Social media for business growth vs brand visibility

THERE are numerous benefits to being on social media as a personal or business brand. However when it comes to navigating the world of social media, there is a need to understand what is possible and then set clear objectives that align with your business goals.

THERE are numerous benefits to being on social media as a personal or business brand. However when it comes to navigating the world of social media, there is a need to understand what is possible and then set clear objectives that align with your business goals.

In this article, we will focus on two goals most businesses will (and should) have for their social media, which are brand visibility and business growth where;

Brand visibility is the amount of exposure a business has when compared to similar businesses. The more visible you are, the more people become aware of how you can serve them, and why your product is superior. Your customers cannot buy from you if they donot know about you.

 Business growth is an increase in revenue, market share, and production capacity. While there are several ways of defining business growth, the key element is an increase in income. This is as more sales leads to higher profits and an ability to sustainably increase the number of employees, production levels, while allowing the business to invest in assets, marketing and more. As you probably know, sales are said to be the lifeblood of any business as no sales = no business.

Social media can help a business achieve both of these goals but the reality is that a lot of businesses struggle more with the second, even after hiring social media personnel or outsourcing their social media to a service provider.

I have found that this is as some decision-makers might not fully understand the kind of digital marketing specialist they need to have to help them achieve their objectives and goals. Digital marketing is broad. Content creators will create articles, graphics, photography and videography well while social media managers will manage your social media platforms posting and responding to enquiries as well as engaging with your online community. 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists will understand how to help you become more searchable and get your website easily found when a person searches for the kinds of products you offer.

There are more specialties, but all of these would be digital marketers in their own right, and as the Zimbabwean industry is still fairly young, some companies will still put a call out for a digital marketer or social media manager to join their team, or outsource their digital marketing (and social media) without specifying what kind of digital marketer they need.

There is a need to assess your short and long-term business goals, and then create a digital marketing strategy with objectives that are aligned.

For example, one business may need to prioritise digital marketing that can lead to sales before it can afford to prioritise content marketing which helps build thought leadership; while another may be at a point where it wants to grow its accounts to now match its customer base and reflect its growing market share.

You will find that most recommended social media tactics help with brand visibility. Sharing social media content through graphic posts, short form or longer videos, and articles will ensure your target audience knows that your business still exists as well as how you can help them.

Being active on social media will also aid in your business becoming and remaining top of mind.

This is as your audience sees your content often so if someone were to ask about a service provider or product in your industry, they are more likely to think of you and recommend you as they see information to do with your business more often.

 Depending on the kind of content you share, posting on social media will also ensure your audience knows about why and how you can help them, the kind of products you sell as well as why they should prefer your brand over your competitors.

If you have been using social media for business for a few years, you would have noticed that your reach has reduced over the years (where reach is the number of people that see your shared posts).

Social media platforms generate income from businesses paying to advertise.

The platforms are pay to play which means that in addition to having social media personnel you would need to have a budget to reach the people that will potentially buy your products – even if you have a large following.

If your social media tactics largely involve posting on social media three to five times a week you may not reach the second goal mentioned earlier, which was business growth from social media.

Especially in an environment where 10% engagement level is considered good – for every hundred people that follow you only 10 may engage with your post as social media platforms want you to pay to reach the remaining 90.

At this point you might be asking: How do you increase your brand visibility and increase your business growth from social media?

One of the ways is through lead generation. A lead is an individual that has shown interest in a business’ products and services. Lead generation involves attracting potential customers (leads), and nurturing them in order to increase their interest in your products and services all with the goal of converting them into a paying customer.

Without lead generation you can create and share content for social media and only get a few people enquiring, or predominantly have the same customers showing interest in offers given the more you engage with an account, the more likely it is for you to continue to see the account’s content; which can make it difficult for businesses to organically acquire new customers without paying for ads.

Lead generation needs to be a part of your digital marketing strategy as more leads will help you get more sales. Even though you still need to convert potential customers to paying customers, lead generation will give you a starting point as you have a constant stream of people that have shown interest and given you their information to contact them.

Social media becomes a tool in lead generation instead of it being your entire online strategy.  This is as in lead generation we will run social media ads that factor in the location, demographic and interests of your target audience to ensure it reaches the right people.

The difference between running an ad for brand visibility and lead generation is that:  An ad for brand visibility is created to reach more people for them to become followers or to engage and like your content.

While an ad for lead generation is created to share an offer for people to buy into and encourage them to share their information. They give your business permission to contact them surrounding the offer they saw on social media through your social media ad. Ads for lead generation helps with visibility, while an ad for visibility may not help you get more leads.

If you have been struggling to get a steady flow of enquiries from social media, I encourage you to explore lead generation.

When done well, it will lead to business growth as you will have a pool of people that have already shown interest in your products and services to reach out to each day.

When you generate leads you can create a system that collects information such as their name, email address, phone number as well information that can let you know if they will be a good fit such as: Whether they are familiar with your products and services

If they have ever invested in similar products and services and How much they may expect to spend on the kind of service

As the results from lead generation can be overwhelming, having this information will give you the option to contact the people you have identified as ‘hot leads’ and most likely to buy and convert to paying customers.

As you can engage with individuals from your list of leads generated, you will also be able to answer any questions that your potential customers may have while learning about their reservations, which you can use as information to help you better serve them, and improve your offering.

Lead generation uses social media to attract new customers and create sales opportunities.

Have you done any lead generation for your brand?

  • Chikumba is a digital and brand strategist working with people and organisations looking to leverage the online space. She educates on brand and online marketing fundamentals and is host on the podcast Building African Brands. Chikumba works with entrepreneurs to solve African challenges, and creatives to shift the African narrative. These weekly New Horizon articles,   published in the  Zimbabwe Independent, are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge,  an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe (CGI Zimbabwe). — [email protected] or mobile: +263 772 382 852

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