Social media plays a significant role in many people’s lives – 45% of the world’s population are said to use social networks. This and the many other user statistics make social channels an attractive prospect to businesses looking to market their products or services online.

A few years ago, many businesses set up profiles on every social network, but it soon became apparent that without a strategy or consistent input, it was hard to see a return from these channels. Today, it’s not about being on every channel – but instead, it’s about being active on the channels used by the customers you are trying to reach. In addition to this, those who choose to venture into social media marketing need to be realistic in how much time, energy and money needs to be spent to make an impact.

We have identified five benefits of using social media below:

1. Create a brand personality
Social media presents an opportunity to connect with target audiences. With a range of formats and content types – brands and businesses can use social channels to share their personality. Brand identity can be hard to show in traditional marketing materials and on websites, but with social media, you can give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business, products, services and USPs. Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn provide brands with many ways of sharing content – from live video streams to long-form article sharing.

2. Get to Know Your Audience
Social media business profiles often include their own analytics or insights dashboard. From these dashboards’ brands can download data about their audience – to learn more about who is interacting with posted content.
This type of data can be crucial to social and digital marketing activity and can provide detailed data you may not be able to find elsewhere. For example, brands can learn at which times their audience engage with content – or the female/male split of their profile followers.

3. Be there for customers
It is said that 80% of Instagram users follow and engage with at least one brand on the social networking site. Many people don’t want to call phone lines or wait for support emails – so instead they turn to social media to communicate with the brands they have purchased from.
This presents both opportunities and potential issues. Brands on social media need to consider how they will communicate with customers who make contact via social – when, how and who will respond to queries. Channels such as Facebook provide private and public ways customers can contact brands with customer service issues – so it’s important brands are clear on how they will respond to customers who chose social channels for service issues.

4. Engage with target audiences
One of the most significant benefits of using social media is the ease of interacting and engaging with target audiences and existing customers. Profiles are free to set up – and once live, brands can start to interact with real and potential customers.
In the past – many businesses used social networks as ‘broadcast’ channels – sharing news and content with customers, without much interaction. Nowadays, interacting and engaging with your social media audience is key.

5. Use Ads to increase reach
Reaching target audiences with organic social posts can be difficult in the beginning – as without a large following, posts will have limited reach. Social media advertising, such as Facebook Advertising, can help with this.
With social media advertising, you can reach target audiences with PPC ads. Like with Google Ads, brands can choose to assign media budget to posts which are then promoted to the audiences you pick. Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn allow brands to target social media users using demographic and location markers, such as what interests a user may have.

Author's Bio: 

I am an SEO Executive for The Digital Marketing Partners, who offer a range of digital marketing services including SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, PPC and Web Development for clients all over the world.