Social media has given businesses a free marketing tool to add another dimension and channel for promoting brand awareness. Initially used as just a personal way to connect with friends and family, social media has now catapulted businesses in amongst it all, popping up on timelines and newsfeeds of targeted audiences who are often oblivious as to why they are there.

Why Use Social Media Channels for Business?

Digital marketers and businesses are now using virtually every single content distribution channel available to market their brand, products or service. Social media accounts are free to set up, giving companies a digital platform for marketing at no charge, which is already intertwined amongst a worldwide network of people. Social media channels such as; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn are some of the most successful mediums in raising brand awareness, because not only are businesses putting their brand in front of followers but they are also targeting potential consumers by using paid campaigns. To give you an idea, there are around 665 million users on Facebook who log onto their account every day, and over 500 million accounts on Twitter. Social media marketers say that lacking a social presence on these free platforms would be a strategic disaster for businesses who want more exposure to reach their market.

Some social media platforms may be more relevant depending what field your business is in, for example fashion and beauty products will have more audience engagement on Instagram showing images, than a company that offers business services. However, the most important way to boost your audience is to attract interaction and sharing, creating a strong community of followers who believe in self-promoting your brand. These loyal followers also become a free platform for your business giving your social media presence a limitless and universal audience.

Engage Your Audience

Having social media presence invites your audience to become part of your community and encourages relationship building amongst the fan base. Posting regularly on your accounts allows engagement and interaction, but is more importantly a powerful way of exposing your brand to the masses. The social media platform Facebook even does some free surreptitious marketing for businesses, leaving a timeline trail on a person’s newsfeed when a friend has liked a page post. Posts that encourage a fun and lively interaction from followers will always get the best results in response, especially if the audience could benefit from it, IE – sharing a post to win a free product.

However, this is not always relevant to some businesses, so looking at other ways and using some in depth creative thinking to increase audience engagement, is a key element to social media management. Because social media is used on such a personal level by a third of the world already, exercising emotionally-based posts can often be successful. This works well for charities and similar organisations, but it’s important to be aware that fans and communities can react negatively, becoming a powerful force against your business. Therefore, it is crucial to have the correct balance and never to risk putting your brand in a bad light or in the unpredictable hands of the public. Social media management needs to be thoughtfully and skilfully done, and should only ever be performed to promote positive brand awareness and to encourage subscriptions or consumer sales.

Increasing Reputation and Brand Awareness

Social media is the perfect way to build a somewhat natural awareness of your brand. It allows you to focus on your brand image and portray it in the best way possible to your target audience. It can assist in building a strong and efficient online presence to showcase your business and will increase your company’s reputation to be a trusted and successful brand. Social media by an experienced expert not only helps you to increase brand awareness, but can focus on building relationships and driving consumers to your website for conversions in sales. Regular posting and tweeting is imperative, to remind your audience that you are a company of authority, caring about how your brand is perceived by the worldwide network of users. Ensuring that you have accounts on all the major social media networks also enhances your digital exposure and creates more links for search engines to identify and list.

Studies show that posting on social media networks at least 3 to 4 times per week will significantly improve your online digital presence, although posting daily requires more time and effort, it is certainly worthwhile to help brand exposure. Unlike website content, social media gives the impression that you are posting instant news, so your community feel like they are hearing from you in real time, almost like a *newsflash*. You can post or tweet about new products, news in the industry or share images and links to boost sales on your website. The beauty of social media is that your loyal community will share beyond your page, giving you an even wider natural audience which in theory is organically grown. It can also highlight how efficient your business is at customer service, converting a negative customer experience or complaint, into a positive one. The key to retention is customer satisfaction, so correcting any misunderstandings and providing good customer service, will award you with a loyal community base.

Search Engines Love Social Media

The more social media channels your business can showcase through, the better. Google and other search engines love social media, because it provides a platform to link to websites, and gives search engines more listings for search results. Businesses can even combine search engine optimisation (SEO) in social media by optimising keywords in the descriptions and the titles of their accounts. Businesses also have social media accounts integrated into their websites, often showing the most recent post and including a one-click direct link icon to the social media page. Social media posts, tweets and images are also including links for relevant website URL’s to recent blogs, new products or news, so there’s a constant strong ping-pong effect of data building between social media and the brand’s online presence.

Social media is reportedly one of the cleverest ways of accessing targeted markets, reaching out to a worldwide audience which would never have been possible a few decades ago. It opens access to much wider markets and encourages potential consumers to become part of an audience that they may not have been aware of before. Social media marketing tools not only provide businesses with a free platform to market through, but also gives you audience insights from a digital perspective. It informs you of post engagement and click-throughs to your website, and it can also give you an alternative to search engine PPC (pay-per-click) with their own channel marketing campaigns. The marketing campaigns enable you to focus your adverts on specific audiences, targeting a market that you know already exists for your products or services, therefore giving you a probable outcome of converting leads to successful sales.

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