“How do I monetize social media?” That was one of the questions submitted when we asked our Facebook fans about commonly-asked online marketing questions. Engagement and growing fan counts are all very nice, but if it doesn’t lead to a better bottom line, is it worth the effort? Perhaps you’ve wondered yourself – is there a way to make money from social media?
How Does Utilizing Social Media Lead to Increased Business Profits?
It doesn’t automatically, but you knew that. In fact, if your business is not ready for social media, your efforts could actually backfire. With an investment in time and a commitment to ongoing quality, however, you can expect to see any or all of these six profit-boosting benefits. Note that with one exception, these benefits don’t form a straight line to increased sales. But the path from awareness to new customer is rarely a straight line, anyway.
1. Social Media Increases Exposure and Builds Brands
It’s not rocket science. Being on several platforms and providing consistently good content will get your company and message out to more people as your fans share with their friends. These little reminders also help keep customers keep you in mind so that when a friend has a need, they might just recommend you for the job. Trust me, people are talking about you anyway. When you decide to participate, you can portray your people, services, products and company culture the way YOU want it to be seen.
2. Social Media Builds Trust
It is getting to the point where, if you are not on the appropriate social media platforms for your company, people wonder why. Are you trying to hide something? Or, do you not care how your customers prefer to interact with you?
Using social media allows you to be a little more personal than might feel appropriate on a blog. Some of my most popular social updates feature my adorable (naturally) office dogs. Every once in a while, a food or drink post makes its way to Facebook, and those usually go over really well, too. It just proves the veracity of the statement that “People want to do business with people!” Social is the perfect place to show your softer side.
3. Social Media is Useful for Lead Generation
When you create compelling content to share on social media, you’ll find you start getting more inquiries. In your status updates, occasionally link to content offer landing pages. This is not the same thing as linking to “buy now” or “order here” pages. Social media is not broadcasting and it’s not advertising. It’s helpful communication.
4. Social Media Builds Email Lists
When you share your amazing blog posts on your social media platforms, your fans and followers begin to appreciate your helpful information. At some point they may decide to subscribe to your blog – giving you more opportunities to communicate.
5. Social Media Can Provide Great, Less Costly Customer Service = Happy, Loyal Customers
We all know that it’s far less expensive to keep an existing customer than to cultivate a brand new one. Social media provides a way to give your customers another avenue for support – often for less money than funding a call center. A word of caution, however. Forty-two percent of social media users now expect a response to their social customer service inquiries within 60 minutes. Be prepared to meet or exceed their expectations and you could find customer satisfaction rates soaring. And nothing leads to social shares and positive reviews like exceptional customer service, whether via telephone or social!
6. Social Media Can Lead Directly to Sales – Sometimes
I’m not a huge online shopper. I do prefer to scour my local Marshall’s for a bargain I can take home right away. However, even I found something I just HAD to have while perusing Pinterest. I had no idea I needed it, or that it even existed until I saw it. Bought it right away, too. You can also install ecommerce apps on your Facebook page to encourage direct social sales. Just be aware that this is not the main purpose of social media.
Which of these benefits have you experienced? Which still seem to be out of reach? Please share below – especially if we left one of your favorites out of the list!
- Next Year, Social Media Will Be Gone (business2community.com)
- Social Media Not Giving You the Return on Investment You Expected? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Online Marketing – Eight Ways to Spend Less and Get More (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Social Media Success – Five Key Numbers to Watch [Infographic] (scalablesocialmedia.com)