Facebook launched its first ad about five years ago. Since then, the digital landscape has changed dramatically, and today, 90% of marketers now acknowledge that social media is essential to their business.
Despite this massive adoption, the fact that social ad products and capabilities iterate so quickly means there are a lot of opportunities for marketers that didn’t exist even a few months ago. Here are the top six reasons to use social now:
1. Increase Exposure and Cultivate Affinity
A recent survey calls out positive exposure as the most recognized benefit of social media marketing. Among the professionals who participated, 89% said they believe social media has generated more exposure for their business and 68% have used it to develop a loyal base of fans.
This makes sense because social platforms are built for connecting people to each other and to the things that matter to them. Audiences are trained to seek out compelling content in this space and then share it with their friends. Brands who are careful to keep their content relevant and interesting reap the most benefits in this area.
2. Gain Consumer and Marketplace Insights
A closely related strength is the ability of social media to provide a window into the mind of the target audience. With every post, tweet, like and comment, your audience is sharing insights about who they are and what moves them.
On the qualitative front, a strong community management strategy can make the benefits two-fold. An experienced community manager can help identify barriers, address objections and report valuable consumer feedback in real time.
3. Increase Traffic and Boost Search Rankings
More than 79% of marketers surveyed report seeing positive benefits to their site traffic from social media efforts (source), and the platforms take their role in this seriously. Facebook, in particular, has rolled out multiple ad types designed to enhance the user experience while encouraging click-through. An uptick in engagement and link clicks also creates a valuable byproduct: improved search ranking.
4. Drive Direct Leads and Sales
Social media has the power to impact a business’s bottom line. In fact, more than half of marketers who have maintained activity on social for two years or more report that it helped them improve sales (source). Many of the platforms have created “shoppable” ad units that make it easier than ever for audiences to buy on the spot. They can also now opt-in to lead forms seamlessly with little to no interruption in experience.
5. Deliver Messages Instantly
Social media moves fast. This means that an important announcement or crisis communication can be delivered to the right people as soon as it’s created. Content also has a shorter shelf-life on social – something that can be advantageous when strategy pivots or optimization opportunities are on the table.
6. Reach the Right People
Finally, a chief advantage of social marketing is the ability to target the right people and not cookie approximations. Messages can be hyper-focused by geotargeting, by behavior, or to existing customer lists – just to name a few. Of equal use is the capability to exclude audiences that a brand doesn’t want to reach. For example, current app users can be removed from a campaign focused on new installs.
In the constant battle for consumer attention and dollars, staying on top of the latest offerings and taking advantage of new capabilities on social is a good way for businesses to get a leg up against the competition.