If you’re among the business owners or executives who got interested in social media marketing because of its potential to deliver new customers, you may be overlooking some important “hidden” benefits of social media marketing. Overlooking these benefits can be a problem, because it usually takes time to build your social media presence to the point that you can link it reliably to sales.
These “hidden” benefits, however, often kick in before your numbers show a direct sales return on your social media marketing investment – and they can be valuable enough to offset the costs involved in growing your social media presence over the long term. For instance, have you thought about the power of getting instant feedback from your social media community? You can find out almost instantly what challenges they face in using your products, what they like and don’t like about your products, your policies, and even your staff. An ongoing dialogue with real people, conducted in near real time, can be more valuable than any kind of paid market research – yet it’s one of the “hidden” benefits of an active social media presence.
Here are five other benefits that are easy to overlook:
- Website Traffic – A look at Google Analytics just a few weeks after starting a social media marketing campaign can be a real eye-opener for people who didn’t realize how quickly social media can become a leading source of website traffic. Every blog post, video, tweet, or Facebook post offers the audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once they’re on your site, the possibilities are endless.
- Repeat Exposure – 50 years ago, when white male ad executives like TV’s Mad Men ruled the marketing world, the rule of thumb was that it took 3-4 exposures to a product’s message before a customer would decide to buy. In today’s more cluttered world, where consumers are more skeptical to marketing messages, it takes 6 to 8 exposures to a product before a buying decision is likely. The higher the cost of the product, or the more complex the decision, the more repetitions it takes. Social media marketing can cut the time and cost of delivering the repeated exposures your product needs to gain a share of mind within your target audience. Cutting the time required for repeat exposures can cut the sales cycle.
- Authority – Being known as an authority in your field is vital for anyone in a service-based business. It’s also increasingly important to executives in other businesses, too. Social media is a powerful, cost-effective way to help you build your thought leadership and establish authority in your field. After all, the best way to become known as an authority is to be known as a “go to” resource who can answer questions, share high-quality content, and network within the industry – exactly the same “best practices” that are part of an effective social media marketing strategy.
- Mindshare – Sometimes, you may wonder if anyone pays attention to your social media posts. And then you’re at a conference, or you meet a new customer or you get a phone call out of the blue and someone says, “I’ve been following you on Twitter for ages!” That’s when you know that you gained mindshare with the lurkers – Internet users who read your posts, may click through to your website, but don’t volunteer to interact with you or your brand until they’re ready to make a buying decision. These are the prospective customers who do the work for you: they consume your content, become fans or followers, and contact you when they’re ready to buy. Talk about a short selling cycle!
- The Big Win – It doesn’t happen often, but “big wins” happen. Not long after Shama Kabani founded The Marketing Zen Group, an article featuring her as an outstanding young entrepreneur found its way onto Yahoo’s home page. The phones lit up, and the agency quadrupled in size within weeks as new clients hired us faster than we could staff up. A local business that had been active on LinkedIn got a call from someone who’d seen their comments in a LinkedIn Group, and was asked to big on a significant government contract. Another start-up in our area was contacted by a major news outlet after they tweeted something interesting, and wound up in a national article. Three “big wins” that weren’t planned as part of a social media campaign.
Article from Marketing Zen Group