It’s difficult to find a brand that isn’t active on social media in some way, shape or form. This mass adoption makes sense when there’s so much that social can do for your brand in the short and long term.
Retail, food, entertainment and real estate are just a few industries that can benefit from having a social media presence. Brands are leveraging social media to support their lead generation and business goals, but the beauty of social media is that it encompasses several purposes.
Here are 11 social media management benefits that often fly under the radar for modern businesses.
1. Uncover industry trends in real-time
Social media is a goldmine of business intelligence. Think about the transparent nature of it. We’re able to see unfiltered, real-time conversations between consumers and brands alike. If you want to know what a brand is doing well or what customers are complaining about, it’s out there in the open.
Also, your target audience’s social activity and shared content can clue you in on industry trends. For example, Instagram hashtags such as #summerootd can highlight everything from relevant influencers and content creators to fashion trends.
You can also use social listening to tap into those trends via social conversations.
For example, Sprout has a trend reporting feature that enables you to hone in on what customers are saying about your brand. You can track key terms and hashtags associated with your business, but these mentions and hashtags represent more than online chatter.
For example, social conversations can reveal everything from customer favorites to areas where your company is falling short. A flurry of praise or customer complaints can spur you to take action based on follower feedback. In turn, brands can come up with real-time solutions and products that their customers will buzz about.
2. Comprehensive competitive analysis
Perhaps one of the most valuable social media business benefits is the ability to study your competitors. You can use competitor analysis tools to help you understand your competition.
What are they currently promoting? What sort of ads are they running? How is your content strategy different from theirs?
By conducting social competitive analysis, you can uncover opportunities to experiment with your own content or advertising.
For example, maybe you notice that your competitors are crushing it with Facebook Ads but their Instagram presence is lacking. In turn, you might explore influencer marketing or user-generated content campaigns for the sake of standing out from the crowd.
You can look at your competitors’ social performance in a cinch with Sprout’s tools. Our competitor and sentiment analysis reports allow you to monitor growth and engagement to ensure that you aren’t falling behind.
Through this analysis, you can also discover which pieces of your own content are earning the most engagement. Understanding your top-performing content is key to understanding how to break through the noise in your industry.
3. Provide better customer service
Whether it’s listening to feedback or addressing specific concerns, social media gives you the ability to provide quick, quality customer care. According to the Sprout Social Index™, 53% of brands say customer service contributes to the organization’s social strategy.
Unlike phone calls or emails, social customer service is quick and to-the-point. But it still allows brands to have meaningful, forward-facing conversations with customers.
Prospects, customers and competitors alike can see how you interact with your audience online. Putting positive interactions front-and-center is a huge plus for any business.
Social media also provides a prime channel to gather customer feedback. Responding to questions and concerns signals that you’re invested in serving your audience.
But how do you know if you’re truly making an impact on your customers? Sprout can help you measure the quality and success of your social customer care. Our suite of Social Listening tools includes sentiment tracking to monitor your brand health based on positive or negative social mentions. An influx of complaints or questions could signal big-picture problems with your customer success strategy. On the opposite side, a flurry of positive sentiment could indicate your brand is meeting or exceeding expectations.
Monitoring sentiment can also give you insight into what your audience enjoys seeing, which leads us to our next social media benefit for businesses: creating customer content.
Start your free Sprout trial
4. Curate customer content and stories in a snap
The ability to quickly share customer content and stories is another great social media business benefit. Customer photos and success stories go hand-in-hand with higher engagement and conversion rates.
For example, monitoring your mentions and tags can help you uncover positive customer interactions that you can share with the rest of your followers. Many brands and retailers even curate customer photos to use throughout their marketing campaigns.
This is why having a branded hashtag is so important. By encouraging your customers to tag their content, you can uncover shareable posts that your followers will love while also making a connection with your customers.
For example, the fashion brand Pretty Little Thing is known for embracing user generated content and has a branded hashtag customers can use. They encourage customers to post their outfits and tag the brand for a chance to be featured on Pretty Little Thing’s page and/or Instagram Story.
Social proof in the form of customer content not only shows that you have satisfied customers, but also provides your brand with a sense of authenticity.
5. Positioning power for your brand
Simply having an active presence on a social channel represents positioning power for your business. Let’s say your closest competitor has an Instagram account that’s booming with customer photos, Stories and sleek snapshots showing off their product.
On the flip side, you have an Instagram profile that’s gathering cobwebs. Not a good look, right?
Consistently publishing on channels relevant to your business signals that you’re active and open to new customers.
You can also have positioning power of social media in search engines when someone looks up your brand. Your Facebook or Instagram could very well be your business’ first impression on a customer versus your website. This again speaks to the importance of maintaining an active presence.
6. Build backlinks and a better search engine presence
The impact of social media on search engine optimization (SEO) has been debated for years.
That said, the relatively recent concept of linkless backlinks signals that there is a correlation between social media and search performance.
Shares and click-throughs via social represent positive search signals to Google, making social a sizable traffic source. You can track your social traffic with tools like Google Analytics.
Don’t neglect social media as a content distribution channel. A popular piece of content scores hundreds of likes and shares can drive serious referral traffic to your site. Plus a piece of content that ranks high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) can bring in traffic too. You can optimize your social scheduling with Sprout’s patented ViralPost technology that ensures you’re utilizing optimal send times.
7. Appeal to younger, social-savvy customers
To say that social media has transformed the traditional advertising landscape would be an understatement. Social media is an advertising channel capable of reaching customers of all ages. According to social media demographics, the vast majority of users on Instagram are under the age of 30.
Younger audiences like Gen Z are shaking up marketing by responding less and less to traditional advertising. Younger customers are growing up with social media and making the rules for their online experience on their own terms. Brands will need to adapt beyond in-your-face commercials and ads.
As younger consumers hop from platform to platform, brands should expect to experiment with new ad channels. For example, many major companies have joined the metaverse, hosting brand activations to connect with their audience in an innovative way.
Also, the popularity of user generated content, influencers and content creators highlights the authentic, experience-focused advertising that appeals to younger consumers—which leads us to our next social media benefit: it humanizes your brand.
8. Humanize your brand
According to the Sprout Social Index™, consumers are seeking authenticity when it comes to brands’ social media content. Businesses today want to show off their personality. Many brands have benefited from dropping the hyper-professional “suit and tie” vibe in lieu of getting personal with customers on social media.
Social media is all about connection, offering brands a unique opportunity to display their human side from their employees to their values.
Chubbies is a great example of a brand with a humorous, meme-heavy social presence. Although this sort of approach to social isn’t for every brand, Chubbies understands their target audience, which helps them drive and maintain engagement.
According to Index data, company alignment with personal values is 74% more important to consumers than it was in 2021, so brands can benefit from showcasing their values through philanthropy and activism.
We’re in an age where half of consumers want to see brands take a stand on social and political issues. Brands like Patagonia do a brilliant job of highlighting their human side.
Although the clothing brand has a history of activism, founder Yvon Chouinard recently relinquished ownership of the company in an effort to support environmentalism.
Hey, friends, we just gave our company to planet Earth. OK, it’s more nuanced than that, but we’re closed today to celebrate this new plan to save our one and only home. We’ll be back online tomorrow.https://t.co/fvRFDgOzVZ
— Patagonia (@patagonia) September 14, 2022
Simply showing off your colleagues and coworkers is another easy way to put a face to your brand, much like Sprout does with our #TeamSprout series.
9. More top-of-funnel leads
Securing more top-of-funnel leads is another key social media business benefit. Billions of people are active on social media daily and there’s a large chance your audience is already online. Whether through paid ads or content promotion, you can reel in more top-of-funnel leads by raising awareness for your brand.
Having a social presence introduces people to what you’re selling and represents another way to score more sales. Even if these leads don’t make purchases directly through social, raising awareness could lead them to becoming full-fledged buyers later on. After all, they can’t buy until they know your brand exists.
10. Stronger talent acquisition
More than half of marketers say finding experienced talent is their number one challenge this year, but social recruiting can make it easier.
Applicants are using social to network and conduct research on companies. Many candidates also follow brands to stay on top of potential job opportunities.
Leveraging social media platforms allows for stronger talent acquisition because it widens your sphere of applicants. Employee advocacy can make your company even more attractive to candidates.
When current employees rave about your company on networks like LinkedIn, it strengthens your brand’s reputation. When a company publishes a “we’re hiring” post on social media, many candidates use social to research the brand’s culture, values, etc.
11. Extend your media and investor relations efforts
Social media has transformed so many industries, and communications professionals are familiar with the impact of these online spaces. Brands aren’t limited to traditional mediums like radio and print newspapers—you can use social media to supercharge your media relations and investor relations strategies.
Journalists use networks like Twitter for finding sources and potential stories, so meet them where they are. Follow and engage with journalists who report for your publications of interest to build rapport. Then when the opportunity arises, you can pitch to them.
Along with connecting with journalists and publications, you can bolster company announcements and accomplishments through social posts to catch the eye of investors. Similar to job candidates and reporters, investors use social media to learn about brands.
Disadvantages of social media
Okay, maybe we’re a bit biased when it comes to talking up the benefits of social media. But, it would be remiss of us to not discuss the disadvantages of social media management, so here are a few to consider:
Social media often gets a bad rap for being a time sink (many of us are guilty of scrolling for hours on end). Similarly, it can take some time to reap the benefits of social media management.
For example, measuring your ROI from social media can be difficult versus more straightforward marketing channels (think: PPC, email marketing, etc).
Although using social media for marketing, media or investor strategies is a long-game, it’s well worth the wait.
The beauty of social media is the ability to reach and communicate with a plethora of people online, but it can transform into a disadvantage if you’re not careful. Brands need to practice reputation management to please their customers online and in real-life.
One well-intentioned post can quickly lead to a brand crisis in a matter of seconds. This is why mastering the pillars of brand reputation management is so important.
What are the biggest benefits of social media for your business?
A social media presence has become an expectation for brands rather than an exception to the rule. And we totally agree that businesses shouldn’t latch onto social media “just because.”
Instead, businesses should assess the potential benefits of social media themselves based on specific, actionable goals. Although the impact of the benefits above varies from brand to brand, there’s no denying the business implications of having a social presence.
To fully understand the opportunities of social, sign up for a one-month trial.