The Role of Social Media For Businesses

Digital Marketing
Jordan Atchison
2/2/2021

As social media platforms reduce organic reach, what is the role of social media for businesses? Even without organic engagement, social media marketing still provides buyer confirmation and connections with potential customers that make it valuable for businesses. 

Social media has long been a go-to for businesses.
 
However, there has been a dramatic decrease in the efficacy of organic social media campaigns. As a result, businesses are considering removing social media from their marketing strategy. 

As early as 2014, Facebook had announced this decrease in organic engagement

With the decrease in organic engagements, business owners must ask themselves why they should continue to invest in social media marketing.

Still, the role of social media in businesses' marketing and customer engagement plans still hold value. Specifically, the top benefits of social media marketing include:

  1. Buyer confirmation
  2. Audience capture
  3. Ad targeting 
     

Social Media Helps Buyers Confirm Their Decision to Purchase Your Products and Services

Organic social media still is a powerful form of social proof. Look at it as a tool for social media justification, or a positive nod towards purchase decisions.

Even within industries where purchase decisions may not be swayed initially by social media (e.g., partnering with a social media marketing company), when the moment for decision making comes, buyers review social media recommendations for validation about their decision.  

In fact, 78% of consumers agree that social media posts will influence their purchasing decision. At this point, content and activity on social media can make or break a sale. 

Let’s consider a new potential customer, Sam, an affluent new homeowner in the Akron, Ohio market. 

He wakes up one Saturday morning in the dead of winter to discover he has no hot water. Sam needs a solution fast. He conducts a quick Google search to discover some options, 

From these quick searches, he takes a look at their websites and compares two providers. Sam is also an active social media user and sees the icons on their page and references to check them out on Facebook. He follows through.  

Two of these plumbers are easily found on social media. 

He can look at the frequency of posts, engagement, reviews, and likes all within 10 seconds. A social media account without compelling content will look stale and outdated and may have a negative impact on his likelihood to purchase from that company. 

Social Media Captures Audiences Better Than Other Media

Even with the reduction of organic reach for businesses on social media, it is still a valuable platform for advertising agencies and budgets because it's where audiences congregate. 

In fact, social media is the second most visible advertising platform behind only TV. 

Social Media Ad Reach  
Source: Statista

The reason social media ads are so visible is that social media still commands a significant amount of its audience’s time. People spend more time on social media than every other task except for television and sleeping. 

Time Spent on Social Media
 Source: BroadbandSearch

With this type of attention, it’s imperative to improve your company's exposure on social media, even with the reduction in organic engagement. Taking a look at social media as a media outlet makes it a valuable place for staying in front of your audience.

Social Media Advertising Provides Direct Access to Target Audiences

One of the most important aspects of social media has always been the ability to advertise. It still is one of the most targeted platforms within the digital marketing sphere. 

Other digital platforms, like search and programmatic means, target based on one-off searches or inferred behaviors. Social media marketing allows businesses to target detailed customer profiles

Utilizing some of Facebook’s and other platforms’ newer items, you can easily extract information from a user that they’ve freely provided on these platforms: 

  • Chats can be automated to collect names, emails, and phone numbers automatically from those that visit your Facebook page. 
  • Lead generation ads can compile the same information and with these being pre-filled on Facebook, the user doesn’t even have to input their information, rather just submit. 
  • LinkedIn profile information can be exported 

With this data, digital marketing companies and in-house teams can create targeted outreach and engagement campaigns. 

Social Media Still Plays a Valuable Role for Businesses

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to change their algorithms and put less focus on organic engagement. Still, people spend an enormous amount of time on social media, presenting an opportunity for businesses to engage with potential customers. 

Alternatively, by adding compelling content to your social media profile and targeting built-in audiences, you can motivate potential customers to further inquiry or purchase.