75 Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Want to know the return on investment of social media marketing? After careful research, we have compiled the ultimate list of social media marketing benefits. Most of the content in this blog is supported with research and studies from credible sources. These sources include:
- Recent studies and experiments performed by universities and research centers
- Major media outlets, such as Forbes, Mashable, and Marketing Land
- Top marketing software companies, such as HubSpot and Marketo
- Real case studies and experience from our own social media marketing & management company
To help you navigate through all 75 benefits, you can use the hyperlinks below as your “table of contents”. You can learn more about the benefits of social media in various categories. In addition, we have included links in each social media benefit that links to supporting information. Now let’s begin!
1) Establish Trust
People purchase from brands they trust. You can establish trust through social media. In the University of London’s study of the impact of social media on consumers, Nick Hajli draws a direct correlation between trust, perceived usefulness, and intent to buy. When people trust your brand and perceive your product or services as useful, it indirectly influences their intent to buy.
2) Build Credibility
In light establishing trust, you also build credibility through social media marketing. With increasing amounts of consumer engagement and followers, you are more likely to influence potential buyers. In fact, recent consumer research indicates that 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands they follow.
3) Enhance Brand Image
When people connect with your brand on social media, you can enhance your brand image and tell your story. After appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank, Grace and Lace gained thousands of new fans and followers. Not only did they promote their products, but they enhanced their brand by sharing their story. By communicating the meaning of your brand and sharing your story, you can establish an emotional connection with buyers.
4) Increase Brand Recognition
Over 2.8 billion people have access to Internet and 74% of online adults use social media. It is a no-brainer that your brand can leverage social media to increase brand awareness and recognition. It is important to increase the awareness of your product or service. When consumers make purchasing decisions among different options, they are more likely to select a product that they are familiar with.
5) Build Brand Equity
Large amounts of followers and interactions increase your brand equity on social media. Brand equity is the value of your brand from the perception of consumers. In an Inc. study on the value of social media followers, they found a positive correlation between the amount of social media followers and business worth. Companies with over 10,000 connections are 4 times more likely to have a higher valuation than companies who do not. The value of building a strong social media community will improve your brand’s worth to investors, bloggers, media, and potential customers.
6) Grow a Long-Term Audience
While on the subject brand equity, it is important to note the long-term benefit of growing established connections. The followers and fans you attract are with you forever. As they grow, your brand will continue to influence more users, which will influence sales. An example of this would be Thirsty Roots, a blog that grew over 300,000 Facebook fans. Now almost every time they post a product it results in sales. Imagine the possibilities if your brand developed to be able to reach hundreds of thousands of people for free.
7) Develop Relationship Capital
Building strong and meaningful relationships is a major benefit of social media. You have access to engage and interact directly with your preferred customer to build a bond. In Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign, they engaged thousands of users through inspiring positive remarks. This national campaign won the hearts of thousands of people, which ultimately developed Dove’s relationship capital with their customer base.
8) Develop a Brand Voice
Your brand can develop a strong brand voice on social media with the end goal of developing authentic communication. The overall tone and feel of your brand can be amplified with an attractive social media design, valuable content, and a tone that is reflective of your brand. By developing your brand image and voice, you can create a better customer experience for current and prospective customers. Coca-Cola and Publix are great examples of this.
9) Humanize Your Brand
The ability to humanize your brand on social media will dramatically enhance your marketing efforts. Over 60% of people are visual learners and through our work in social media management, we have seen significantly higher conversion rates through humanization. Psychologically, people like to interact with people, not things. By humanizing your brand and showcasing real images of your customers or employees, you can leverage this benefit to generate more results.
10) Influence Purchase Decisions
Social media marketing does not drive sales by itself. Great products and services drive sales. However, sales and consumer purchasing decisions can be influenced by social media marketing. All of the benefits listed above (and below) in this blog ultimately plays a factor in influencing sales. Through great branding, established trust, and perceived usefulness, your brand will influence purchase decisions.
11) Reach People with a Real Interest in Your Brand
The ability to laser-target various groups of people on social media is a major benefit. For example, Facebook collects data on all of its users. This data includes their interests, behaviors, jobs, income, and more based on their activities on Facebook. In addition to this, Facebook also uses data from third-party companies that categorize its users based on the types of websites they visit, purchases, and more.
12) Increase Website Traffic
No website can survive without traffic. By increasing your website traffic, you are likely to increase your sales. Social media can be used to deliver relevant traffic to your website. Our own social media marketing company have built our brand up to get thousands of organic traffic with very little advertising. You can do the same by building up a strong social media presence.
13) Boost Customer Engagement
By increasing customer engagement, your brand can open the door to gaining repeat purchases. In addition, the two-way communication style of social media allows you to grab your customer’s hand through the buying process. You’re able to answer product-related questions, develop deeper relationships, and add more value to the customer. To learn ways to engage your customers, try reading 5 Ways Social Media Can Increase Your Revenue from Existing Customers.
14) Increase Word of Mouth
The more engaged your customers are, the more likely they are to refer your product to a friend. In Forbe’s article on why word of mouth is the most powerful form of social media, Kimberly Whitler indicates that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Hubspot also researched this and found that 71% of people are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals.
15) Leverage Various Media Formats (Video, Images, etc.)
By using various media formats, you can improve the customer experience with your brand. An example of this would be Boom By Cindy Joseph’s website and social media presence. Cindy Joseph uses high quality images and videos on Pinterest, YouTube, and her website to walk her customers through the buying process. Below is a screenshot of her website shopping cart, which wisely incorporates a video description.
16) It’s Cheaper
Social media can deliver thousands of relevant clicks to your website at low costs, which increases your profit margins. In comparison to Google AdWords, recent research indicates that social media advertising could be more than 10x cheaper than bidding on keywords through Google advertising. In some instances, we’ve ran social media advertising campaigns that generating clicks as low as $0.05 per click.
Geotargeting is targeting people who are within a certain mile radius of your business location. For brick and mortar companies, geotargeting is extremely important. Very few advertising sources can pinpoint people within a 10 mile radius of your exact business location. Social media happens to be one of them. Geotargeting will help you attract more walk-in customers, drive more purchases at sales events, and build more loyalty.
18) Advanced Targeting (Followers, Keywords, Interests)
As mentioned earlier, you can leverage social media to attract people who have a sincere interest in your brand. Through advanced targeting that is available on various social media platforms, you can target people differently. On Twitter, you can target people who follow certain brands. On Pinterest, you can target people who search for different keywords with promoted pins. On LinkedIn, you can target people who work in various industries and hold certain job positions. By far, the benefit of advanced targeting on social media is one of the most important.
19) Identify Target Audience
It is important to know who your target audience is. But, what if you don’t know? Because social media is so data-rich, you can analyze your competitors, listen to consumers, and target different segments to find your target audience.
20) Track Your Results
The reason why social media advertising is so efficient is because it is trackable. You can measure sales, website traffic, email subscriptions, and most importantly, the effectiveness of your social media advertising efforts.
21) Make Informed Decisions with Historical Data
With insights into your efforts from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn reports, you can identify where your campaign is lacking by analyzing historical data and interpreting numbers. To avoid wasting advertising dollars, it is important that you understand how to do this. In most cases, we recommend hiring a social media advertising expert or company.
22) A/B Testing
A/B split testing with social media advertising is what online marketing is all about. A/B testing is a method used to figure out the best way to promote your business online. The benefit of doing this is to make sure you are guided by advertisements that are statistically proven to perform. You can test different ad copy, images, landing pages, and much more to identify what works best for you. As mentioned in the previous benefit, you have the ability to let historical data guide your decisions.
On average, less than 10% of your website visitors will convert on their first visit to your website. With retargeting, you can reach the people who visit your website again. On social media, you can target advertisements specifically at people who viewed your website. This gives you an opportunity to increase your conversion rates. For more information on retargeting, read Why Every Marketer Should Leverage Retargeting.
24) Social Media Attribution (More Touch Points)
Your customers are likely to interact with your brand many times before they decide to purchase your product. They may watch a YouTube video, subscribe to your email list, like your Facebook page, read your Google reviews, or follow you on Twitter. Statistically, the more a consumer interacts with your brand, the more likely they are to buy. By leveraging social media attribution, your brand will help move interested buyers down your sales cycle and closer to buying your product.
25) Spark Lead Generation
Leads are people who are sincerely interested in learning more about your brand’s products and services. There are millions of people on social media with a wide variety of interests. To generate quality leads, you will need to connect your brand to the group of people that is most likely to be interested in your products and services. For case studies on social media lead generation, read some success stories.
26) Increase Email Subscribers
Email marketing is still effective in this day and age. In fact, 91% of consumers use email every day. Your brand can use social media as an engine to attract new leads and leverage email marketing to nurture leads until they transact. In the same manner that social media can drive relevant website traffic, it can pump up your email list with relevant people.
27) Improve Sales
With a great brand, website, and product or service, social media can dramatically impact your sales. In How I Made $41,254 Last Month with Pinterest, a small business owner was able to significantly increase revenues through Pinterest advertising. There are similar case studies for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. With an effective social media marketing approach, your business can increase sales. However, it takes time and expertise to perfect a revenue-generating formula.
28) Lower Customer Acquisition
The customer-acquisition costs of social media marketing is much less than traditional outbound methods, such as cold calling, print, radio, and television commercials. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing leads cost 61% less than outbound. We have worked on campaigns that have reached over 1,000,000 people with less than $5,000.00, which is just a fraction of what a television commercial might cost.
29) Pull In Unexpected Customers
With the power of social media shares, referrals, and word-of-mouth, many indirect sales may result from social media. For example, there may be situations in which someone who learned about your brand on social media referred a friend to buy your product or service. Google Analytics and other sophisticated analytics system may not be able to trace sales like this back to social media.
30) Repeat Customers
On average, it costs 4 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one. One way to encourage client retention and repeat customers is by engaging them on social media. By posting relevant content, staying active on a daily basis, and deepening your relationships with your customer base, you can remain top of mind when your customers are in need of your product or service again.
31) New Product/Service Introduction
You can spend very little money to expose your new product or service to thousands on social media. In How to Launch a New Product with Social Media, they mention that “your new product launch should not be your company’s introduction to social media”. All of the relationships, fans, and followers that you develop on social media will be the most interested in learning about your new product or service.
32) Promote Incentives to Drive Direct Response
Incentives and promotions can be a direct catalyst to driving people from social media to your website to transact. One of the best ways to build a strong and loyal customer base on social media is to reward them. You can offer discounts, giveaways, contests, and more interactive incentives to engage customers.
33) Personalize Messaging to Different Segments
Your brand can personalize content to different segments of your target audience. The benefit of doing this is to make your content extremely relevant to the reader. The more relevant it is, the more results you will see. On Facebook, you can target use dark posts, which is the Best Facebook Advertising Right Now according to Inc. Watch the video below to learn more.
34) Integrate with Email Marketing
Most email marketing software today includes social media integrations. By integrating your social media channels with your email marketing efforts, you can drive more traffic to your social media channels. This will help your social media efforts to thrive, while increasing the amount of consumer interactions through email and social media.
35) Transform Your Website’s Appearance and Performance
Your website and social media presence should work together. Adding social media widgets to your website can dramatically improve its performance. You can include links to your social media channels, sharing buttons for visitors to share your website, or embed your entire social media feed into your website so that people always know what is going on.
36) Incorporate with Traditional Media
Social media has revamped traditional advertising. Recent research indicates that television commercials that incorporate hashtags are more effective. Why? Because more than half of the population use social media and by integrating it into traditional advertising, your brand can resonate more with the millions of people who use social media daily. An example would be the Budweiser commercial below.
37) Influence Search Rankings
There is significant evidence that indicate that social media directly influences search engine rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo. In Search Metrics Study on Search Ranking Factors, social media websites were in the top 10. Hootsuite also reports that the relationship between social media and SEO is real.
38) Increase Social Shares & Backlinks
A social media share occurs is when someone shares content from your website or your social media channels that includes the link to your website. Backlinks are links on other websites that points to your website. In the past, backlinks played the largest role in increasing organic rankings. However, experts today say social shares is the new link building for SEO.
39) More Brand Mentions
A brand mention is simply a mention of your brand on social media. Research indicates that brand mentions also influence SEO rankings. Social media can be used to increase your brand mentions. With great content, a growing following, and solid engagement, your company can leverage brand mentions to increase your organic rankings on Google.
40) Educate Your Target Audience
The more informed your prospects are about your product, the more likely they are to buy from you. Social media can be used to inform and educate your audience about the benefits of your products or services. By posting informative blogs, highlighting testimonials, and product reviews, you can educate your target audience on social media. Read 21 Memorable Ideas for Creating Social Media Content for more ways to inform, educate, and engage people on social media.
41) Distribute Content to a Broad Audience
Content Marketing is the creation and publishing of content to inform, acquire, and retain customers. Examples of content marketing include blogs, eBook, and white papers. Social media can be used a content distribution network to fuel your content marketing. It can be built into your content marketing process to support all of content marketing efforts.
42) Increase Blog Traffic
Social media drives 31% of all website traffic. When leveraging social media channels as a content distribution network, you can deliver hundreds and thousands of traffic to your blog. All you have to do is connect your content with relevant readers. And because you are already developing a strong following of relevant people on social media, great content will easily drive traffic from social media to your blog post.
43) Make Your Content Go Viral
While it is great to have a content distribution network, it is even more important to include social media sharing buttons. According to HubSpot, you should include social media sharing buttons on all of your marketing content. If your content is good, people will share it on social media. And because social media will help your content reach thousands of people, you just need to focus on it being good enough to go viral.
44) Reach Hundreds and Thousands with Event Hashtags
It is important to use hashtags for your events because it is a way for people attending the event to interact with each other. It is also a way for prospective attendees to view a live stream of the “hype” or interactions around your event. Because of the viral nature of social media, the friends and followers of everyone who uses your event hashtag will see your event as well. If you can encourage people to use your hashtag, you could double the amount of organic awareness of your event.
45) Engage Attendees at Your Events
Using social media to engage event attendees before, after, or during events has its benefits as well. You can use social media to respond to people’s comments or questions. Gary Vaynerchuk used social media to launch an entire YouTube series. People ask questions on a particular hashtag and he responds via video.
46) Your Customers are on There
Your brand needs to stay in the eyes of your customers. In this day and age, your customers are on social media. Regardless of what industry you are in, your customer base is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, or another social media platform. Learn more about the demographics of various social media platforms.
47) Consumers are Checking Out Your Brand on Social Media
68% on consumers check out a company’s social media presence before buying online. If your brand has a small presence on social media, potential customers may be turned off. As consumers are getting smarter and doing more research before purchasing, it is important for your brand to have a sound presence throughout the web.
48) There are People Searching for Products on Social Media
There are people searching for products on social media right now. In fact, 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network. While people are talking, tweeting, and searching for products on social media, your brand has the opportunity to capture their attention.
49) People are Talking About Your Company on Social Media
The average consumer mentions brands 90 times/week. There is no doubt that people are talking about your brand online. They may be leaving online reviews, tweeting, or messaging a friend about it on Facebook. Regardless, people will talk about your brand on social media, which should give you even more of a reason to be on it.
50) Open Communication (Two-Way Communication)
For the first time in the history of marketing, brands can engage in two-way communication with consumers. Print, radio, television, and billboards have never provided brands this benefit. This gives brands the benefit of deepening relationships with consumers.
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) May 6, 2013
51) It’s Faster (Than Radio, Commercials, etc)
Social media marketing is much faster than traditional media. It could take months to plan a television or radio commercial. When investing in print ads, you have to wait for an available slot and wait for release. Your brand can move quicker than the competition with social media.
52) It’s Real-Time
Your brand can capitalize on real-time events and deliver a relevant message to the right person at the right time. You can shape a brand-related message around real-time events as they happen. A famous example would be Arby’s famous tweet during the Grammy’s when Pharrell wore their hat.
53) It’s 24/7
There is no clocking out on social media. You can leverage it all day, every day. Brands have the opportunity to respond to customers as soon as an issue arises. With the right social media tools and software, you can receive alerts every time your brand is mentioned.
54) Decrease Marketing Costs
You can decrease your marketing expenditures by using social media. You can reach 1,000 people for a fraction of the cost of television and billboards. It performs the same functions of traditional advertising sources and more. By leveraging social media, you can spend less and gain more results.
55) It Will Help You Beat Your Competition
You can dominate your competitors by outdoing them on social media. Even in political races, there is significant evidence that social media can give an extreme advantage over opponents. Through the use of social media, you can gain more market share and take out your competitors.
56) You Can Go Viral
Television commercials may spark buzz, but with YouTube commercials can go viral. People share YouTube videos online with friends. Television commercials are difficult to share. With paid advertising on Television and online video, the scalability of an online with social sharing gives you a major benefit. Watch this K-Mart commercial that went viral once placed on YouTube.
57) You Don’t Have to be “Selly”
With traditional and “outbound” forms of advertising, you only had one shot to make the sell. The objective was to take your product or service and shove it down consumers’ throat. However, today research indicates that consumers don’t want to be sold to, they want to be educated. With social media marketing, you can develop connections with consumers, build a relationship, educate consumers, and indirectly sell your product.
58) Younger Audiences Spends Most of Their Time Online
Younger audiences are spending more time online than doing anything else today. In fact, teenagers spend 27 hours a week online. Older adults are following the trend as well. 59% of online adults over the age of 65 use Facebook and Skype. As young adults get older, brands will no other choice but to invest into a strong online and social media presence.
59) Customer Experience (Richer)
Consumers are connected with hundreds and thousands of people on social media. Brands are increasingly placing an emphasis on their “customer experience” because of the impact it may have on their reputation. Social media can help your brand promote a positive customer experience through high-quality design, content, and engagement.
60) Unbiased Ratings and Reviews
The fact that you can collect unbiased ratings and reviews on social media is a major benefit. Through Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews, you can gain true understanding of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Companies who do not pay attention to customer reviews on social media are jeopardizing their company’s reputation and missing opportunities to grow.
61) Customer Feedback
When launching a new product or idea, you can gain customer feedback through social media. On social media, you have the ability to ask questions to gauge interest and feedback on certain topics. You can create surveys and incentivize your followers to participate. For more on this, read 7 Terrific Ways to Use Social Media for Customer Feedback.
62) Crisis/Disaster Management
Although no one wants to deal with a company crisis, social media can be used to properly address and calm the situation. You can acknowledge the concerns of frustrated individuals, apologize, and find a solution. Your brand’s social media manager should know how to manage a social media crisis. Nonetheless, being able to respond via social media is a major benefit.
63) Answer Customer Questions
Being active on social media and using it to answer customer questions will benefit your bottom line. Some people call customer service when they have a question while an increasing amount of people are using social media to do it. If you want some motivation to use social media and content marketing to answer questions, read how Marcus Sheridan made $2,000,000 from answering questions.
64) Reduce your Customer Service Staff
You can dramatically reduce your customer service staff and costs by leveraging social media. Many larger corporations, such as Microsoft, have used Twitter to reduce customer support costs. They saw more value in listening to what people are saying about their brand online and responding to people who had issues.
65) Promote Testimonials and Product Reviews
A great way to establish trust on social media is by promoting product reviews and client testimonials. Buyers will do their research on their options before purchasing a product or service. By highlighting testimonials and product reviews from your customers and other sources, you are helping potential buyers do their research. Social media can be used to help you connect your reviews to interested buyers.
66) Develop Partnerships
Developing sound partnerships can help your business more than you can imagine. You can amplify your marketing with social media partnerships to gain more exposure. Examples of social media partnerships could be an exchange of promotion, content, or even a collaborative board on Pinterest.
67) Build Relationships with Influencers
Influencer marketing is the concept of using influencers to promote your brand to their large audience of potential buyers. Influencers could be celebrities, journalists, or bloggers who may have thousands of followers. Regardless of who it is, influencers are on social media and check it daily. Your brand has access to reach out to influencers, add value, build relationships, and ultimately leverage their audience to grow your social media presence.
68) Promote Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the initiative to assess and take responsibility to improve your community and environment. By showing casing how your brand is involved in the community, you can win the hearts of consumers, while making employees feel like their work is worthwhile. Social media can help you promote how your brand is involved in your community to the people who are the most engaged with your company.
69) Marketplace Insight
In a recent survey, 65% of firms rated marketplace insight as one of the top benefits of social media. Your brand can gather valuable insight into your market by utilizing social media. Some types of insight you can gather include brand mentions, buying language, direct interaction, consumer needs, and sentiment.
70) Competitive Analysis
The ability to analyze your competitors on social media is a major benefit. You can look at your competitors and identify key areas for your brand to surpass them. If they have a low amount of followers and engagement, this could be a key indicator that you can gain more market share by developing a large presence. If they have a large and thriving presence on social media, you could target their followers and sell them on why your brand may be better. For more on this, read How to Create a Social Media Strategy By Spying Your Competitors.
71) Needs/Demand Analysis (What Customers Want)
By doing some social listening, you can find out what people want, need, or interested in. On Twitter, you can use advanced Twitter search to monitor what people are saying about keywords related to your brand. On Pinterest, you can see what the hottest trends are to develop your brand. It is always important to know what consumers really want before promoting to them.
72) Customer Insight
Social media tools can be used to drive superior customer insight. Many data companies and social analytic software can help you distinguish the purchasing behavior and identify buying personas through social media marketing.
73) Attract and Recruit Employees
Recruiting is an important function of any growing company. You need great internal personnel in order to succeed. A strong and active social media presence can attract job seekers to you. Through posting images of employees, work environment, and company culture, you can develop a pipeline of recruits through social media. Recent research indicates that over 73% of employers plan to increase their attention on social media recruiting in upcoming years.
74) Engage Employees and Boost Retention
Employees, just like customers, have hundreds and thousands of connections on social media. They can be your biggest group of brand advocates on social media. 38% of engaged employees are more likely to share relevant content with coworkers and customers. Some brands post “selfies” of employees at work, work competitions, and acknowledge employee accomplishments on social media. This use of social media will have a positive impact on employee engagement and retention.
75) Showcase Company Culture
Showcasing your company’s culture on social media can have its benefits as well. Some employees (and consumers) buy into the people selling the product, not the product itself. You can use social media to reinforce your brand’s vision and mission, commitment to employee development, and share your company’s journey.