- Customers expect you to have a social presenceAlmost every business these days is posting, blogging and tweeting as often as they can, and sites like Facebook and Twitter have become the main point of contact between them and many of their customers. As the old saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it – and if you’re not on social media and your competitors are, you’ve just given them an automatic advantage in the eyes of a searching customer.
- You’re missing out on a wide audience…At the beginning of this year, there were more than a billion users on Facebook, 500 million on Twitter, 400 million on Google+, and 100 million on Instagram. Okay, so you’re not going to interact with every single one of the people – heck, you’re probably not even going to interact directly with 1% of them! – but if you don’t have an established profile on any of these popular social networks, you’re closing your company off from the attention of a much wider demographic...
- …and a niche oneWhilst it’s great that the Internet allows you to talk to people across the globe, it’s just as important to realise the value of your local audience. Most social media sites have handy functions which allow you search users by location, so you can take advantage of any nearby opportunities that you might have otherwise missed out on. For instance, if you’re a London based bakery and someone in London tweets ‘I really fancy a cupcake’, you’ll have lost a key sales opportunity to any other bakery that had the initiative to tweet them back.
- You’re wasting an opportunity to get free brand awareness
Brand awareness is a huge influence on sales – people appreciate familiar, trusted brands and will return to their products time and time again. A well-managed social media campaign can ensure that your brand stays in the public eye for all of the right reasons – and helps people who haven’t heard of you yet to discover your brand more easily – at no monetary cost at all. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to raise awareness of your brand to the wider market – for free!
- People won’t know how nice you areSocial media gives every business the chance to reduce their levels of formality and get a little more, as the name suggests, social. For instance, Twitter doesn’t have to just feature promotional or professional tweets – even a simple update about the weather could get a rapport going with someone, and once the conversation has concluded, you’re much more likely to stick out in their mind should they ever need the services of your company. We don’t know how you can argue with this point – what’s not to like about breaking away from the regulations of the office and showing a bit of personality?
- You can’t respond as quickly to customer service requestsIn today’s constantly moving, always-on society, customers and prospects expect to be able to ask questions quickly and easily, especially now that smartphones and tablets have made ‘communication on the move’ so ubiquitous. Social media is the perfect way to facilitate speedy customer service – invite people to ask questions via Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you reply promptly.
- You’ll miss opportunities for referralsEveryone knows that recommendations are one of the key ways that many companies get new business. If your customers are pleased with your service, they’ll almost certainly mention you to their friends with similar needs. With social media, this essential word of mouth method of recommendation is taken to the next level thanks to shares, retweets and the like. Simply retweeting your latest status update helps consumers to spread the word with no effort at all on their part. If people see a retweet from their friend from your competitor, and nothing at all from you, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who they’re more likely to do business with.
- No-one will know you’re an expertSocial media isn’t just a place for conversation – it’s also a platform for your company to highlight your levels of expertise. If you’ve spent valuable time putting together blogs, articles, e-books, or any other useful resources, social media is the perfect place to share them. It indicates to your followers that you’re a voice of authority in your area, and builds trust in your brand. A business with no presence on social platforms will often be overlooked in favour of a company who has made their expertise more widely available, even if their knowledge is nowhere near as sharp as yours.
- You won’t know what your customers really think of youSocial media makes it incredibly easy to find out what customers are really saying about your company – and not just the glowing recommendations. Simply running a search for your company on Twitter can bring up a whole host of comments about you and your business, even if they haven’t tagged your handle directly. There have been several incidences of negative online messages about brands which received no response and subsequently went viral. Similarly, there are countless brands who receive positive feedback and then create a bad impression by appearing to ignore it.
- Google won’t like youGoogle is paying an increasing amount of attention to ‘social signals’, i.e. links coming into your website from social media sites. If you don’t have any social media activity at all, you can forget about getting the top spot for your chosen keywords.
If you’re still not engaged with social media, but want to be after reading this article, don’t panic! Setting up an account on any of the sites is simple, straightforward and won’t cost you a penny. There are plenty of online resources to help you get started, and we’re here to help too – if you have any questions about social media for business, why not send us a tweet @writemysite?