The Impact of Social Media on Business in 2022
Social media has had a huge impact on how businesses find and communicate with their audiences.
Prior to social media, businesses had to travel to live events to find a targeted group of prospects. Unfortunately, the average cost to attend even a small business conference comes in around $1,000, making it very difficult for startups to get in front of their target audience.
Social media has transformed that by:
- Allowing startups to get in front of a targeted group of people virtually
- Changing the way businesses communicate with their audience
- Replacing business cards (which often end up in the trash) by popping up in your audience’s feed
- Making it easy for businesses to provide value upfront prior to asking anything from a prospect
The Value of Social Media
Considering that 3.5 billion people (about half the world’s population) are on social media daily, it’s not surprising that 73% of marketers agree that social media is somewhat or very effective in their business strategy:That said, social media doesn’t impact your business overnight. In fact, building a presence and seeing the ROI will likely take years. However, if you use social media correctly, it can build long-term relationships that will transcend any ads you might run.
8 Ways that Social Media Impacts Your Business
In this post, you’ll learn not only the impact of social media marketing on small businesses but also how the most successful brands in the world leverage it with simple examples and actionable takeaways.
Table of Contents:
1) Allows Businesses to Become Omni-Present
The average person today has about eight social media accounts (nine for people aged 16-24). If your brand is present on even a few of those platforms, you will appear to exist “everywhere” in that person’s life.
You’ve probably heard of the rule of seven, which states that prospects need to see a brand’s message seven times prior to purchasing. That number is likely much higher in 2022, as people encounter over 5,000 branding messages in a day. Therefore, social media is an amazing tool to help your brand rack up views and gain better brand awareness.Here at Single Grain, we tripled our traffic from 2017-2018 by using an omnichannel approach. A large part of that approach involved repurposing content with social media:
We also spent a lot of time testing various types of content and posting natively on each platform.
For example, we do a variety of pre-recorded and live videos, as well as written posts, plus we leverage Single Grain’s CEO Eric’s personal social accounts to help us gain traction:
Even without paying for ads, platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter still give decent organic reach, especially if your employees and friends are sharing and liking your content.
2) Increases Personalization
A major impact of social media in today’s business world is the new level of personalization that brands can achieve: One third of marketers claim that developing a more personalized experience is a priority. Additionally, 81% of consumers appreciate brands that get to know them and understand when it is and isn’t appropriate to sell to them. With social media, it’s easy to slide into your prospect’s daily activities unobtrusively. That helps you develop a more personal interaction, as you can serve them ads depending on their interests and previous interactions.
For example, this HubSpot ad was shown after someone had looked into CRM software but not purchased it:
The image itself, which effectively conveys the product’s value, appears to be a simple cell phone picture. As most of your friends’ images on Facebook are not professional, the cell phone shot helps HubSpot blend in with your those posts rather than stand out as a slick advertisement. It gives the brand a much more personalized and humanized appearance.
Another feature that is helping many businesses stand out are messenger bots (primarily on Facebook and Twitter). Used correctly, these bots have the potential to bring personalization to another level. Why?
Chatbots are also a much less crowded channel than email:
By appearing next to messages from friends and family, your prospects will begin to see you in a more personal light.
But you have to be smart about your chatbot use. In this example above, only the first message is an automated one. If the message recipient is actually a bot, they wouldn’t reply. If a person does reply, it triggers a human being to take over the communication. Chatbots can get annoying if the bot can’t answer your prospect’s questions, so make sure that humans are available to jump on!
In addition, this company doesn’t use the chatbot to sell anything at the start. The conversation is directed toward understanding what the prospect wants and needs. Notice that during the chat the sales rep also mentions a piece of content that the prospect shared, which furthers the personalization.
3) Generates More Loyalty
Social media has had another positive impact on businesses: It helps them generate more loyalty. The first way that businesses can do this is by creating their own page on one or more social networks and encouraging interaction. The best part here? The customer then posted it on Twitter, generated just under 600 likes, and the brand retweeted it! By sharing your customer’s posts, social media allows you to cultivate a loyal following as you can see how customers use the product after the sale. The love for your product becomes contagious and before you know it, you have hundreds of brand evangelists. Another amazing way social media allows us to build a loyal following is by creating private groups. Noah Kagan of Sumo believes that building a platform on social media is one of the best ways to grow a loyal following. Social platforms already have your customer’s attention. It breaks down the barrier of trying to make them open an email or click on a link because they’re already right there. One of the keys to creating a truly loyal following is consistency over time. Social media is also a great way to build a loyal following and then transition them into a channel you own such as email.
4) Increases Industry Collaboration
Social media can significantly impact businesses that rely on growth through collaboration. Influencer marketing is perhaps the most common form of collaboration and is also extremely effective: 65% of marketers say that their influencer marketing budget will increase in the upcoming year: For example, GymShark has been leveraging influencer marketing with great success on TikTok. However, social media is more than just a platform for influencer marketing. It also allows brands to frictionlessly collaborate and expand their audiences by simply sharing a post. Without social media, collaboration is much more involved and usually requires either sending out a dedicated email to a partner’s list or even hosting a webinar. This is particularly useful for startup websites looking to earn traffic. My Ignite My Site marketing blog is a great example of this – the website grew through interviews with influencers who then shared the content on social media. In fact, 73% of the traffic we earn still comes from social media!
5) Adds Credibility to Your Brand
If someone is researching a business prior to making a purchase, one of the first places they’ll probably check is the brand’s social media accounts to see if they have any discounts or just to make sure that they’re still active. Prospects can also see your fans and likes, which increases your business’s credibility. Social media is a great way to help generate reviews, since your customers are already accustomed to using social platforms like Facebook. To further increase reviews, consider sending emails to your customers asking them to leave a review, and be sure to include links to your social accounts. Post it to your website as well. Social media also allows businesses to take control over reputation management. Even if you have a dissatisfied customer, potential customers can see how you respond to the situation. This is important because 30% of people view businesses that respond to online reviews in a positive light.
6) Increases Referrals
One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it’s a virtual word-of-mouth platform. If you are like 71% of other consumers, you will buy a product based on social media referrals at some point in time. There are a number of businesses, like Dropbox and Evernote, that were built on referrals. So how can you increase referrals? Start by offering an amazing service and make every customer a raving fan. If you already have an amazing product or service, you can leverage social media by running contests. Unfortunately contests like “share to win” have become banned on Facebook. That said, you can still run contests that allow you to ask for likes, messages or comments. And they work – even if you’re a B2B company. While these engagement numbers might not be as high as some contests, it helps keep his fanbase active and looking at his posts. The giveaway prizes (such as Tim Ferriss’ and Ryan Holiday’s books) were targeted at people who were a good fit with his brand, rather than just generating random likes from the public.
7) Helps You Build a Personal Brand
Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, building a personal brand can be valuable. In marketing, experts like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin and Larry Kim all leverage social media to grow their brand. Most of Neil’s content are educational videos. He presents potentially complicated concepts in simple, easy-to-understand formats that anyone can take actionable tips from. He also posts very consistently with about 4-6 posts per week. On LinkedIn, he always posts more videos than text-based posts, probably because this platform prefers to show video and live content over text-based content. Even if you’re using a scheduling tool like Buffer, make sure that you still check on your posts once they’re live. If you check out Neil’s Twitter feed, you see that almost all of his posts are short motivational quotes with some links mixed in:
8) Helps You Gauge Audience Feedback
After launching a new product or service, the first thing you want to know is how people perceive your new launch. Is the product easy to use? Is it missing any important features? Did you list it at a good price point? While it’s not uncommon to have complaints from people who don’t even buy, social media is a great way to start a conversation with your audience and gauge their satisfaction.