Why is social media important for businesses in 2021?
The year 2020 has seen a massive increase in the amount of users worldwide using social media. In fact, 47% of global internet users aged 16 to 64 have spent more time on social media in 2020 than they did in 2019. Much of this activity has been e-commerce related, as opposed to simply scrolling news and watching cat videos. In many countries, people in lockdown have been using online stores to access essential products, such as groceries, gym equipment, and entertainment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one significant factor in driving this trend, but it also points to a more long-term direction in which we will spend even more of our lives online. The rise of working from home is another factor that ties in with the increase of time spent on social media. For example, where previously we might have stopped at the supermarket on our way home from work, we’re now more likely to buy from an e-commerce provider from the comfort of our home office.
For businesses of all sizes, having a strong social media presence is absolutely critical. On social media, you can answer your customers’ questions, build strong and engaged communities, and showcase the benefits of your products and services in front of massive audiences. In 2021 and beyond, social media will play an increasingly important role in driving sales and providing customer service. It will also be essential for developing a lasting reputation for your brand.
Here, we’re going to explain how you can leverage social media marketing to grow your business in 2021 and beyond, taking advantage of the recent shift towards cloud-based working and more time spent online.
How can social media help a business grow?
As a business owner, you’ll likely be eyeing growth as your key priority for the year ahead. This is an area where smart use of social media can skyrocket your sales, while building a robust and trusted brand reputation among your target audience. So let’s take a look at some ways social media can help a business grow.
Drive traffic to your website
One of the most important aspects of growing your business via social media is driving enough targeted traffic to your website or online store. But of course this is easier said than done. There are numerous ways that social media can help you boost your traffic. Some are organic, while others are paid. First, we’ll examine how to boost your organic traffic.
Amplify your content
Having exceptional content is the heart and soul of successful online marketing campaigns. Whenever your target audience shares your content, it helps spread your message and build awareness for your brand.
The more relevant your content is, the more likely it is to be seen by the right audience, and, in the process, attract more traffic to your website. But with so many millions of social media posts out there, how do you make sure yours gets seen?
One key way is to optimise your social media content. This means making it higher quality and more relevant to your target audience – to provide a great customer experience.
You should make sure your social media posts are as engaging and shareable as possible. People like to engage with posts that trigger aspects of psychology, such as emotions, values and sense of self identity. As with much of marketing, it all comes down to knowing your customer. Understand what matters most to your audience, then tailor your social posts around it.
Making good use of hashtags, compelling images, GIFs or video, and calls to action in your social posts will also help to amplify them further.
Boost authority via social
Often it's not the social media activity itself that matters, but what happens after your content get shared. Having great posts and social visibility can help you attract backlinks from authoritative sources, which boosts the authority of your website or online store. To have the best chance of doing this, you should make sure your content is easily shareable, by including social links on your blog posts and case studies.
Social media can also be an effective way to get on the radar of influencers in your industry. By engaging with their social posts on a regular basis, you can get your name recognised. This creates a warmer relationship when you finally come to reach out to them to suggest a collaboration or guess posting idea. They might even share your content on their own social channels or link to your blog in their own articles. This is an essential way to get backlinks, which encourage Google to prioritise your website in search results.
Take advantage of paid ads
Organic reach is great, but there’s a major downside. It can take significant time and effort to build consistent free traffic from SEO, content and social media campaigns. To get that all-important initial traction, you might want to consider a paid advertising campaign on social media. Here are three big reasons you should consider the paid traffic option.
On almost all social media platforms, organic reach is dropping. It's not like the old days, when you could just publish a post and quickly attract loads of engagement. Now, the platforms are making businesses work harder to get attention. Of course, they want you to invest in paid advertising. By doing so, you’ll increase your engagement, achieve higher organic reach and better results in search.
Paid advertising campaigns are easy to measure. For example, Facebook gives you a clear dashboard to measure your ads performance and return on investment. With the right approach, you can get your ads down to a very low cost per click, making the campaign great value for money.
The real beauty of paid social media advertising is its ability to reach completely new customers. In particular, Facebook offers incredibly granular targeting. When creating an ad, Facebook allows you to choose from 1,500 data points. These go beyond simple demographics and preferences. They reach all the way to habits, personal values and recent changes in behaviour. With such specific targeting, you can easily create ads that tap into the psychology of your target audience, increasing the likelihood of successful engagement.
Improve your search engine rankings
Google maintains that your performance on social media doesn’t affect your site’s overall SEO ranking. But in the long run, the increased brand awareness from good social media performance can drive more organic search traffic for your brand. According to SEMrush, social media indirectly influences your search engine performance in six different ways.
- Extensive content distribution
- Longer lifespan of your posts
- Improve online visibility and organic traffic
- Increase brand recognition.
- Enhance brand reputation
- Boosts local search engine optimisation (SEO)
When all these factors are in place, they generate a set of positive social signals about your brand. To rank a website highly in search, Google wants to be sure that its content is valuable to people. That's the key to search engine ranking. So in your quest to improve your overall search ranking performance, don't neglect social media.
Interact with your audience
Another key benefit of social media is that it gives you the ability to build relationships with your audience on a very personal level. One good example of this is Facebook groups. These are becoming increasingly popular for brands of all sizes. Groups allow you to build a community around certain pain points that relate directly to your product or service. You can provide free advice and value within the group, which helps nurture potential customers towards purchasing your product or service.
Having a group also allows you to conduct constant audience research to understand new and unexpected pain points and concerns that your audience may have. In 2021, Facebook Groups will become more popular than Facebook Pages (in fact, they already have). They are a critical addition to any social media strategy.
LinkedIn also has a useful groups feature. You can join the groups that relate to your industry and post your valuable content in them. If a suitable group doesn't exist, why not set one up yourself? You'll be surprised at how many people it will attract. Many of them will be new potential customers. Before choosing which kind of group to go for, make sure you know which platform your target audience uses the most often. This is where you should focus your efforts. You don't need to have a presence on every platform.
To recap, as we've left 2020 behind and moved in to 2021, social media continues to be an important tool to grow your business. Whether you use social media to drive traffic to your website, improving your search engine rankings, building relationships with your target audience, growing a following that recognises your brand, or generating new leads for your business, one thing is for sure – social media will continue to grow in 2021.