A typical business involves the buying and selling of commodities. On a larger scale, it is an organizational entity (company) involved in the provision of goods and services to its consumers. Bus/taxi drivers offer services to their consumers. Shops/malls are businesses which offer goods to their consumers. Social media is the most exposed platform for business nowadays and provides a platform, on which goods and services are publicized, reviewed and requested e.g. business owners display products online and the buyer views the properties and contacts the owner. This already depicts the invaluable role social media plays in growing businesses today.
What is Social Media
Social media are internet based technologies that allow the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career (business), interests/products and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. Reports show that the worldwide number of social media users is approximately 1.96 billion and this number is expected to climb to an approximate 2.5 billion by 2018. In 2016, 78 % of Americans had a social media profile, representing a 5 % increase from 2015.
Examples of Social Media Platforms
How Does Social Media Grow Businesses?
Social media can grow businesses via accessories like social media marketing (SMM) that takes advantage of the networking to help an individual, organisations and companies augment considerably brand exposure and widen customer reach. The business goal here is actually to build appealing content that will bring users to share and publicise on their respective social networks and media outlets. The question of ‘How’ arises, like ‘how does social media grow your business and is discussed below.
As of August 2016, the world’s population was estimated to be about 7.4 billion people with a little over 3 billion being internet users. From these internet users about 2 billion users have active social media accounts. Successful businesses entail an indebt of the customer’s mind, knowing and meeting up their needs. The huge amount of data generated in real time by social media about customers is a main tool in growing the business as the supplier gains valuable customer insights. Therefore, Social media allows the supplier to gauge customer sentiment, find the conversations happening around their brand, run real-time reports and a resulting response to the existing market situation of that business.
It is worth mentioning customer loyalty to brands is mainly due to high awareness. This is to say that social media makes it easier for customers to find and connect with suppliers. A supplier connecting with their customers on social media is more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty. This increase in brand awareness (from social media interactions) eventually strengthens customer’s loyalty which directly grows the business.
Social media among other platforms gives the possibility to run targeted ads with real time results. These social ads are an inexpensive way to promote business and distribute content. They also offer targeting options (reaching out to an audience of choice). This is easily achieved since the ads can be segmented by aspects like location, gender, age group, occupation etc. Also, the fact that these social ads are inexpensive has an impact on growing the business since a growing business means getting more profit at a constant or reducing cost.
Social media enhances interaction and timely customer service, thus increasing sales and customer retention. In 2015, social media was rated by world class companies as the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities. A greater percentage of those companies that engaged their businesses on social media reported an increase in sales. Social media thus generate higher converting leads in businesses.
Integrating your business with social media provides a very rich customer experience. Most customers expect their suppliers to be on social media About 70 % of customers now go to various social media to obtain customer services. Customers expect prompt responses and fast support, companies (businesses) that deliver this win a lot. A study by Aberdeen group has also shown that companies that engage in social media customer service end up with a much bigger annual profit against companies without social media customer service.
Social media in business increases website traffic by directing users to the business website and this in tend heightens the businesses SEO. For example; if everyone who follows your business on LinkedIn shares it or retweets the business posts on twitter, your business is more likely to rank higher in Google’s search engine results page for that kind of business.
In as much as a successful business venture targets customer satisfaction and profit making while reducing cost, competition is key in a diversified business. Social media monitoring gives key information about competitors, this kind of Intel enhance strategic business decisions to stay ahead of competitors.
Furthermore, social media is a useful tool in growing business as it speeds up and eases the sharing of business contents, geo-target contents and most importantly, builds relationships.
Advanced Targeting Options
These advanced targeting options escalate ones advert significance to users and provide a level of interaction that is not achievable on the different advertising outlets.
Interest targeting: utilises users’ interests, activities, skills, etc. This option can be general or as specific and is accessible on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (under “Skill”).
Behavioural/Connection targeting: reaches users based on their behavioural traits and or ones connection information including ones usage info, page, app, group, or event. This can be seen on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Custom targeting: reaches audiences by uploading a list of email addresses, phone numbers, users IDs, or usernames. Option offered by both Facebook (calls it Custom Audiences) and Twitter (calls it Tailored Audiences).
Lookalike targeting: extent customer list to new possibilities i.e. users similar to previous customers. This option is an awesome tool of attracting new customers. e.g. as on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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