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Benefits of Social Media – The 5 Most Overlooked Business Points

The never ending list of social media’s business benefits has become repetitive and worn out.

  • “Social media connects you with your customers.”
  • “Grow your business using social media!” 
  • “Get unfiltered and direct feedback from your customers on social networks.”

Hooks like these have resulted in social media being oversold and under delivering. The underlying problem is that these benefits most commonly lack context and examples. So what if social media can get you traffic and brand exposure — what does that even mean? How do you go about making that happen? You can’t just build it and then they’ll come.

I’m revisiting the topic of social media’s business benefits to overcome these opinions. The overused and overlooked “benefits” truly are still relevant and, more importantly, achievable. If you’re already sold on the benefits and curious to know how to steer your business in the right direction, I’ve also put together an introductory how-to guide to help you set your goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. 

Here are the 5 most oversold (and now overlooked) business benefits of social and how to make them work for you:

1) Increased Traffic and Exposure

The missing context here is that by having a social presence for your business, you’ll eventually be able to lead your followers to complete an action. Whether that’s to click on a link and get back to your website or to remember your name when the time comes to do business again, you want them to see you and know you’re still active.

A lot of people start out on social media just for the sake of being there. However, without setting up your goals for what you want to get out of social for your business, it’s easy to forget what your motivation should be.

How to Make It Work for You

Set up your social media sharing to fit an 80/20 split. 80 percent of your posts should be helpful, entertaining and informative blogs, links and photos. People want to enjoy what they find on social networks. The other 20 percent of the the time, feel free to drive traffic and engagement toward something that directly helps your business. Maybe this is a link to a blog you wrote or a referral contest you’re running. This balance will help keep your audience interested but also work toward achieving your business goals.

2) Multiple Touches Across a Longer Sales Cycle

Social media is not the exclusive method you should use to run your business. It’s simply one part of a greater marketing strategy. The benefit of social media is that it is easily folded into your greater customer outreach strategy for long-term engagement.

When you work in an industry like real estate or insurance, the likelihood of doing business with a particular person in a given calendar year is pretty slim. But you have to maintain that connection and relationship because they are an excellent source of referral business and future repeat business.

The context missing here is that not every post, tweet and link shared on your social media accounts is going to be touched by every one of your followers. But the ones they do see and interact with should be counted as touch points towards their overall engagement with you. Just like a phone call to them, an opened email or a personal note in the mail, all of these touches work together to keep you top of mind.

How to Make It Work for You

You want to make sure that you are always sharing interesting content with your social networks. It’s hard to let people interact with you on social media if you’re not giving them anything to read. Trust me, they’re not going to look you up out of the blue. The best way to approach to this is to make yourself a calendar of things to share and do on social media throughout your week and stick to it. I’ve laid out a few example calendars in this introductory guide.

3) Top-of-Mind Awareness and Recall

Staying top of mind with past clients and customers is so important for industries with long sales cycles. Did you know that in real estate, 9 out of 10 people would use their realtor again, if only they could find their phone number or remember their name? The reason why this benefit gets overlooked at times is that social is not a short-term game. The results come when you set yourself up for a long-term customer engagement strategy. However, if you don’t see immediate results, I understand it’s hard to believe that social media helps with top-of-mind awareness.

But remember that the goal here is to be in the business of helping, not selling. People don’t want to be friends with or follow businesses that have only their own interests in mind. They want to follow brands that give them some form of enjoyment, education or inspiration.

How to Make It Work for You

Take a good look at everything you’re sharing on your social networks and compare it to a business you follow on your personal page that you enjoy. For me, it’s a local car wash I’ve liked on Facebook. Their social media updates aren’t blatant attempts to get my business again, yet, I find myself clicking on every post they send out. Things like a funny photo of a dog on a scooter or a Buzzfeed video that tells me I’ve been pronouncing Japanese car names wrong. This type of content is entertaining, clickable and better at catching my attention.

4) Branding Yourself as a Trusted Resource

With a social media plan in place and an established approach to the content you share on social networks, one of the greatest overlooked benefits you’ll receive is branding. When you set out to establish your brand presence on social media, if you’re doing it right, the brand you create will be reflected in both your online presence and through the quality content you share.

For that reason, you have to be smart about the social media posts you create. They need to be different enough to not be repetitive but similar enough so that people can see a consistent pattern and tone to your approach.

How to Make It Work for You

You have to find out what makes you special and what you want to be known for. Sure, you might be a loan officer, but is that everything you want people to know about you? Take some time to figure out what sort of things people come to you for advice about that aren’t loan specific. For example, maybe you do a lot of home loans. Your approach to content then wouldn’t be just home loans, but rather things new home owners should know. Tips about home ownership, advice on energy-efficient apps or even guides to picking the right insurance coverage. Use your content to make you an invaluable resource for your audience.

5) Increased Referrals

Having a longer sales cycle makes it challenging to stay in touch with past clients. However, you know that they’re your best source of leads. Social media can (and does) help with this. The whole point of setting yourself up to achieve the aforementioned benefits is to drive a tangible business result. In this case, referrals from past clients is the result, and if you’re planning out your approach to social media ahead of time, this is a very achievable goal.

The missing context here is that referrals don’t happen just because you have a Facebook page. You have to take a vested interested in building your social networks in a way that leads your followers to send business your way.

How to Make It Work for You

Above, I mentioned the 80/20 split. If you’re truly following this approach, then use that 20 percent of your earned self-promotional posting time to ask your followers and friends for referral business. But don’t just throw the question out there; give them some incentive [referrals] to do so. Make a contest, have a drawing, something!

How to Achieve These Benefits?

As I mentioned throughout the discussion of these five benefits, you have to set yourself up in the right direction in order to make them a reality. You need to create your social media goals, objectives that stem from those goals, strategies to carry out those objectives and tactics to employ when executing your strategy. It’s a lot easier to visualize what you need to do when you have a template to follow too. Check out this guide to help you accomplish this!

Whether you’ve become numb to the repetitive praises of social media benefits for businesses or you’re a believer looking to get things in motion, it’s crucial that you have a plan in place. Without setting up your destination beforehand, it’s easy to lose sight of the end goals and begin to overlook the incremental benefits you’ll achieve using social media for your business.

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