The 10 Biggest Benefits of Using Social Media for Business

workers benefiting from engaging on social media

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is no easy task. Tackling the day-to-day responsibilities like budgets, marketing, inventory and product development is often more than a full-time job.

Even though the experts tell you to adapt to every new technology that’s available, some of you may wonder if developing a social media presence for your business is a frivolous pursuit that you simply don’t have time for.

The good news is that social media can actually make your job easier. The time spent on tweets, Instagram posts and other online interactions can positively affect multiple aspects of your business simultaneously.

Let’s take a look at 10 of the biggest benefits of using social media.

1. It Helps You Reach a Large Audience

Every business owner knows that you can’t make sales if people don’t know you exist. Many forms of advertising can introduce you to the world, but social media can help you reach audiences you never thought possible. Indeed, Instagram alone has 200 million users that visit at least one business profile every day.

Just having an account on social media apps isn’t enough, however. You need to put together a solid marketing campaign, just as you would for other outlets.

Use attention-grabbing media to clearly show your product and business. Whether you use first-person mobile phone videos to create a more intimate vibe or expertly edited photo shoots to illustrate professionalism, have a plan in place and a consistent message across all platforms.

2. You Can Target Your Specific Customer Base

One of the biggest benefits of social media is how easily you can reach the exact demographic who will be interested in your product or service. Just as choosing ad space on a certain cable channel or how a specific time of day can help you reach your target audience, it’s an important marketing strategy for small businesses to research and select the right social media platform. Pinterest, for example, will help you connect with a largely female audience, while Snapchat and TikTok get you in front of younger viewers.

While you can create brand and product awareness with your own posts, tweets, videos and interactions, several platforms also offer direct advertising opportunities. You can purchase whatever ad campaigns suit your budget, and your ads will pop up in the feeds of users within a desired set of parameters like age range or interests. This pinpoint targeting brings your business to the attention of the people most likely to purchase your product.

3. It Brings More People to Your Website

Whether your website is your business or serves as the online representation of your brick and mortar establishment, getting more traffic to the site is essential. The University of Oxford’s Our World in Data reports that, in 2019, 79% of US adults were on social media. For those targeting teen and young adult consumers, the numbers jump to over 90% in countries like Germany, the UK and Sweden.

The beauty of social media is how one post can have such far-reaching effects. Users sharing your content to their followers, who then share with their followers, can launch an infinite chain of potential readers and customers. Some of those readers may write about your business on their own sites, which creates those coveted backlinks that can boost your site’s ranking on search engines.

4. You’ll Get Ideas for Content, Products and More

One of the ways to come up with a new product idea is to capitalise on trends and new technologies. And social media is the perfect environment to follow the latest trends with people in your specific industry as well as the entire market. Be sure to follow influential people in your field to keep up with the news and latest innovations.

Connect with those in your customer base to find out what their current interests are. You can even poll them to find out what new content or products they’re interested in.

Meanwhile, social media users often go online to complain about desired items that they can’t find, like jeans in tall sizes or a wider variety of gluten-free foods, offering you immediate ideas to tap into an underserved market.

5. It Helps You Network

While attending industry and community events is still a great way to network, social media offers another opportunity to build important professional connections. Sites liked LinkedIn were designed not just for job searches but also to connect with people who may be beneficial to your business, like product distributors, industry experts, marketing gurus and talented salespeople.

All social media platforms provide opportunities to make business connections. Category and hashtag searches help you immediately find people in your niche. It gives you an easy way to interact with influencers who might promote your product or fellow small business owners who may be willing to cross-promote or collaborate on a joint project.

6. It Keeps You Fresh in Customers’ Minds

An important aspect of advertising is something called ‘top-of-mind awareness’. If you own a jewellery store, you want your business to be the first one that comes to mind when someone is considering purchasing jewellery. Think about your favourite places to buy a TV, or Chinese takeaway, or the site you visit for entertainment news. The first names you think of are those with stellar top-of-mind awareness.

Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD, recommends ‘a consistent delivery of messaging over time’ rather than a one-time advertising blitz. And what better way to deliver constant messaging than social media?

Be sure to offer useful information related to your product, rather than a constant stream of heavy-handed marketing. A jeweller, for example, can offer daily tips on selecting gifts or on cleaning and storing fine jewellery. Consumers are more likely to follow an account that’s interesting, interactive and helps them solve problems.

7. It Increases Sales

While brand awareness, targeting and getting more website traffic will hopefully lead to more sales, there’s an even more direct route. Several platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, offer users direct connections from the posts on your account to your online store.

In a world where convenience is king, offering potential customers a one-click method of purchasing something that interests them is a sure-fire way to increase sales.

8. You Can Monitor the Competition

Professional athletes often talk about how much they’ve learned from and been inspired by their fiercest rivals. The same is true for your business. Another of the valuable benefits of social media is allowing you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You can see how they advertise, engage with customers and what content they provide.

You’ll see what works and what doesn’t, helping you craft your own marketing strategies. Seeing the kinds of complaints they receive can also help you avoid similar mistakes. A competitor’s faulty product or gap in service can even provide an opportunity for you to offer a better alternative and lure their unhappy customers away.

9. It Helps Build Brand Loyalty

Making a one-time sale is good, but earning a long-term customer is even better for your business. In a world where faceless corporations inspire suspicion, having a social media presence helps you present a more interesting and authentic image to consumers. Regular posts and videos that display how your company operates and what it stands for, including things like charitable donations and equal opportunity employment, help build trust with your followers.

As Inc. reports, Millennials are the most brand-loyal generation, and 62% of them are more loyal to brands that interact with customers on social media. In other words, showing that you care about their ideas and concerns will help you inspire the loyalty that will keep you in business.

10. You Can Improve Your Customer Service

Anyone who’s been forced to listen to what feels like an eternity of bad instrumental music while on hold with customer service, or stuck staring at the blinking cursor in a chat window waiting for a response, understands how welcome a quick and convenient answer to problems can be. One of the unexpected benefits of social media is that it offers your business a simple way to provide that timely service.

A dedicated staff that can quickly respond to tweets, comments and direct messages on social media is essential to your business. A Harvard Business Review study even found that customers who received any kind of response to Twitter complaints were not only significantly more likely to choose that company in future, but they’d even pay more for their product, too.

As you can see, there are several benefits to using social media for business. The added investment of time can bring you a huge return in sales, brand loyalty and partnership opportunities.

Have you developed a successful social media presence for your business? Join the discussion below and let us know what strategies have worked for you!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article that was originally published on 10 March 2017.