What Social Media Benefits for Business Can You Expect?
Dismissing social media traffic value is like saying that planes suck because you can’t drive them.
It’s not just about the website traffic of course. Especially comparing social media to search traffic is a common mistake.
Social Media Benefits Beyond Traffic
Social media can help your business in manifold ways. Nowadays traffic is often not even one of them.
Studies have shown that sites like YouTube or Instagram do not send significant traffic back to publisher sites.
Of course social media benefits vary depending on
- the context (place and time)
- the specific social site
- the business you are in
There are several ways social media can positively impact a business. What kind of social media benefits for business can you expect?
How do you think people find you? Do they wake up one day and decide to search Google for your name or product? No, they first need to know about you.
People discover you on social media. Unless of course you can afford ads on TV, print media or billboards outdoors. Even international corporations pay influencers to show their products.
Most business people are victim to the last click attribution fallacy. They just see the last click is from Google and thus assume that their sales all come from search.
This is of course a simplistic view. The search on Google or another search engine is only the last click as the name suggests already. When you only look at the last click you miss the whole customer journey or sales funnel.
Where does the customer journey actually start? It’s usually on social media.
People see you mentioned on social media or blogs. They discover your product on social media!
Now you might argue that searchers usually just look for a generic term [best smartphone] and the decide which one to buy. This is not true anymore.
They usually made up their mind what the best smartphone is long before they start searching. Even for less popular products people will usually buy the product they recognize or where at least the brand name sounds familiar.
Ever wanted to get feedback before your client sues you or just switches to the competition? Who can you call? Social media!
You don’t have to set up your own feedback site. Use existing tools like Nolt, Twitter, Facebook and even blogs will suffice in most cases.
Of course you need to listen to that feedback and acknowledge it and often respond. Otherwise it’s a wasted opportunity or in the worst case a publicity nightmare.
With proper social media management best practices in place user feedback can literally grow your business. Even disgruntled customers are a boon because they are helping you fix faulty products or services.
Personally I often report bugs and other issues with products and services publicly. This way everybody knows that it’s a known issue. Most business people still ignore that or worse get defensive.
Word of mouth
Ever wanted to advertise for free without it even appearing like advertising? Social media word of mouth is your friend.
Best example: Apple. You don’t need to be a huge or cool brand though.
Just search for: “Will it blend?” Some call it word of mouth other refer to “going viral”. It helps both ways.
It’s also often “dark social” as people won’t always share openly but instead send instant messages to friends and family.
Especially niches like health and wealth are more about privacy so you might assume that nobody recommends you on social media. That’s not true.
Ever wanted to be a dog? Did you know that nobody knows on the Internet that you are (not) a dog? You can be a dog but you can be anything n the Web.
I decided one day to become the guru of a new cult, the cult of SEO 2.0. How did I get there? I used a blog and social media sites for news sharing.
A year later I got invited to search conferences as a speaker and top search marketing bloggers refer to me as an expert.
Search engines are great. They are great for bringing you targeted visitors that is people who want to get exactly what you offer.
Sometimes a niche is just too small (like SEO) or the product is just too new or exotic so then you don’t have enough people who search for what your offer.
Then you got to attract those who are interested in something broader or similar. In my case it’s Web design.
Only attracting the same small expert audience over and over does not allow my blog to grow. You need to cross-over to adjacent niches.
That’s why I broaden my focus from time to time to appeal to the people preoccupied with Web design, CSS and technology in general. You get new visitors who don’t know you yet on social media.
While traditional media is broadcasting, social media is narrowcasting being about a message aimed at specific groups of people or even individuals.
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter: social networking allows you to forge relationships without meeting people in real life.
Some of my online friends have followed my for 15 years by now across multiple social media as these come and god frequently. They share my content and often give me feedback.
Some of my best clients over the years were former social media friends either contacting my directly or recommending me to someone else.
What Else Can Social Media Offer to Businesses?
These benefits above are just a few of the most obvious advantages. What else can social media offer to businesses? Make sure to add your own experiences below.
Also share your negative experiences. They are also important lessons. We all make mistakes. It’s better we recognize them as such in order not to repeat them again.
Feel free to suggest additions to the article in the comment section. I will credit you as the source for useful ideas or stories.