Your guide to a successful online business!

It’s hard to believe, but 57% of businesses in the UK don’t use social media to increase brand recognition and to engage with their audience. That’s surprising considering we live in a society obsessed with social media.

There’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Instagram and so many more. All of these impact the way we do business. So how is it that there are still businesses that don’t realise just how influential and far-reaching social media has become for consumers?

Social media is far more than a popularity contest over who gets more likes and retweets. The sooner business owners understand what social media is about and how being an antisocial brand can harm their reputation and sales, the faster they can get on board and reap the benefits.

This article isn’t about the benefits of using social media for business but about the main reasons why not using it can actually hurt your brand.

1. People will have no idea how awesome you are

So you have managed to get your business up and running, and now have a loyal customer base. Your customers are satisfied with your products and support and are happy to share their buying experiences. While sharing positive customer testimonials on your site is great for reassuring prospects who are visiting your site, imagine how many more you would receive if you were to have a Facebook page where anyone who has ever purchased something from you could share their experience buying from you.

Imagine how many other people would discover your business and how great you are at what you do. If you’re not using social media, your potential customers will never know how amazing your business is, and you can be sure your competitors will take advantage of it.

2. You won’t know what customers are saying about you online

Around half of UK consumers offer feedback to businesses through social channels, according to research. Why? Because it’s convenient, it’s one of the effective ways of getting action from a business and it reaches more people.

Now, if you don’t have a social media presence on the networks where your customers are talking about your brand and sharing their experience buying from you, how can you possibly know what they’re saying? How can you monitor and deal with negative comments and demonstrate your willingness to help and to improve your business? You can’t unless you’re there.

3. You’re missing out on an efficient method to engage with your target audience

Social media is about engaging your audience, about creating a dialogue and about building a meaningful relationship with your customers, something that’s difficult to achieve with traditional advertising.

With social media you have the opportunity to build a community around your brand and turn it into a loyal following. Later on, they might even become advocates of your brand. You can’t do that unless you’re present and engaging with them on their favourite social platforms.

When you’re there, you can listen to what they have to say about your brand, you can keep them updated with the latest product updates and promotions, you can ask questions to find out more about their interests and needs, you can even run contests and give out prizes.

But if you lack a social media presence, you’ll have to work much harder to engage your customer base.

4. It’s much harder to build a reputation and become an authority in your field

You may be publishing insightful content on your blog or creating great guides, case studies and webinars but if they’re just sitting on your site, waiting to be discovered, few people will actually read it.

If you want to build a reputation for being an expert in your particular field of business, you’ll have a hard time achieving that without a social media presence. When you regularly create and share purposeful content that your fans and followers are interested in, you’re building a reputation as an industry thought-leader. On the other hand, when the content is buried somewhere on your site, no one will be able to read it and see just how knowledgeable you are.

5. People won’t know about a new product launch or a big sale

The top two reasons why people follow brands on social media are to learn about discounts and promotions, and to get the latest product information. When you’re not on Facebook or LinkedIn, or on whichever channel your audience is on, you won’t be able to let them know that you’ve launched a new product or that you’re having a big sale.

You won’t be able to ask them to sign up for a free trial in order to test a new product and share their feedback. Not unless they end up on your site somehow. Sure, you can try spreading the word with a press release, but the chances it will be read by your prospects are slim.

6. You’re losing sales

Here are some stats to consider:

What this means is that non-social customer acquisition tactics are losing ground. Now, more than ever, consumers’ buying behaviour is influenced by what they consume through social media. When people are looking to buy a product or a service and researching their options, they’ll expect to find your business on social media. If you’re not present, they might see it as a red flag. Plus, how can they know if your products are any good, or whether they should trust buying from you?

7. You won’t know what your competitors are doing

If you don’t have a social media presence, that doesn’t mean your competitors don’t either. Chances are they’re investing their time and resources into building a reputation and a community around their brand. Take a look at what they’re doing on social media and see what you might be missing out on.

These are just a few reasons why not having a presence on social media can have a negative impact on your business, your reputation and your revenue. Are you sure you want to miss out on all the benefits of being a social brand? Don’t know which social platform to use for your business? To make an informed decision, make sure you read our post on all the major social networks and how to choose the right one for your business.

Your turn now. Do you have a social media presence? In what ways has it helped you build awareness on your brand and grow your revenue?

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