Today, there are over 3 billion people who use Internet and 2 billion of these people have active social media accounts. It means that social media sites are accessed by a large number of people. In addition, social media companies also have access to the personal data of these people. These are the two biggest reasons that enable an efficient use of social media by various business houses to increase their client base and sales.
Our current business and social environment is highly interactive and dynamic. Sellers can reach customers (and vice-versa) anytime anywhere using B2C and C2B e-commerce and m-commerce websites. Social networks prove particularly beneficial to m-commerce.
Social media can help businesses in the following ways :
1. Provides information about customers :
According to an estimate, each day more than 500 million tweets are uploaded, about 4.5 billion likes are made over Facebook and 95 million photos, videos or audios are uploaded on Instagram. All this content can be used effectively to generate valuable data regarding customer preferences, their likes, dislikes relating to products and brands. Business houses on their own or by using other professional companies can engage in social listening in order to generate data and use the same in making business decisions. For example, Hoot suite Insights is one such company that specializes in social listening. Hoot suite helps other organisations in understanding conversations happening around their brand by using their real-time social analytics solutions. This helps organisations in understanding the sentiments and preferences of customers.
2.Increases brand awareness :
Most business houses are now turning to social media and making their presence felt. It has been found in studies that customers who follow certain brands are more loyal than those customers who do not. To increase their client base and sales, businesses build fancy social media pages and accounts and also carry out quizzes and contests from time to time. These efforts help in creating awareness about their product and its benefits. Businesses may also use social media platforms to remove misconceptions and doubts about their products.
3. Runs targeted advertisements :
When businesses run ads over TV or radio,they are sent to the entire public or audience. However, businesses can use social media to run ads that are targeted at a particular kind of audience based on their search history, likes, dislikes, location, age, job title, gender,age, etc. For example, if a company that deals in fitness equipment wants to run targeted ads, it can approach a social media company such as Twitter or Facebook to run ads for those social media users who have liked pages related to health and fitness. Also, nowadays, people have made it their business to create memes and other interesting videos on Facebook. In such a business, they create videos and insert ads that cannot be skipped in between these videos. For example, Twitter handles uploads videos of fascinating animal behavior and may host ads regarding the conservation of animals and their habitat sponsored by governments or the forest department. Another instance could be ads given by beauty product companies in the videos of some beauty and make-up pages or blogs.
4. Generate leads :
Advertising through social media helps in the generation of prospective customers who bring in business and thus lead to greater profits.
5. Provides rich customer experiences :
Studies have shown that businesses having presence over social media (from where they target customers and over which customers can share their feedback and queries) generate greater profits than the businesses having zero or low social media presence.
6. Increases web traffic :
When a social media user views and likes a particular ad, they usually click on given links in the videos or in the content which then redirects the user to respective websites where they can read and analyse the written content regarding services and products offered. This means greater website traffic which, in turn, leads to more purchases. Thus, it helps in generating greater profit for the business. In addition, more number of visitors over the web also leads to better search ranking of the business’s website.
7.Provides information regarding competitors actions :
A business can use social listening to gather intelligence regarding products, services, events and business strategies of its competitors. A careful analysis of this data can be done by the business to offer those features in its products or services that have been missed out by competitors.
8. Increases the pace of sharing content :
Social media is an effective tool to swiftly share information and content regarding business offerings. The term ‘viral’ is often used to indicate that a particular media item, such as a video or a picture, has been spread or shared extensively in a short period of time. If businesses develop and share interesting, thought-provoking ads that capture the imagination or attention of the audience, ads may go viral ad generate higher sales for their products.
9. Helps in geo-targeting :
Geo-targeting means targeting people according to their location. A business can display its ads to customers belonging to a particular location. For example, Google Ad-Sense and Ad Words location targeting allow the ads of a business to appear in geographic locations selected by the business. The business or the ad sponsor can select countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location, or location groups, where the business ad should be run.