15 Social Media Marketing Benefits Your Business Might Not Be Thankful Enough For

17 Amazing Benefits of Social Media Marketing That are Easy to Forget

It’s hard to imagine a business, large or small, that doesn’t engage in social media marketing. After all, social media is where we all hang out, socialize, and relax when we are online. People also often turn to social media for product advice, which is one reason that there are so many social media marketing benefits for your digital marketing strategy.

The benefits of social media, however, go far beyond the sales leads obtained from display ads and influencer endorsements.

In fact, many companies don’t understand the full potential of social media for their business as a whole.

Let’s look at some of these benefits that you might have forgotten or never knew existed so that you can invest appropriately in your social media strategy.

1. Increased Brand Awareness

Among the more powerful social media marketing benefits is increased brand awareness. In a nutshell, this means that social media advertising and (on some networks) postings are highly effective. Brand awareness building is relatively easy to do by targeting certain groups with the purpose of getting their attention via compelling content and regular posting.

Once again, statistics show that this is effective.

Among Instagram users, 60% reported discovering new products on that network. While not all the products discovered are right for them, there are still a lot of new customers to be gained this way. Best of all, social media marketing often takes only a few hours per week. In return, 91% of marketers report that these techniques drastically increased their exposure.

2. Cost-Effective Advertising

2. Cost-Effective Advertising
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Prior to the use of social media platforms as advertising giants, digital marketing focused on search engine pay-per-click and display ads. Although these ads certainly reached a company’s target audience and proved useful, options were limited and costs could be quite high. Enter: social media platforms and social media marketing strategy. 

The cost effective nature of social media strategy is simple enough: companies had far more options to advertise, and were able to do so to a highly targeted demographic, rather than a blanket banner or ad that was delivered en masse. Having a target audience–and a means to reach them, means that social media marketing is both extremely cost-effective (showcasing as much as 34% higher performance than traditional digital advertising) and generally effective in delivering more to users and developing a searched-for and relied-upon social media presence. 

3. Unparalleled Targeted Advertising

One of the biggest social media marketing benefits, related to why social media advertising is so cost-effective, is the ability to target certain consumer groups and engage with them on a deeper level.

While traditional media allows this by selecting certain shows, magazines, or newspapers to publish your ad, electronic media goes further. For instance, you can pay for ads based on a consumer’s browsing history. Social media is the ultimate go-to in targeting capabilities, however, and your marketing channels should not sleep on the potential attached to each platform.

Choosing a social network

This is more complicated than just deciding which network meets your demographic the most accurately. Rather, social media network selection has a bearing on the type of content you need for the advertisement itself. Some do well with video, while others are photo focused. Finally, some of the social networks appeal heavily to certain demographics. Identify your target audience and the modalities associated with your niche before you determine which platform to focus on. 

Demographic targeting

No matter which network you choose, advertisers are allowed to choose who sees the ad.

This saves money on CPM fee rates. To that end, a brand selling certain hygiene products can specify that only people for whom the product is appropriate should see the ad. Alternatively, you can also allow for people whose profiles indicate they care for someone in that group to see it. This way, you get more relevant leads for your money and, ideally, increase engagement rates.

Interest targeting

The most basic form of interest targeting is advertising craft or hobby supplies in publications or websites dedicated to that activity. However, social media is much more flexible in this regard. Cookies and the contents of someone’s profile can identify appropriate targets.

4. Retargeting Opportunities

Retargeting is typically considered the most effective form of digital advertising, and social media ads in particular give you the ability to retarget web visitors and people who engage with your social media account via following, comments, or likes. 

Links published on social media also offer retargeting opportunities; by leading social media followers back to your website, your search engine, display, and social media ads can all come together to reach the largest volume of your overall audience and active users across multiple sites. 

While retargeting may not initially seem like an important part of using your social platform, it is an invaluable piece in any social media marketing campaign and can help drive greater exposure, more engagement, and a more robust presence online. 

5. Increased Inbound Web Traffic

Increased Inbound Web Traffic
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Another way that brands can reap some social media marketing benefits is through an increase in their inbound Web traffic.

Even on the most basic level, a lot of people will Google a brand that they are curious about. However, different social media channels provide different amounts of traffic based on their functionality. In some cases, a user might need to navigate directly to the website due to a lack of direct linking, and you won’t necessarily associate the inbound traffic with that network.

Further Reading: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media in 8 Different Ways

Not all networks are equally good at driving traffic.

To use this feature of social media, you’ll need to select your network carefully. Facebook and Instagram are considered “pay to play,” meaning that you will likely need to leverage influencers for organic feed traffic or pay for ads. Instagram also has limits on links, which emphasizes the importance of shoppable posts and coupon codes.

Pinterest, however, is very different. In fact, many Pins have links to the vendor built in. Better yet, it works more like a search engine than a social network. When people click through, you’ll be able to connect the traffic to Pinterest. Likewise, Twitter is a link-heavy network by definition. Users routinely click through links to get news and product information.

6. Connect and Engage With Your Audience

Social media is one of the best places to interact with your customers and audience. On your platforms, you can engage in organic conversations with new and prospective customers, and quickly and easily respond to questions or concerns put forth by your audience. 

In fact, many customers follow businesses and brands that they have an affinity with. This trend is especially obvious on Instagram, where 80% of users are following one or more businesses. You can message them and ask questions, or simply use a good social listening tool to gauge consumer sentiment.

7. Build and grow stronger relationships on social

YouTube video

Social media shouldn’t be about vague “engagement.” It can be a virtual arena to allow you to develop real relationships with your target audience and build a substantial online presence.

Take a page from the playbook of B2B and high-end B2C sales professionals: relationships help sell. As you are developing your content, make sure you are focusing on techniques that go beyond basic social media advertisements and instead encourage relationship development.

As the saying goes, people buy from people, not companies.

This is especially true with items like equipment and real estate, but the same goes to some extent with more standard consumer goods. Statistics bear this out. In fact, more than 51% of marketers surveyed indicated that time spent developing consumer relationships have boosted their sales.

8. Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Prior to the explosion of social media content, marketers were reliant entirely on expensive traditional media and public relation campaigns to successfully build thought leadership. With the advent of social media and social media metrics, however, becoming a thought leader is possible virtually for free. 

How?

Creating and publishing impactful and thought-provoking content is the best way to achieve the status of “thought leader” within your niche (and without!). With the advent of social media, getting this kind of content out of your desk and into the metaphorical hands of your audience is easier than ever. Done well and consistently, social media can do far more than just create a source of exposure for your company or brand; it can help build your online presence into a trusted, respected source of information.

9. Improved Search Engine Rankings

Search engine rankings are the lifeblood of marketing online, and any social media management platform worth its salt is going to place a heavy emphasis on SEO. By being active on social media and continually publishing value-based content, a company’s website SEO is naturally going to soar. 

When you post to social media, you are providing a window into your own operations, and grabbing the eye of your audience. That same audience, if intrigued, is going to refer back to your website or try to find more information about your brand. This can be done though a direct link on your social media platforms, or through a quick search engine search.

In both cases, your search engine rankings are going to improve, leading to reaching wider audiences and perhaps even uncover a host of target customers you did not know you were missing.  

10. Provide Realtime Customer Service at Scale

YouTube video

Realtime customer support is possible through social media, whether that comes in the form of answering a quick question in a comment, using a chatbot, or establishing a dedicated customer service practice. All of these provide useful ways to deliver customer service to loyal customers and new or prospective customers, alike, and can help you address some of your most important business objectives without ever leaving the site. 

The most common ways to use social media as a platform for customer service include direct messaging to answer questions and concerns, creating posts to address common questions and concerns, and even generally engaging with customers through comments and messages. Customer service goes far beyond addressing concerns about an order; customer service is about maintaining and encouraging connection and helping your audience feel seen and heard. 

11. Gain Market Insights

Paying attention to social media activity around your brand can help you understand how well your brand is appealing to consumers online. In fact, one of the biggest social media marketing benefits is the potential for easy research on your competition. To make sure that you are staying on top of your market, it is important to know what your competitors are doing, and how they may be engaging your audience. 

Further Reading: Social Media Insights: 25 Tips on Leveraging Them for Growth

Social share of voice

Finding out what brands are generating the most word-of-mouth consumer outreach can be critical to your success.

In this case, you are looking for organic discussions around your products and those of your competitors. For instance, if your beauty company has just launched a new makeup primer, then you can see how well marketing efforts are doing by looking for posts about it. Alternatively, you can identify a successful ad campaign by a competitor this way. By evaluating competitors and others in your industry, you can gain insights into your own media practices and how to more effectively leverage what you have learned. 

Discover hidden opportunities when comparing social performance in terms of content, frequency, and network

Are people looking for more information about your products and services? If so, then there might be an opportunity to develop content marketing campaigns that answer these questions.

Or, customers could be complaining that they don’t hear from you too often, or that you’re too aggressive. These posts offer the opportunity for adjustments. Finally, you might discover that your brand’s appeal is higher in demographics or markets you hadn’t thought of before, letting you nurture new leads. 

Never ignore that potential for learning more about yourself through the eyes of prospective, existing, or uncertain customers. 

Keep your eye on consumer conversations in your industry, as you can reap further benefits by doing so.

For instance, social media posts can generate discussions around how a product might be improved. Consumer trends from other pages reap similar insights. This is one of the biggest social media marketing benefits, as you can send the info straight to research and development.

At the end of the day, social media is one of the best sources of information about consumer demographics and buying trends. 

12. Build Brand Loyalty

Having a connection with your customers improves brand loyalty. Among the many social media marketing benefits is an unparalleled ability to build these connections. In turn, people are more likely to buy your products on a regular basis. Whether the purchase is though your website, a department store, or somewhere else, you will make money.

The numbers bear this out.

According to INC, Millennials aren’t just the biggest fans of social media. They’re also the generation with the most brand loyalty.

This isn’t a random coincidence.

Other studies have demonstrated that Millennials are 62% more likely to be loyal to brands which engage with them directly through social media channels. Thus, the linkage between social media engagement and brand loyalty is clear.

Further Reading: Definition of Customer Loyalty in Marketing

13. Increased Leads and Sales

Social media marketing benefits also include an increase in both leads and sales. One time this happens is when followers ask questions or seek out advice. When you respond to these messages, it shows that you value their business–and them. Even better, it helps potential customers know which of your products to buy. For some product lines, this is a very important issue.

Once again, studies have demonstrated the truth behind this principle.

Social Media Examiner reports that 66% of marketers got more leads when they used social media networks for 6 or more hours weekly.

Furthermore, social media marketing leads have double the close rate of those which are generated from outbound marketing. Together, these statistics show that leads generated on social media are both plentiful and high quality. Best of all, getting them doesn’t take a lot of staff time.

14. Improved Brand Visibility

Improved Brand Visibility
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Maintaining activity on the social media platforms your audience is most likely to use can help you achieve your business goals by improving your brand’s visibility. I maintain an active presence of Twitter and LinkedIn, for instance, to make sure that I remain top of mind. If your target audience is most frequently found on Facebook and Instagram, your social media marketing efforts are best spent in these spaces; it has been reported that as much as 55% of the market encounters new brands on social media. 

Improving your brand visibility is essential, because it ensures that you remain relevant in the eyes of social media users. Business owners can remain active on platforms in a variety of ways, each of them befitting their unique brand and niche. Someone with a lifestyle brand, for instance, may do better posting to stories daily or multiple times weekly. Someone working in tech may be better off focusing on Twitter or YouTube. Make platforms work for you, according to your existing metrics. 

Further Reading: How to Network Effectively for Your Personal Brand

15. Build Credibility

People like doing business with people they know, like, and trust; a Salesforce study reported that feel an emotional connection with their favorite brands more companies.

What does this mean?

You need to build credibility and trust to establish yourself within that “favorite” category. Building credibility is as important to your brand as visibility, to make sure that your social media campaigns are not being put out in a vacuum without trust. You can build credibility in several ways, including responding to questions and engaging in conversations, as well as regularly creating content that can be verified and demonstrate value. 

Starting conversations, entering conversations, posting user-generated content, and developing organic content with value for your niche are all great ways to build trust and make sure that others start talking about you and your brand. If your social media goals do not involve trust building, you are unlikely to see the customer loyalty you hope for. 

16. Learn More About Your Customers

Another one of the social media marketing benefits is the opportunity to learn more about your customers.

This is important for several purposes, such as planning future marketing campaigns. In other words, the more you know about customers the easier it is to create ads that will appeal to them. However, some of these insights can be gotten through surveys and focus groups. Social media has some unique opportunities, however.

Further Reading: Social Media Demographics: What Marketers Need to Know in 2024

Discover hidden brand advocates

Chances are that you don’t know about most of the people who advocate for your brand. This advocacy can be as simple as mentioning that they love those socks you make. However, with social media marketing you can find these people because they interact with your content.

Discover hidden influencers that are already customers

As I have said many times before, influencers who are customers are some of the best allies you can have. And keeping track of who follows your brand is one of the best influencer search methods out there. Best of all, this works on most networks.

17. Helps Build a Community

Building community may have once centered around a small portion of a community surrounding a brick and mortar store, but the landscape of community has changed significantly, and social media usage is an essential part of that new landscape. Building community without social media profiles is nearly impossible for social media marketers, as online platforms are the most significant way to build trust, establish a presence, and subsequently build a circle of influence. 

Customer engagement, brand insights, and back-and-forth relationships are essential components of community, and social media tools are the best way to develop those components. Social media marketing plans should include building community as part of encouraging audience engagement and establishing trust. If your audience feels as though they are a part of something larger, you can more effectively sway purchase decisions and make meaningful connections to establish loyalty.  

These days, more and more businesses are committing marketing resources to social media. But not everyone understands the social marketing benefits they are getting. Worse, some businesses are missing out. By knowing the benefits of these investments, you may be able to get even more bang for your buck.

Have you taken advantage of some of the benefits of social media advertising? Let me know! 

Hero photo by Tommaso Pecchioli on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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