By Robin Carr, LCI
Social media users passed the 3.5 billion mark in July 2019, as reported by WeAreSocial. So what are some of the benefits of social media for business?
From brand storytelling to new commerce opportunities, social channels offer companies an unmatched opportunity to reach and engage consumers:
Engage with your target audience
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are extremely popular with major brands and their followers. Social channels track engagement, replies, follows, favorites, links, embedded media and hashtags. A terrific example of a brand with strong audience engagement is JetBlue Airways. They not only keep people apprised of schedule changes, but they also have some fun with their #LetsPlayAirport contests. JetBlue doesn’t take itself too seriously and keeps its millions of followers engaged.
Content creation: branded and user-generated
Corporate blogs are the norm. Brands can leverage their content via social media channels and invite their followers to contribute. In 2018, Whole Foods Market launched a contest that invited customers to share social media posts of their latest food obsessions and tag #MakesMeWhole. Three years and hundreds of thousands of posts later, people share holiday recipes, grilling tips and can’t-miss desserts using top social channels such as Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
Analyze trends in real-time
As pandemic shutdowns came and went, brands had to pivot, and the “rules” changed every day. One pivot example was when some restaurants offered a flat rate for a set number of meals per week or month, with limited menu choices. Restaurants also offered customers a combination of precooked dishes with sides or additions that they could prepare at home. Through social media, restaurants sent links to how-to videos that incorporated experiential and learning elements. Social channels supplied companies with real-time feedback on customer behavior.
There are several ways to use social media for customer service, such as including hashtags strategically and setting up a separate handle for customer service support. Companies can also move to a private communication method, such as DM’s on Twitter. As athleisure wear became more popular during the pandemic, Lululemon demonstrated proactive customer service by looking out for brand mentions – even when customers don’t use the company’s handles or hashtags. When a customer reached out on social media asking for advice on #comfortclothing, Lululemon’s social team took a proactive approach and responded to that potential customer. There are built-in search functions available on most social media platforms, allowing companies like Lululemon to solve problems and increase their fan base.
4 helpful tips to make social media work for your business – Agility PR
Top 14 Benefits of Social Media for Your Business – Search Engine Journal
Why Small Businesses And Startups Should Invest In Social Media Marketing – Forbes