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3 Reasons Not to Underestimate the Power of Social Media

Everybody's on social media. Or at least it can feel that way when you're a business that has much more to attend to than posting, tweeting, liking and sharing.

If being a "socially-savvy" business isn't something that comes naturally, don't worry – you're not alone. Not every company has to maintain the social presence of a Silicon Valley start-up.

However, every company that wants to win the attention and dollars of today's consumers does need to participate on social media to some extent. Even if it means carving out additional time to post, tweet, like and share.

Companies that engage on social media gain many opportunities and benefits.

1. More Engaged Consumers – Four out of ten Facebook users have purchased a product after they've shared it, liked it, or commented on it, research from Vision Critical finds. What you share on platforms like Facebook, where people already spend much of their time online, can effectively persuade consumers to learn much more about you and your products than simply hoping they walk into your store or seek out your website. And, consider that all of those social actions they take on your posts can be viewed by others in their network. It's a valuable, digital word-of-mouth equivalent.

2. Direct Customer Service – The last thing any company wants is a bad brand reputation. An active social media presence creates opportunities to address disgruntled customers directly and provide a public window into how your company handles customer service. Companies like Nike have used Twitter to address customer concerns in real time, and rather than being a collection of customer complaints that paint the company in a poor light, the page lets Nike show just how much they care, and the lengths they'll go to ensure a great customer experience.

3. Wider Audience Reach – Social media platforms open up doors to groups of people you otherwise may not reach. For example, millennials have risen to become the generation with the most purchasing power, and they spend six hours a week on social media alone. Sharing genuinely interesting information on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat (yes, even Snapchat!) lets you meet potential buyers where they already are. And, did you know that 53 percent of people that follow brands on social media have more loyalty to those brands, according to research from the Social Habit?

Social media may not be everything – but it is something every business, no matter their size, should and can take advantage of to power their success.

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