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What's the best social media for business?

Social media has taken the internet and much of the world by storm. But what remains unclear to many is whether or not social media is going to become a fad that dies out as quickly as it arrived, or if it's in fact the wave of the future, destined to be here long after its creators are gone. As far as your business is concerned, it's an important question to ask in determining how much effort, and money, for that matter, should be spent on social media marketing. 

A recent ProOpinion survey asked people if their employers had departments devoted to social media, search engine optimization or digital marketing. Of all the respondents, 78 percent said none of the above, and only 16 percent said their employer had a department for growing their social media presence. This could likely indicate one of two things - either companies are outsourcing their social media ventures or many remain unconvinced that social media holds substantial potential for marketing with a profitable return on investment. 

"92% of marketers think social media is important for business."

Whatever the case, a report published by Social Media Examiner in 2014 said that 92 percent of marketers think that social media is important for their business, according to Forbes magazine. More than half of the marketers that had used social media for three years or more have seen an increase in sales. So obviously there are some tangible benefits to social media marketing, and here are some of the reasons why that's the case. 

Securing your brand
Forbes reported that the more your content can be seen, the better. Having a presence on different forms of social media, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or Pinterest, increases accessibility, and that means a wider audience will be seeing your brand. Since many people read news feeds and have accounts on more than one form of social media, you'll increase the chances that they'll spread your brand even further. What's more, being available on social media means better communication with customers which is key to keeping your brand current and appealing. 

In addition, having a solid presence on social media will help with SEO. Hootsuite reported that a greater presence on social media, coupled with web-centered content, will increase your brand's ranking on search engines as well. The more people share your brand on social media, the more likely it will pop up on Google when people search for something related to your business or industry. 

Social media drives sales
As your brand becomes more popular, you increase opportunities for sales. There is no arguing with this point anymore. Any content on social media, blog spots or news feeds carries the potential to turn into a direct visit to your website and a potential sale. Forbes reported that the humanization of a brand that occurs through social media channels is a huge factor in sales boosts. One of the classic techniques of a great salesman is the ability to connect with people. Social media allows brands to interact with people in a way that was not possible without it. Hubspot reported that lead-to-close rates are 100 percent higher with social media than with traditional outbound marketing like mail catalogs and flyers. 

Social media is an effective business marketing method.Marketing on social media exposes your business to more people than ever imagined with traditional marketing strategies. 

Valuable intelligence
Social media enables increased communication between producer and consumer. This sort of goes along with the humanization factor, but that's more about building customer rapport. With increased communication it's easier for your company to hear testimony from customers, whether it's positive or negative. Their feedback will be unique in the sense that your company doesn't have to ask for it, it's something consumers will readily provide. Many companies pester their clients with post-sales surveys to get a review of their performance. Now, companies need only monitor social media to get an idea of what people are saying about their business, products and services.

But that's not all - Hootsuite reported that social media monitoring is also good for your business to keep track of competitors. Hootsuite itself offers the ability for businesses to create search streams that will monitor competitors. Information obtained this easily can help you figure out what you can do that your competitor is not, and help strategize a way to stay ahead of the game. 

"Just 6 hours a week on twitter increases traffic overall."

It's cheap
The bottom line is that social media marketing is far cheaper than previous methods. According to Hubspot, 84 percent of marketers found that just six hours a week spent marketing on Twitter increased traffic overall. That's a little more than an hour a day during the business week that you might need to pay someone to provide a highly valuable marketing service. If it's done right, the benefits of those six hours should increase over time, which drives up the overall value of time spent. Forbes reported that even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is cheap compared to old-school advertising in newspapers, radio and television. Not to mention, you don't have to shell out cash for paper products, postage and other materials associated with classic marketing strategies. If your company internalizes the marketing process and creates a digital marketing department, you'll have to hire experts to do the marketing, but the payoff in the long run will be positive.

So regardless of whether or not you believe social media is in it for the long haul, businesses are reaping the benefits of a good social media presence.  

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