Social media is by no means a magic bullet, but it is a necessity in business. The vast majority – 91% – of Canadians are on at least one social media platform. And we’re on them a LOT. Canadians spend 44 hours a month on average on one of these sites/apps, which is more than any other European or North American country. Canadians are very much online, and 2020 seems like a good year to make sure your business is too!
The problem is that social media doesn’t work the way many businesses want it to work. Most businesses expect to post offers and see new clients rolling in, but that’s not how social media works. Although it can help to increase online traffic to your website and it can be used to make direct sales, it is not (nor is it meant to be) a quick path to profit. What it is is an avenue to foster relationships with your existing clients and potential clients. It takes time and consistency; but those relationships, over time, benefit your bottom line.
So, instead of thinking of social media as a place to make more pitches, think of it as a place to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Legitimize your brand
- Drive traffic to website
- Increase sales
- Provide better customer service
Increasing Brand Awareness
Most businesses find that social media helps people find them. Which makes sense – if you want people to find you, you must be where they are looking. One of the places Canadians search is on social media. Especially if you give your existing clients a positive experience, you will have an easier time being discovered by their friends if it is easy for people to share your information.
Legitimize a Brand
Having a social media presence helps people feel confident in you as a business. A majority (63%) of consumers who search for local businesses online want to use ones who are on social media. It makes your business appear legitimate, and like it won’t disappear next week. Having an established and consistent presence creates a sense of stability and credibility.
Drive Traffic to Website
Social media drives about a third of all referral traffic to websites. And while that isn’t necessarily going to close any sales (you must have a good website for that. If you don’t…we should talk), the first step to any sale is having a potential customer raise their hand and say, “I’m interested”.
Even if you don’t turn every click into a sale, the act of increasing your website traffic benefits your business. It helps establish your website as a place worth visiting, which means you will be easier to find in Google.
Okay, okay – I know I said it wasn’t going to directly lead to sales. But those people that engage on social media with your business? Those are potential or existing customers. That’s why many businesses who have been consistently using social media in their business for two years or longer have reported improved sales. The twist is that those increased sales are mostly from existing customers! Consumers report that they spend 20% – 40% more money on brands that they have a relationship with on social media. It might not seem as exciting as getting new customers but increasing the revenue you get from existing clients is very good for profits. In fact, increasing your retention rates by just 5% will increase your profits by 24%-95%!
Provide Better Customer Service
We already talked about how important customer care is to your business in 2020 (see our first suggested resolution here). So how does social media help? It increases the number of consumers who use social media to request customer support, especially if you attract younger consumers. Whether you like it or not, this is where the customer service of the future is happening. And keeping customers happy must be one of your top priorities. After all, a happy customer is 14 times more likely to buy from you than a new customer. I like those odds!
So…are you going to get social?
If you are serious about your business, social media should be part of your marketing and operations plan. It takes consistency and an investment of time, but the pay off in loyalty is worth it. In 2020, we think that a strong social media presence is going to be even more important for your business. Are you ready?