Sales & Marketing

Why businesses need to embrace social media, or risk getting left behind

7 min read

20 September 2018

This social media guru says that businesses need to see social media as an educational tool, and not as a platform for cold hard sales.

Why do businesses need social media? It sounds a massive question, so perhaps the best place to start on the topic is by seeing it as a customer relationship tool.

Whether your business is run by tech-loving millennials, Gen-Z’s, or more mature analogue-minded business owners, there’s no reason to fear social media. Once you understand the potential behind it, you can harness its power and take the high ground when it comes to sales.

Social media is a bridge to your customers

The bottom line is that if your competitors are using social platforms, why aren’t you? And if they aren’t, outwit them and activate your accounts immediately; you’ll get a great deal of customer value out of it.

Social media allows customers and businesses to communicate on a one-to-one basis, and customers are turning to social media to express their needs with a business or raise queries.

These interactions give businesses a better insight into their audience, so they can quickly identify the likes and dislikes of individuals. They can learn about their customers and create personalised marketing solutions and segmentations so that customers are presented with information that’s relevant to them (such as tailored retargeting adverts) to meets their needs.

This relationship extends two ways; it’s not just about reaching customers or those who share interests connected with your brand or product. Social media also gives organisations a place to reflect on their own messaging and goals, and keep up with the latest trends.

Social media can educate you about your customers

What you’ll find is that it’s not just about what a business can learn about potential customers on social media, but what they can learn from them; how they can create content that better engages with current trends, opinions and hot topics that hold the attention of customers.

In essence, social media becomes a space to reflect on the views society has, note how your business impacts it, and how you can alter what you do to meet the demands and interests of potential customers.

We’ve seen businesses change their entire outlook to meet current trends that are shared on social media.

For example, at the minute there’s a big demand (and rightly so) for businesses to be environmentally conscious and people expect them to have a stance on sustainability issues. So many companies are exploring this area and tweaking their model, tone and what they discuss to engage with this discussion.

 A ‘soft-sales’ approach works

What this boils down to is utilising social media as a way of showcasing your company in different ways. It shouldn’t be a space to hard-sell products but reflect on the inner-workings of what you do. Whether that’s sharing your ethos or a glimpse behind the scenes, social media is a space to add a personality behind what you do. People want to engage with other humans, not organisations.

Take Innocent drinks for example; they have pioneered the anthropomorphic tone that many businesses have now adopted. By presenting themselves as an approachable human rather than a corporate organisation, customers have been more likely to open up, engage with them and share their posts.

It all costs less than you think

A quick final point that must be touched on is the cost of social media. To put it simply, social media can be mastered on a low budget, so if you’re trying to promote something on a shoe-string, it’s the place to be.

Social media is often the go-to for startups as it offers the chance to spread an organic message without spending a penny. Businesses with a little more to spend can start experimenting with adverts on a range of platforms, but by being able to dictate how much is spent, very little cash is needed.

What we would say is that if you’re a business looking at adverts for the first time, make sure you spend a while crafting the target audience, copy, CTA and imagery you used; nailing this can make a big difference on the cost per result and general outcome.

There’s no point rushing these as you’ll be throwing money down the drain. If possible, get a different pair of eyes to look over what you’ve made (even better if it’s someone that matches your audience) and get their reaction from it.

Get out there – and go social

This merely skims the surface of reasons why businesses need social media, and it’s something we could go on about for a lot longer. But perhaps the bottom line is that if your competitors are using social platforms, why aren’t you? And if they aren’t, outwit them and activate your accounts immediately; you’ll get a great deal of customer value out of it.

Eleanor Wright is the founder and creative director at Soello, a social media agency SME based in Bristol. A proud millennial, Eleanor began working in the digital industries straight after leaving school, she is passionate about introducing businesses to the magic of social media.