Humans are naturally social creatures, and we use social media more and more to connect to our friends, communities and yes: businesses, organizations and nonprofits.
According to Statistica, there are 2.2 BILLION people using social networks worldwide for everything from sharing cat gifs to products and services they love. Having a solid, engaging social media presence is more and more important, especially as people increasingly rely on recommendations from their social networks about, well, everything. Direct Marketing News reports that more than half of consumers are "somewhat or very influenced to think more highly of a business after seeing positive comments or praise online."
For organizations, social media opens up whole new worlds for learning about and interacting with their audience and customers, ultimately leading to more positive brand identities and increased conversions and sales.
Chances are, you've already started using social media in your organization, but in order to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by social media, you need to expand your online presence and engagement across multiple platforms, and now is the right time to do it.
1. Your Customers are Already Using Social Media, and Lots of It
In the united states, 78% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile, and worldwide, 52% of online adults are using two or more social media sites. On top of this, the demographics of these sites are expanding rapidly: school children spend hours on YouTube, and grandmothers keep in touch with relatives on Facebook.
Connecting and sharing with customers on social media can be easier and more effective than traditional avenues because a lot of the leg work has already been done for you. As opposed to building flashy, neon-lit displays in a shop window to try and entice people to visit your organization, using social media, they're in a sense already "in the store."
2. Social Media Can Give You Customer Feedback Like Never Before
The World Wide Web version 1.0 was a lot like a poster tacked onto a telephone pole: it was a good way to get the information out there, but you didn't really have a way to tell who was looking at it, much less a way to hear how it was received. Web 2.0 changed everything. Now, instead of a one-way conversation, organizations can get real-time feedback and information from their customers.
Social media provides a myriad of ways to gather customer feedback and insights on your organization's products and services. Whether it be looking through and responding to Twitter mentions or hosting a poll on Facebook, social media gives organizations better tools than ever to quickly gather and respond to customer feedback, which can then go back into the production cycle to improve your products and services to better meet your customers' needs.
3. Expanding your Social Media Presence Leads to Meaningful Interactions
Social Media is one of the easiest ways for companies and organizations to interact with their customers, and these interactions go two ways and across: a conversation started with one customer can expand into a community conversation in no time flat. These conversations build confidence and trust in your brand, meaning your customers are more likely to come back and share their positive experiences with your organization.
Good things spread fast on the Internet and nowhere faster than on social media. A customer posting a picture with your event's hashtag, a retweet of an article on your company blog or a video shared on Facebook gets your organization's message and content immediately out to their entire network, bringing you to new audiences and building trust in your brand.
The best part of all of this is that you don't have to hire a crack team of social-savvy millennials to succeed at social media to get going: like all good projects, start small and scale up as the number of your company's followers grow. Once you've hit critical mass, a tool like SocialStream, can help you bring together conversations from any number of social media platforms into a single stream of customer-interactive goodness.
When customers – our social creatures – are valued and interacted with as people, as a part of a community, good things can happen for all kinds of organizations. It's as simple as that.
For more information about how SocialStream can help your organization grow your social media presence, drop us a line. We'd love to help.