It’s that time of year again. The fun time of reviewing your expenses from the past year and comparing them to the sales they’ve brought in, and setting a marketing budget for the next year to present to your boss. We know that’s not an easy task. There are many things on your plate that you’d like to invest in, and we sure know that social media marketing is one of them. By now, most marketers are seeing the value in social media, whether they’re in a B2B or B2C environment. Social media is the new storefront of every business. Whether it’s coming from you or not, your company must have a presence on social media. That’s why it is important that you include social media strategy in your marketing budget to take control of your company’s voice and presence on all social channels. How can you present this value to your boss to convince him/her that social media is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have?
We compiled these reasons as a starting point for you to leverage in your upcoming budgeting conversation:
- Consistent conversations with customers. Only a few years ago, companies paid a whole lot of money conducting focus groups and other sorts of market research to get inside of their customers’ heads and be able to understand their needs and wants. With social media, you can actually have live conversations with your clients, ask them questions, get their insights, and fully understand their perspectives.
- Build a Loyal Following. Sales are always nice. But repeat business is priceless. Every company dreams of having repeat customers that will make multiple purchases throughout the years. Through social media, you can start building relationships with your customers, gain trust and loyalty, and offer them much more value than solely your service or product. By having that relationship, they are more inclined to make a second or third purchase because of their pleasant first experience.
- Hear them talk. It’s nice to have these conversations with current customers, but what can you do to reach individuals who need your product/service but don’t know of it yet? With social media listening tools, you can actually narrow down the conversation by searching for specific keywords and topics to find current conversations occurring at that moment- about that particular topic. For example, you can directly promote your hotel offers to someone who just tweeted that they are stranded at the airport. Simple as that.
- Set yourself apart. By investing the time and efforts into building a social media presence and a personable brand voice, customers will clearly see this and appreciate it. It’s the easiest and best way to set yourself apart from the competition. By having a consistent presence on your social media channels, you’ll stay top-of-mind. Most importantly, you will be humanizing your brand through these social interactions.
- SEO is not the same anymore. A few years ago, SEO was all about the keywords. Those days are long gone. Being active on social media and providing customers contextual content that aligns with your brand image is the way to go.
- Brings traffic to the website. The first step of the classic lead generation funnel is to build awareness to direct traffic to your website. By creating and sharing content on social media channels, you are making that first impression on potential customers that will lead them back to your website where the lead nurturing process continues. So instead of placing all your eggs in one sales basket, you should invest some into social media and start generating those potential leads.
We know the struggle of communicating the value of social media to companies that are well set in their traditional views. But it is time for all of us to stand against these traditional views and invest our money where the customers are. Present them the information they are looking for. Think of social media as a mosaic. There are a million different moments that all must come together to form one unified picture. By presenting the reasons we mentioned above, we hope you now have a good starting point to convince your boss to invest in a social media strategy.
If you are still unsure about the value of social media strategy, check out our e-book “Use Social Media to Grow Your Brand”.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.