In 2014, Social Media Examiner reported that 72% of marketers said they were “using social media to develop loyal fans”, while 92% said that their forays into social media “generated more exposure for their businesses.” By 2018, it’s estimated that a third of the world’s population will be using some form of social media.
Brands need to keep up with what social media is doing now, and keep developing their strategy for the months and years to come, in order to most financially benefit.
Building brand loyalty
As of June 2015, 91% of retail brands were using at least two social media channels, so it’s likely that if your business isn’t using social media yet, your competitors probably are. You don’t have to be on every platform; in fact you shouldn’t, but your brand needs to be where your audience is.
Social media is used to increase overall brand loyalty. With social media being such a prevalent touch point for users with brands, it makes sense to build the relationship and brand loyalty here. It’s mutually beneficial too. By enriching your customer’s experience of your brand, you gain valuable customer insights to help you best target buyers.
Tracking changes to increase your ROI
Social media is always evolving. As are the platforms that users choose to interact with. Always remember that not all social platforms are here to stay. If MySpace can go out of fashion, it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibility that Facebook or Twitter might too one day.
While Twitter’s user growth in recent years has practically been non existent, it still beating sites like Snapchat, with brands seeing a 64% ROI for Twitter compared to just 2% on Snapchat. Knowing which brands are worth your business’s time will avoid you wasting resources for no return.
Different platforms also have varying benefits and audiences, and their value to brands changes depending on how users interact. LinkedIn, Facebook (who also own Instagram), and Twitter are three of the major players in the social media industry today – both for b2c and b2b businesses. For the moment, “while LinkedIn is strictly business and Facebook is working for consumer marketers, Twitter is the social network that all businesses, of any size, can use.”
Keep up with trends, but don’t always interact
Brands with the best social media presence are the ones that know when to engage with trending topics and, more importantly, when not to. As the extreme backlash against branded tributes to Prince recently demonstrated, your brand needs to have a firm and up to date understanding of social media etiquette, otherwise your attempts at tapping into the cultural zeitgeist might very well backfire. As a rule, avoiding creating an association with your brand that would otherwise not have a natural connection.
Your brand can’t afford to stop learning about social media for no other reason than you could easily become irrelevant by not changing with the times. But investment now will help you reap the benefits of brand loyalty, quality engagement and sales for years to come.