Social media used to be a fad, something the cool, trendy or young folks would use to interact in new ways, but that companies could never really benefit from. Two thirds of the internets 3 billion users have active social media accounts. These social platforms have now become marketing behemoths that present businesses with valuable data about their customers at no cost (in most cases). Social media is no longer an option for businesses that wish to succeed.

You gain valuable customer insights

Huge amounts of data are rendered by customers in real time on a daily basis via social media. Behind these overwhelming numbers is a treasure trove of information about your customers—their likes, dislikes, who they are, how they feel about your brand.

Engaging in social media allows you to gather relevant information about your potential and existing customers so you can make better decisions for your products or services.

TIP | Social media is no longer an option for businesses that wish to succeed.

Boost brand awareness and loyalty

Did you know that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. Social media makes your business easier to connect with and in return you're more likely to increase customer retention and devotion. If they can find and connect with you they will engage with you.

Run targeted ads

Running ads on social media are a low-cost option to promote your business and distribute content quickly. Social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to run ads that target specific audiences, based on segments like location,company, job title, age, gender, behaviors, interests and more. And again, you can track your social ads in real time, with quantifiable data collected.

Spawn higher conversion rates

Through regular interaction via social media, businesses can increase customer retention rates by being attentive and having timely customer service. 61% of businesses engaged in social media report a positive impact on revenue growth.

Provide rich customer experiences

Nowadays customers expect you to have a social media presence. Two thirds of customers refer to social media outlets for customer service. The expectation is fast responses and 24/7 support. Those businesses that deliver win out. Those that don't feel the sting of their followers and the negative perception that can quickly build from that.

Increase website traffic and search ranking

Every business wishes to increase their website traffic. One sure-fire way to do so is by using social media. Social media directs people to your site, to the relevant information they seek, but the added bonus is that the increase in traffic then translates into a higher ranking in search engines.

Share content faster and easier

Through social media you are able to instantly reach customers with the latest and most relevant data with the click of a "share" or a "like". Gone are the challenges marketers faced when trying to share content with customers in the shortest time possible. A simple "share" on your brand's social network accounts and you reach thousands of customers instantly and effortlessly.

Geotarget content

Using the built-in tools in social media platforms, geo-targeting is an effective way of sending your message to specific audiences based on their location. You can communicate the right information to the right audience based on geographical and demographic parameters. You can also use geo-targeting to find relevant conversations about your brand.

Build relationships

Think of social media as a two-way channel that allows you to have the opportunity to enrich relationships with your customers. For example, social media allows a car company to create a conversation with buyers and hence a relationship with customers before, during, and after they have purchased the vehicle. Traditional and old school advertising could never achieve this, or certainly not so easily and cost efficiently.

Get started with social media and spread the word

Jump on the social media band wagon today! Use it to your benefit to help grow your business and learn about your customers, engage with them, and expand your target audience, reaching more customers that are more relevant to you.