Karoline Clarke steps in this week to provide some helpful thoughts and ideas on utilizing Social Media:
The Manifest’s new survey showed that 73 percent of small businesses currently invest in social media. and almost all of them plan to increase their budget for social media promotion in the coming year. While many small businesses have recognized the value of a social media marketing strategy, not all medium-sized businesses have not connected the dots when it comes to including social media in their overall business strategy. Social media can unlock new avenues for business growth, promote brand-building, and provide valuable market research upon which businesses can create future winning business strategies and identify competitive advantages. In other words, it can create a brand of value in the eyes of consumers and help a business answer the all-important questions of who, where, how and when to win.
Social Media As A Customer Engagement Strategy
Modern-day marketing and customer service centers around an omni-channel strategy which means being accessible on all platforms. Social media platforms have a higher and most cost-effective engagement rate than traditional marketing and customer communications channel. Amongst them, video and photo-sharing platform Instagram has the highest engagement with 2-7 percent of users interacting with each post. Social media also has a 100 percent higher lead to close ratio compared to traditional outbound marketing methods and 62 percent of millennials say they are more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages with them on social media.
One way to begin is the creation of a twitter account for direct customer inquiries. Other social media channels can be used for press releases or interactive visual advertising campaigns such as encouraging customers to post images and reviews with your product and dedicated hashtag. This would be popular among businesses in the food industry where customers actively seek and share visually appealing images of dishes on social media. Having dedicated social media channels for separate customer engagement aims (feedback, inquiries and customer sharing) is an easy way smaller businesses can incorporate social media into their business strategy and one that can reap real results since 30 percent of the time spent online is dedicated to social media interaction, according to the Global Web Index.
Using Social Media To Humanize The Business Brand
Automation is rising rapidly in business processes but customers still want to see the humans behind brands. For smaller businesses, this is not an issue but medium and larger businesses continue to be at risk of projecting a robotized image. As a result, many medium-sized businesses are including personalization and agent-assisted customer interactions as a part of their business strategy. Despite the rise in automation, agent-assisted options are still the best options in customer service and 40 percent of customers are highly satisfied with agent-assisted methods of communications.
A social media account and dedicated social media management staff allow for medium-sized businesses to add personal touches to their customer interactions. You can also add personality to your business brand such as posting more modern, style-forward content. Alternatively, using photo and video sharing platforms to give behind the scene glimpses at the product and team can help customers identify with your brand.
Building A Sustainability Strategy With The Help Of Social Media
In 2011, only 36 percent of business executives said their business had a strategic approach to sustainability, according to McKinsey’s Report. Fast forward to today, 60 percent of companies incorporate sustainability in their business strategy and 25 percent of them have sustainability incorporated in their business model. This is no surprise to brands either. Approximately 75 percent of customers consider it fairly important that a brand gives back to society and one-third of them will pay more for sustainable brands.
In addition to using social media channels to promote sustainability efforts on the part of your business, medium-sized business owners can also champion sustainable causes on their social media platform and provide links to volunteering or donation pages for its eco-conscious customers. Using social media polls and posts to identify eco-friendly causes important to your customers can also help businesses identify future sustainable strategies. In other words, it is sustainability market research.
A large part of formulating successful business strategies is the constant updating of them to keep them relevant and current to present market conditions and customer demands. Social media has become a key part of the competitive landscape and if used correctly, it can be a vital tool in deciding when, where and how you can win at your business’ aims and create a competitive advantage.
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