In today’s digital landscape, the importance of social media marketing cannot be understated. Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, X (formerly called Twitter), TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn (among others) are essential for businesses looking to attract customers, gather valuable feedback, and foster customer loyalty.
According to research:
- 47% of consumers reach out to brands on social because they have a product or service question.
- Answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25%. (Convince and Convert) Customers who feel engaged by companies on social media will spend up to 40% more with them than other customers.
Social media is also an important source of data essential to understanding the kind of customer experience your company is delivering: social signals contain a wealth of information that can help you make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer service improvements.
Why is Social Media Important?
Social media is vital for its ability to connect companies with their target audience, enhance brand visibility, facilitate engagement, and provide valuable data for informed decision-making.
Social Media is a Vital Part of an Integrated CX Strategy
Social media provides a platform for real-time interaction, feedback, and relationship-building between your company and your customers. It is also a valuable source of unstructured data, which is crucial for achieving a more complete, accurate view of the customer as well as delivering improved experiences.
Unstructured data refers to information that does not have a specific, predefined data model or structure. Unlike structured data, which is organized into well-defined tables or schemas (e.g., a database), unstructured data lacks a consistent format and is not easily searchable or analyzable with traditional data processing techniques.
- According to IBM, as much as 80% of all data today (including enterprise-relevant information) is unstructured.
Social media (comments, posts, and interactions) often contains a significant portion of unstructured data. Using information from unstructured data, companies can gain valuable insights into how to improve their brand, products, services, and overall customer experience.
Companies that can collect and analyze unstructured data using tools like natural language processing and AI customer experience technology also often have a more complete understanding of their customers, and can therefore more easily measure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Moreover, businesses that effectively harness unstructured data may gain a competitive advantage. That’s because analyzing unstructured data can reveal trends, emerging market opportunities, and competitive threats that may not be easily apparent through structured data alone.
Social Media Marketing Builds Brand Reputation
Social media marketing is also a powerful brand reputation management tactic. Consistent positive engagement, authenticity, responsiveness, and a commitment to customer-centric values contribute to building a strong and favorable brand image on social media platforms.
Social media is an excellent platform for sharing expertise, insights, and valuable information. Brands that share educational content and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry can enhance their reputation.
Social media also allows you to showcase your brand personality. By sharing behind-the-scenes content, company values, and employee stories, brands can humanize themselves, creating a more relatable and transparent image that’s essential to growing a positive brand reputation.
Social Media Boosts Brand Awareness and Search Visibility
An effective social media marketing strategy can enhance brand awareness, improve search visibility, and contribute to overall brand success in the digital realm. By creating and sharing engaging content, you can immediately improve brand awareness and visibility among a diverse and extensive user base. Shares, likes, and comments on social media contribute to the organic spread of brand content, exposing it to a wider audience.
Social media can also impact the search engine performance of your brand and business locations. Social signals such as likes, shares, and comments are considered by search engines as indicators of a brand’s authority and relevance. High engagement on social media can also positively impact your search engine rankings. Moreover, your brand’s social media profiles will likely appear in search engine results, providing additional opportunities for users to discover and engage with your business.
Social Media Helps You Generate and Nurture Leads
With strategic planning, you can generate and nurture leads from social media. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok have billions of active users, providing companies with access to a vast and diverse audience. This broad reach allows you to connect with and nurture potential leads across different demographics and interests. Typically, these platforms also offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising channels.
You can also leverage social media analytics to gain insights into user behavior and develop the ability to segment your audience based on demographics, interests, and engagement levels. This segmentation helps in crafting more personalized and targeted lead generation and nurturing strategies.
Social Media Listening Promotes Better Customer Understanding
The conversations that are happening on social media about your brand can be used as a powerful tool to help your company identify trends and improve your market position.
With an effective social media listening strategy in place, you’ll be able to influence a wide range of processes, including product research and development, business operations, advertising approaches, and customer experience management. Ultimately, social listening will help your company gather valuable unstructured feedback and make better business decisions based on social media analysis and data.
Social Media Supports Great Customer Experiences
Integrating social media data with your customer relationship management system provides a comprehensive view of customer interactions across various channels, enabling your team to deliver more personalized and cohesive experiences. It also enables the formation of communities around your brand: communities where customers can connect, share great experiences, and provide peer-to-peer support.
Social media also supports great customer experiences by allowing for more personalized communication with customers. Your organization can use social media data to tailor your messages and offers based on individual preferences, creating a more personalized and relevant customer experience.
Social Media Plays a Crucial Role in Crisis Management
Negative comments, feedback, and reviews on social media can spread quickly. Before you know it, a single negative review, comment, or tweet can grow into a full-blown brand crisis. By proactively monitoring your brand presence on social media channels, your organization can quickly identify and mitigate these threats to your brand reputation.
Integrating social media into your crisis management activities lets your team jump into critical user-generated conversations. This makes it easier to resolve issues, respond to customers, and minimize the impact that negative social media comments may have on your brand.
- According to EveryoneSocial, 79% of consumers expect brands to respond within a day of reaching out over social media, but average brand response rates across all industries are lower than 25%.
Says best-selling author and customer service expert Chip Bell: “In the customer’s mind, the clock starts when he or she posts a negative comment or review, and your reputation drops with every hour you delay in providing a response. Be honest, be apologetic, and offer the aggrieved customer an easy way to access you. In the social media world, you are assumed guilty until your response alters public perception.”
Social Media Analytics: Transform Insights into Action
The most successful brands listen to and act on social media analytics and insights in order to understand customers better and deliver improved experiences. Here are some considerations you can make as your team looks to do the same.
- Define clear objectives. Clearly define your objectives and the specific questions you want to answer through social media data analysis. This will guide your analysis and help you focus on relevant insights.
- Choose the right metrics. Identify the appropriate metrics most relevant to your business objectives. Also, focus on platforms where your customers are actively engaging with your brand.
- Monitor brand mentions and sentiment. Use social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite to track mentions, comments, and conversations related to your brand. This allows you to identify customer sentiment, concerns, and feedback in real time.
- Respond to feedback. When you invest in a social media software platform, there’s a temptation to let your data management tools do all the work. This shouldn’t exempt your company from engaging with and listening and responding to customers who have shared their feedback. Technological capability is great, but it won’t close the loop on your behalf.
- Analyze customer feedback. Don’t make data collection your goal. More information, after all, doesn’t necessarily equate to smarter business decisions. Focus on how you can gather actionable insights from social media data and customer feedback, as well as how you can address challenges based on the information available.
- Track trends and industry insights. Apart from tracking information being posted on social media about your brand, it’s also useful to compare your social media data against benchmarks, industry standards, or competitors to gain a broader perspective and identify areas for improvement.
- Invest in a social media marketing software platform. The world’s top brands are using Hootsuite to manage social media, monitor customer conversations, collect unstructured data, and gather meaningful insights from these conversations and data. Your company can make a similar investment to foster an organizational culture in which everyone from the C-suite to the frontline is empowered and equipped to listen to the Voice of the Customer.
Maximize the Importance of Social Media Marketing with InMoment and Hootsuite
By understanding the importance of social media marketing and analyzing unstructured data from social media platforms, you can gain valuable insights into the customer experience. This, in turn, empowers your organization to make informed decisions and positively impact customer experiences. To drive efficiency, leverage Hootsuite and its integration with InMoment’s reputation management software so you can act upon social signals, access the full spectrum of conversation around your brand, transform social data into actionable insights, and accelerate experience improvements.
Sprout Social. “The 2023 Sprout Social Index Report” (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/index/). Access 12/27/2023.
IBM. “Structured vs. Unstructured Data: What’s the Difference?” (https://www.ibm.com/blog/structured-vs-unstructured-data/). Access 12/27/2023.
EveryoneSocial. “The 20 Social Listening Statistics Your Company Must Know” (https://everyonesocial.com/blog/social-listening-statistics/). Access 12/27/2023.