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Little thought is given to social media as an important ingredient in making a business thrive.By Nelson Ogallo

Interacting with friends and family across long distances has been a concern of humans for centuries. As
social beings, people have always relied on communication to strengthen their relationships. When face-to-face discussions are impossible or inconvenient, humans have dreamed up plenty of creative solutions, but one that has beaten them all is social media. Frivolous as it may seem, social media has its roots stretched far deeper than you might imagine.

The evolution of social media has been fueled by the human impulse to communicate and by advances in
digital technology. It is a story about establishing and nurturing personal connections at scale. Merriam-Webster defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”

However, little thought is given to social media as an important ingredient in making a business thrive and achieve its desired objectives. The importance of social media in business is growing fast. With more and more people joining social media sites and using them regularly, the social media industry is already becoming indispensable in most businesses. It’s already proving to be a must have tool for a business to thrive.

Some may argue that this is a just a wave propagated by people, which is bound to extinguish with time. No, the social media wave isn’t ending anytime soon. And your business should take advantage of it if you want it to survive. With such amazing growth, every business today needs to leverage the best
social media platforms in the most effective way

Do I need it in my business? This media is important because it proffers a basket of opportunities for businesses like yours to connect one-on-one with its target audience and nurture those audience members into customers. Unlike the old medieval channels of marketing which only depends on moving to locate your customer physically, social media is a ready tool full of numerous solutions because itallows you to reach, nurture, and engage with your target audience — no matter their location.

When a business can use social media to connect with its audience, it can use social media to generate brand awareness, leads, sales, and revenue. Much as it may sound enticing, one may ask whether these are just unfounded claims or facts that cannot be relied upon in making decisions going forward. Here are some more social media marketing statistics that prove beyond doubt its importance in business.

According to Digital 2020 Global Overview Report more than 4.5 billion people now use the internet, while social media users have passed the 3.8 billion mark representing 49.54% of the world’s total present population which stands at 7.67 billion.
Also, according to Digital 2020 report for Kenya, there were 8.80 million social media users in
Kenya in January 2020.
The number of social media users in Kenya increased by 1.0 million (+13%) between April 2019 and
January 2020.
Social media penetration in Kenya stood at 17% in January 2020.
Active social media users around the world are composed of 48.2% Baby Boomers, 77.5% Generation X and 90.4% Millennials.
An interesting research shows that a user spends an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on his social media account everyday including messaging.
73% of online marketers agree that their efforts in implementing a social media marketing strategy
for their business have been effective.
2 million businesses today use Facebook advertising for promoting their products and services. With facts on the table, a quick look into the importance of social media in business by analyzing its advantages will prove helpful.

1.Come by some qualified leads

Often in many marketing campaigns, most of the target recipients are possibilities at best. They may or may not be interested in the products and services you are offering now, and some may never be interested. You can’t be sure they’ll take advantage of the offer or even bother to review it. This is not the case with most of your social media followers, which is a big reason why social media is important for business

By marketing to users who are already fans of your company, you know that you are reaching a qualified demographic. The fact that they follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or another social platform site means that they already want to know more about your business. This means they’ll respond more favorably to your posts than if they had no prior relationship with you. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll read your posts or click your links, which makes them more likely to take the desired action.

2. Grows your brand reputation

A lot of businesses are stuck on their follower count, which is nothing but an inflated pride in numbers that don’t add value. It doesn’t serve a real purpose if the followers aren’t loyal to your brand. There’s adifference between a random follower and a loyal one because the latter adds real value.

3.Leverage on Social ads

Every business depends on advertising to thrive. However, for new start-ups, it may prove a big challenge since they are not sure whether the huge cost incurred on advertisements are likely to be recovered in their sales. Traditional advertising methods such as print media, TV and radio advertising are quite costly compared to the social ads which are reasonably dependable but also cheaper. Social media advertising may be the new kid on the block, but it’s growing faster than imagined.

Take Facebook Ads for instance. Even though the social network launched ads in 2005, it managed to reach 9.16B in ad revenue in the first quarter of 2017. This just goes to show that social advertising is here to stay — for a long, long time. Many businesses are quickly realizing that taking the social media advertising route makes total sense. Here’s why: you’re allowed to engage on various social media channels for free before scaling with paid ads. Also, when you use social media ads, you reach out to targeted prospective buyers, increase your conversions and ultimately get a higher return on investment.

Paid social media ads on the other hand allow you to constantly keep track of how well (or how badly) your ad is performing and you’re able to change your ad on the fly and instantaneously see the results. With this trend, it’s important for businesses of all types to understand that social media ads are only getting bigger and smarter. Social media advertising is where the future is headed. It’s the new wave. The question is, are you part of it?

4.Customer Satisfaction guaranteed.

The pain of losing hard-earned success is incomparable. Equally losing a customer is hard to live with and gaining a new one is also not easy. But retaining an existing customer is 10 times easier if they are satisfied with how you connect with them. It therefore goes without saying that each business should have customer satisfaction in its topmost priority list. While you may use other means to achieve this, one of the best possible means for a business is through social media.

By using social media to connect with your customers, you can monitor what they want, the problemsthey’re facing, and how you could serve them. In order to truly satisfy your customers and make their life easier, you need to give them personalized attention as though they were your duty in your to-do list. And social media helps you do just that. Many Customers these days know that social media is a lot more approachable and friendly.

They would rather reach out to your business with a question or concern through it than through a callcenter executive, thousands of miles away, who has a hard time resolving their problem. In other words, customers want superior service without the hassle. You could do this through monitoring conversations to see if your customers are talking about your brand and in what context. Posting important messages, announcements, and offers to/customers via social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook will also prove helpful.

It would also help to hold regular question & answer sessions with customers to understand their concerns, get real feedback, and see how things can be improved. Regardless of which platform you’re using to help your customers, it is important to speak their language, give them personalized service andrespond to them without delay. The importance of social media in business cannot be overemphasized. If well executed, in the long run, using it in marketing can prove to be cost-effective hence higher returns on investment.

Joining the social media bandwagon is no longer a matter of choice if you want to achieve the desired aim of starting your business. Your business doesn’t just need it for purposes of looking trendy, but it needs it for survival. Every business needs it. The importance of social media in business is now more prominent than ever. In the words of American author Amy Jo Martin, Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.’

Here is an opportunity for your business to engage with your publics and get instant feedback. Whether you take it or not is dependent on how far you want to go.

Take Facebook Ads for instance. Even though the social network launched ads in 2005, it managed to reach 9.16B in ad revenue in the first quarter of 2017. This just goes to show that social advertising is here to stay — for a long, long time.


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