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5 Social-Media Opportunities Businesses Mostly Overlook Surprisingly few companies are taking full advantage of what social media offers.

By Eric Samson Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In January 2015, MediaPost reported that CMOs are turning more of their attention toward social media. What was once believed to be a passing fad has turned into one of the most popular ways for brands to cultivate and engage an audience while driving sales.

But in 2016, companies will be wise to do more than just treat their social media accounts as platforms for marketing message dissemination. Five missed opportunities many businesses can still capitalize on include:

1. Social customer service.

According to social media expert Gretchen Fox, "67 percent [of] consumers use social media for customer service and 66 percent stopped doing business with a company due to poor social customer service."

Increasingly, brands are creating secondary social media accounts that exclusively focus on providing real-time customer support. The numbers speak for themselves. Fox notes, "Social customer care costs around $1 per interaction while phone support costs at least $6."

By leveraging social media as a channel to deliver customer happiness, brands save money and build deeper relationships with their audience.

Related: The 7 Musts of Customer Service on Social Media

2. Employee advocacy.

Large organizations are missing an enormous opportunity to tap their employees and instantly multiply their social media reach. In an ebook by SocialChorus, the company states that, on average, brands that have a firm employee advocacy plan in place earn eight times more shares on social media. While organic reach on Facebook declines, brands can circumvent Facebook's algorithms by getting team members to promote their content instead.

3. Real-time surveys.

John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, believes surveys help brands analyze their market, track performance, follow-up with customers, understand customer demographics and crowd source innovative ideas. In the past, it would take days or weeks for businesses to conduct a survey and gather enough responses to generate conclusive data. Now on social media, businesses can gather instant feedback with quick polls that may assist critical decision-making processes.

Related: Big-Company CEOs Out of Touch When It Comes to Facebook,Twitter

4. Recruiting high-impact employees.

In a competitive landscape, recruiting quality talent is both expensive and hard. Using social media, businesses can avoid costly headhunter fees by crowdsourcing job applications. Also, firms are more likely to find candidates who are already engaged with their brand.

Joe Budzienski, vice president of product and technology at Monster, lists three tips companies can use to successfully inbound high-quality job applicants:

  1. "Focus on your social talent brand." By promoting your mission, vision and culture on social media, you attract job candidates that share the same values.

  2. "Enable your employees to evangelize." Using your employees as a resource can quickly extend your organic reach to find qualified job applicants.

  3. "Cultivate positive exposure across the social web." Earn free PR by highlighting what life is like at the office, which may get potential employees excited about joining your firm.

5. Coupling organic and paid strategies.

On social media, companies can engage a massive audience without ever having to spend a dime on advertising. But a purely organic strategy forgets that there are often strong synergies when marketers employ a hybrid paid-and-organic approach.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Reddit have all developed highly sophisticated advertising platforms that allow brands to target consumers they might not otherwise reach to accelerate their marketing efforts. Each ad platform is equipped with features that empower advertisers to retarget audiences that aren't yet paying customers. This makes it easy for businesses to create multiple touch points with potential customers who may have been reluctant to convert the first time around.

Related: The 4 Easiest Ways to Supercharge Your Social-Media Marketing

Eric Samson

Founder of Group8A

Eric Samson is the founder of Group8A, a boutique consulting firm focused on developing and executing integrated marketing and digital solutions for companies of all sizes.


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