not on social already, start off simple by sharing your news, blogs, and interesting and relevant articles you find. And follow people who communicate about your industry online. With a little creativity, building an online network will become a valuable new channel for communication that will undoubtedly grow brand awareness for your company.