It’s time to face the facts: it doesn’t matter if you’re a mom and pop operation or a multi-location enterprise; you’d better get on the social media train or risk getting left at the station. Still think it’s a fad?
Social media is now an integral part of how society operates on a day-to-day basis in both personal and professional settings. And with 75% of the coveted 28-34 demographic using social media multiple times a day per Vision Critical, businesses are learning quickly that social media sites can be just as effective as their own websites in driving sales and building a customer base.
Another digital tidbit to nosh on: according to Social Media Today, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service recommended via social media. It follows that savvy businesses are integrating their own marketing tools — such as email signup forms, ticket purchases, and appointment scheduling — directly into their channels.
Just the social facts, ma’am
More on that in a moment. The first step in understanding how businesses can leverage the way consumers interact with social media is to gain insight on the scope of social media’s popularity in the first place. For those of you losing count, according to socialmarketingfella.com, in 2015:
Facebook had 900,000,000 monthly unique active users
Twitter had 310,000,000 monthly unique visitors
LinkedIn came in third with 255,000,000 monthly unique visitors
According to Global Web Index, the top 10 reasons consumers are using social media are to:
Stay up-to-date with news and current events
Fill up spare time
Stay in touch with friends and what they are doing
Find content that entertains
Network with others
Share details about things
Meet new people
Share photos, videos and other content
To follow friends
Give the people what they want
Stop and think about it: In between catching up with their high school sweethearts and watching cute cat videos, what’s another great way for consumers to stay intrigued on social media? That’s right, by receiving intriguing branded offers. Ideally, your branded offers.
Forbes magazine reports that a whopping 53% of Americans who track brands via social media are proven to be more loyal to those brands. The article also states that that “social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof.”
So how do businesses capitalize on this opportunity? It’s easy: by giving the people what they want.
Online consumers not only demand entertaining content; they also want a premium in return for their brand loyalty. Offering incentives via your social media channels enhances your brand image, and keeps your audience consistently coming back for more. It goes without saying that every offer or promotion you run offline should also be reflected online. Additionally, showcasing exclusive online-only promotions makes your followers feel like they have the inside track, and keeps them looking for your posts on a day-to-day basis.
Constant Contact is an example of a company that does an amazing job of fueling their social media followers with engaging content and useful offers.
But what if you could go one step beyond the average ho-hum promotion and actually enhance your customer service experience directly from your social media channels? Say, give them a way to make appointments for services any time night or day, without leaving the comfort of their own home?
Bingo! You can. Integrating appointment scheduling into your social media marketing strategy is an easy win.
Integrating appointment scheduling into your social media marketing
Appointment scheduling software is a Software as a Service (SaaS) application that completely automates the scheduling process. It allows individuals to self-schedule appointments online at their convenience, eliminating the back-and-forth hassle of scheduling by phone or email.
As a cloud-based technology, appointment scheduling software is a perfect fit for social media marketers. The software typically provides a company with its own unique booking link, which takes individuals directly to its online calendar. Some also provide features such as button links, which might say “Book Now” or “Schedule Now.” Either the link or button can be added to the company’s social media pages.
Among the benefits of adding a scheduling app to your social media page:
Your prospects can book appointments or reservations right from your Facebook page without being directed to another site. This alleviates the issue of having to speak to a live person, sending an email, or going in person.
It allows customers who just happen to see your Instagram promotions take advantage of those deals. A large number of purchases are made through individuals just browsing social media.
Your customers can make reservations or book appointments any time of the day, which won’t interfere with their current schedules.
Your business will gain additional exposure online, which could result in better online reviews.
Your customers will be able to navigate the process with little to no effort involved. Self-service is key.
As businesses continue to search for ways to keep their customers engaged and create the best online experience they can, integrating an online scheduling solution into their social media networks is a smart way to embrace technology. Customers want what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. By integrating online scheduling into your social media strategy, your organization can cater to your clients and prospects, stay ahead of the competition, and build customer trust and loyalty.
Just don’t forget to throw in a cute cat video once in a while.