Social media has helped and continues to help many businesses primarily through 3 factors: by sharing valuable content regularly; paying close attention to consumers; and personally engaging with them.

If a user posts a question on a brand’s Facebook or Twitter page, the expectation is that it must be addressed immediately. That’s the value of social media – it’s personal and immediate.

Moreover, as social commerce continues to grow, personal recommendations online play an important role in the buyer’s journey. Today, it’s crucial step in the decision making and purchase process. So this means staying on the right side of the social media population could have positive financial implications.

With social media becoming more commercial, opportunities are plentiful for brands willing to invest time, effort and creativity into their social media presence. Let’s take a look at 3 ways social media can benefit your business.

Data collected by Statista shows that 81% of the U.S. population has a social media profile, up over 100% since 2009.

Embracing new avenues to reach audiences

The consumer landscape today is in a constant flux, with habits and preferences rapidly evolving with the times. As a result, businesses need to keep up and be on top of new opportunities to reach and influence audiences.  Using social media for market research is a good way to get started.

Let’s for example take Snap (previously and widely known as Snapchat). Snap for business has slowly been picking up steam due to its rich and frenzied customer engagement and video consumption. Their users are considered to be more engaged with the platform, treating it like an extension of their own personal brand, rather than a social network, where they can upload content regularly.

Snap is known for its formidable presence and affiliation with Millennials. If this is a demographic that you are interested in reaching, you should certainly think about embracing this new opportunity to connect new audiences.

Providing dedicated customer support

It’s safe to say then that one of the biggest advantages of social media is that it can be used to provide direct, cheap and satisfying customer support.

Research by author Jay Baer reports that 42% of consumers surveyed use social media to place complaints. Of those, the majority expect a response within 60 minutes or less. Click To Tweet

Social media provides a space for customer support where consumers can expect quick responses and personalised attention to solve their problems. A dedicated team or individual can be assigned to handle this specifically. Most businesses worry about having complaints on their main social media profiles. If that’s the case, brands such as the online clothing retailer, ASOS have dedicated profiles just for customer service.

When a customer does share his or her problem on your wall publicly, they key is to be professional and polite in your response. Respond publicly and offer to take a more detailed response offline or to a private message.

Recruiting top talent

Today’s marketplace is extremely competitive and finding qualified and professional talent can be challenging and costly. Social media can be an effective solution to finding skilled professionals across different industries, while avoiding headhunting fees.

With social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter becoming more commercially inclined as a place of business, and readily at your disposal, here are some things you can do to attract qualified talent:

  • You can promote your company vision so you can attract potential hires that share the same values that you do.
  • You can get your employees more involved with the company’s social image and use the friend networks of existing employees to help extend social reach.
  • You can share the positive experiences and achievements by showcasing your company culture in real life. This serves as free PR and impresses applicants who are looking for jobs.

The Secret to Social Media for Business

You want to know the real secret? It takes work. Like any other marketing tool, it requires a goal, a plan and of course, dedicated action. Here are some pointers to wrap things up here, but to help you get you started:

  • Bury the myth that social media marketing isn’t productive for business
  • Always start small and focus on three social networks at the most
  • Define your target audience
  • Add value by sharing amazing content, not just your own
  • Be consistent in your brand voice, tone and design
  • Stay organized with a social media management tool

If you stick to this, you will soon see your work paying off. The reality is social media marketing is here to stay, so if you do your bit, it could prove to be one of most effective tools for your business growth.

About the Author: Bassem Saber is one of the managing partners and founders at Igloo, a digital marketing solutions company based in Dubai.