Social media has changed the world; people from across the world can easily connect online and share ideas, stories, and more. This change also applies to businesses, however. Social media is a game changer for businesses, offering an easier way to reach customers and a larger audience online.
Most large businesses are active on social media, but these social networks are a great platform for businesses large and small. We’ll break down the 5 ways that social media has changed business forever.
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1. Improved Brand Visibility
Before the internet, businesses had to rely on newspapers, billboards, and word of mouth. Even after the internet, before social media, most businesses had websites, but websites didn’t get as much visibility as social media does.
Social media has drastically increased the visibility of businesses and brands. With 1.56 billion daily users on Facebook and similar stats for Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks, the potential audience for businesses is larger than ever. This is good news for companies large and small, as both can work to grow their following online and reach new followers and potential customers.
Brands can share more content and get more eyes on that content through social media. This means that not only will more people be able to see your content, but you can share more to further establish brand image and mission. Social media makes it easier to share more without bombarding consumers, and social networks make it easy to establish your brand’s aesthetic, values, and more.
2. Free Organic Marketing
Creating social media profiles is free – this provides businesses a chance to share their brand and market towards potential customers at no cost. Before, businesses could pay to advertise on the internet, but PPC and banner ads can be expensive and often come across too sales-y. With social media, businesses can share content without it feeling thrown in consumer’s faces and forcing sales.
Social media marketing allows for more sharing of branded content and more conversation between business and consumer. This type of content can pull in customers from every level of the sales funnel or can be unrelated to sales and simply share more about the brand, its values, mission, or backstory. Transparency is greatly improved through this type of organic marketing.
Running successful social media campaigns may not be totally free: many businesses hire social media consultants or teams and use paid software or tools to stay on top of scheduling, further organic growth, and more. Despite these costs, however, social media itself is free to use and allows for a much more cost-efficient way of marketing and sharing information about a business online.
Recommended Reading: 7 Ways How Social Media Marketing Helps Your Business Grow
3. Targeted Advertising and Remarketing
Social media has changed the ways in which marketers can target their ads and remarket towards customers throughout the sales funnel. While privacy is an ongoing issue on social media, businesses creating ads through platforms like Facebook have even more information about consumers to enhance targeting.
Sponsored ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram have focused on targeting options, so businesses can create a series of ads targeted at different kinds of customers. You can target ads to be shown to online users based on basic demographics like age and gender, location, interests, online behavior, and more. This kind of advanced targeting allows for businesses to create different ads for different potential customers based on interests or their stage in the sales funnel.
These advanced targeting tools also make remarketing easy. If you’ve ever clicked on items on a website and then saw an ad for those exact items, you’ve been retargeted. Cookies and other pieces of short website code, like the Facebook Pixel, allows marketers to see your activity and tailor ads to target your specific interests, or even show you items that you left in your cart without purchasing. This brings back interested customers who may have been unsure about converting before. Businesses can also use this information to offer promotion or sales to improve conversions.
4. More Direct Customer-Brand Engagement
Everything about social media brings businesses in closer contact with their customers. Not only can you share more content, different types of content, and target certain consumers to see your advertisements, but brands and consumers can even have direct and open communication via social media.
Customers can directly reach out to brands on social media if they have questions, concerns, or complaints. In the past, customers would have to call, email, or visit in person to talk to a representative of a company. Now, they can easily direct message or tag brands. The businesses with the best social media presences engage with their followers, and it’s good practice to answer when customers ask a question or complain to show that you value their business.
Direct engagement between customers and businesses online can be a double-edged sword. Often, customers publicly call out brands online in a negative light. This can result in bad press for your business. Not all engagement will be negative, however; many customers shout out favorite brands, helping them get more followers, and if a business handles a confrontation well then it will only improve brand image. Businesses can also use this direct engagement to ask consumers what they want to see in the future, what products they like or dislike, and other direct feedback.
5. Increased Competition
Social media has increased competition. People can now connect to businesses and brands around the world, and since e-commerce has grown, it doesn’t matter if the business isn’t local. While visibility has improved for businesses and brands online, there is also more competition to bring followers and attention to your business over your competitors.
Increased competition has leveled the playing field in many ways for smaller businesses. Before, advertising could be too expensive for small start-ups or local businesses, but with social media, they can improve their reach without breaking the bank. While larger companies likely have larger budgets to pour into their social media marketing, social media still offers a more level playing field for small businesses.
Social Media Continues to Evolve
Social media will continue to evolve and change the ways that businesses operate. The world of marketing has already drastically changed, as social media allows businesses to share more, varied content with a larger audience and with more engagement. Every business should strive to have an active, informative, and helpful presence on social media to find new customers, engage with existing customers, and promote your brand.