Within the past 10 years, we have witnessed social media platforms rise from channels used to connect and communicate with friends and family, into essential business tools mandatory for success in the contemporary market. Today, almost every business and organization is using social media to market their products or services to their target audience. If you happen to not be using these platforms, maybe you have not yet realized the benefits and importance of launching social media pages and campaigns in order to elevate your business to the next level.

Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have become marketing monsters, giving businesses an efficient and effective method to engage with their target audiences. Most importantly, these platforms offer a free way to reach this audience regardless of place and time, with payment options also available to increase the length and depth of the reach. Here are a few points of why a social media presence is vital in helping your business find success in today’s global market.

  1. Brand Recognition

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get your brand out there, and to make it easy for your customers and target audience to discover and connect with you is by having a social media presence. For example, an avid Instagram user may come across your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. If your content was appealing to them they may follow you, and once they do they will see your content often on their timeline/newsfeed. This familiarity makes them more likely to trust your brand and purchase your products and/or services, especially in the long run. There are also stats, which show that consumers who have a good social media experience with a brand are more likely to tell their friends and family about it, and consequently, they may also follow you as well.

  1. Brand Loyalty

A report published by Texas Tech University in 2015 gave insight that businesses actively present on social media outlets saw a much higher number of loyal consumers. While engaging with your customers on social media, you can expect to increase customer retention and brand loyalty. It is smart to post and interact with your customers on a daily basis, placing importance on remaining consistent and being available for them. It is important to note that the more unique and engaging your posts are the more likes and shares they will receive which ultimately leads to more traffic to your website and an increase in sales.

  1. Two-way communication channels

Any company chasing real success knows that social media outlets are more than just platforms where they can push their products and services. These outlets also provide the company with a two-way channel that provides you the opportunity to boost relationships with your customers and get their feedback. For instance, social media makes it possible for you to engage with customers in real time through chats (direct messaging), which is something that couldn’t be done through traditional advertising methods. Furthermore, customers can comment what they like and what they don’t like on your posts. They can also engage in communications with each other in the comments section. This will give you a great opportunity to learn about your customers and their tendencies so you can better market towards them. Ultimately these comments, and back and forth communications, will give you a good idea of what is working and what needs to be changed.

  1. Increased Rate of Conversion

Regardless of which social media outlet you’re using, each post you make is an opportunity to gain leads and have them convert. Whether it be a picture, video, or a blog entry that you share, each post you make offers customers an opportunity to react, and every reaction could be followed by a site or store visit, and eventually a conversion/sale. Popular outlets like Facebook and Instagram also offer insight tools that help you keep track of how many people are viewing your posts (reach) and how many of them actually reacted to the post by following the link provided or by commenting, liking or sharing the post. If you’re a B2C or B2B company, social media outlets can be a very effective tool for gaining new leads and moving traffic through your sales outlet (ex. website).

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility

Because social media outlets offer a two-way communication platform between the organization and the consumers, it’s a great way for the organization to identify the problems their customers are facing in the community and offer solutions to those problems in order to boost the relationship with customers and with the community as a whole. These aren’t typically problems with the company’s products or services, but problems people face within the community. For example, a school Instagram account comments on a “sports gear” (ex. Nike) post stating their funds have been cut and they can’t afford new uniforms for the ball team. The company can publicly respond to this comment saying they will provide free uniforms for the team. This will positively effect the company’s reputation and will build a strong foundation for a long-term relationship with the community and consumer base. It a way to show your consumers that you truly care about them.

  1. Increases Website Traffic and Google Ranking

Not only do social media outlets make it easy for you to funnel followers to your website, but the more people who share or interact with your posts, the higher you’ll rank on search engines like Google. With social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, its easy to use their tools to target specific audiences or groups based on demographic, location/region, and even based on what they search. For example, on Instagram you can add tags to your pictures, videos and even story so that those posts pop up in the search based on the keyword used. You can also tag posts with a location so the post will pop up on the explore page for those in the region or those searching posts based on region.

It important to keep in mind that although using social media outlets to build leads, target specific audiences, and convert sales is essential, it is still a long-term approach and success comes to those who remain consistent, posting rich and captivating content regularly.