Social media and the key to making it work

Social media has transitioned from obscurity to a place of prominence for individuals with access to a computer. Of the 3 billion users who actively access the internet, almost 2.1 billion have social media accounts. Studies show that social media usage is no longer limited to younger generations though, at 89%, the 18-29 age group is the highest consumer followed by 72% of users aged 30-49, 60% of 50-60 year olds and 43% in the 65 plus demographic. Social media usage continues to climb along with consumer reliance on smartphones and tablets. Websites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram and Pinterest have become common household names. Social media has infiltrated our language and changed the way we communicate. We post, share, like, network, tweet, snap and pin our way through each day.

Growing a social media presence is an important, multi-faceted tool that enables businesses to reach the 72% of internet users who frequent social media sites. There are Social media enables businesses to identify their target demographic and focus advertisements directly to potential customers. In addition to reaching the right audience, businesses can evaluate the success of marketing efforts with real time metrics allowing them to make better decisions. Social media monitoring can position a business to lead, instead of follow, the industry by providing key insights into the competition.

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Social media helps businesses build relationships with customers in a comfortable environment.  It provides a valuable space to learn more about what customers want and how they feel about your brand. Research has indicated that regular connections with customers on social media increases customer retention and strengthens brand loyalty.

With more than 3 billion active users, social media and mobile social media have a noteworthy influence on retail purchases. Nearly 75% of businesses who marketed products on social media saw an increase in sales within the next 12 month period. Consider the impact of a single website, Facebook, where 47% of users reference the site as their primary source for purchasing decisions. It is easy to see the marketing potential of keeping a consistent online presence at the forefront of consumers minds. So when they are ready to make a purchase, they know where to turn.

Since consumers are looking to social media for information and purchasing decisions, it is understandable that over 67% of them rely on the same avenue for customer service needs. Businesses with a social media presence must provide 24/7 support and commit to timely responses to meet customer expectations. Financial gains for businesses that offer service via social media achieve a 7.5% year over year growth compared to 2.9% year over year growth without such service. Outstanding service is integral to business success since 86% of customers switch brands when they experience poor service. Further, negative experiences are often shared on social media making it critical to monitor activity and resolve quickly.

Social media is a key ingredient to increasing traffic to your website and improving search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines scan internet content and create indexes that are used in conjunction with ranking algorithms, a series of rules and calculations, to determine the order in which links are sorted in response to an internet query. A higher search engine ranking means your website URL will appear closer to the top position where it is more likely to be selected. The frequency in which a business URL is linked or shared on social media is a key factor for improving search engine results.

Embracing social media as an integral part of the marketing strategy will position businesses to realize increased success.

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