As a marketer, articulating social media’s value to your CMO and CEO can be difficult. Many top executives simply don’t “get it” or fail to see the potential ROI compared to older, more traditional strategies. After all, what’s the ROI of a billboard?

But social media is a marketing tool the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We’re living in the connected economy of “I have / you want”. Who do you recommend that does X? Where can I find Y? Every trip, product purchase, dinner out, or home repair need starts with either A) a Google search, or B) a Facebook post. Welcome to the connected economy.

It’s important you find a way to help the everyone get on board! With a small investment of time and funds, your business can see an incredible increase in your audience, in sales, and in customer engagement. Here’s how…

If you have an itch to include social media in your marketing strategy but aren’t sure how to explain what makes it so awesome, consider sharing some of the many ways social media can amplify your business.

Increases Brand Visibility

The most obvious benefit of social media marketing is its ability to exponentially increase your visibility and brand recognition around the world. Your unique voice is heard on an amplified scale, reaching the networks of your networks. You’ll also see more traffic referred to your site as your own content is shared widely and as the buzz around your brand increases.

Social can help you connect with niche audiences even as it casts a wider net. Cultivate your voice and content to connect with people most aligned with your brand’s philosophy, who are most likely to develop a strong attachment to your brand and what it represents. Explore the distinct audiences represented on various social platforms: Facebook’s demographic is not the same as Twitter’s is not the same as Instagram’s. Know who is engaging with your brand on which platforms, and find ways to create a genuine connection with those specific consumers.

Helps Convert Visitors to Buyers

Not only does social media get more eyes on your website—and thus on your product—it helps turn visitors into buyers or subscribers. With a social sign-in (such as “sign in with Facebook”), customers can easily subscribe to your site’s updates with a single click. At the point of sale, this type of single-click sign-in gets customers through the checkout process quickly and conveniently, reducing abandoned purchases.

Social sign-in also increases the chances that customers will share your content or their completed purchase with their networks—particularly if you offer an incentive (such as a discount or reward points) for doing so.

Increases Brand Authority

The more visible your brand is relative to others in your industry, the more authoritative it appears. We trust recommendations from our friends; we also trust the opinions of celebrities or experts whose style or judgment we admire. As voices celebrating your brand increase, so will your brand’s reputation and its standing among the competition.

Increases Customer Loyalty

Every time customers interact with your business, you have another opportunity to develop or solidify your relationship with them. Customers with a strong relationship to a product or brand keep coming back, without shopping around for alternatives. Even a relatively small customer base can go a long way if your customers are enthusiastic and loyal.

Visibility and customer loyalty go hand in hand: satisfied customers are likely to recommend your brand to friends or to share your content with their networks. And the increase in your brand’s credibility that comes from a large number of followers and recommendations can help convince new customers to seek you out to learn more.

Decreases Marketing Costs

Social media is a huge channel which requires very little investment of time and money to begin seeing results. Even just a few hours a week on free channels can start growing your brand’s audience and reputation.

That being said, if you want to see major results, you’ll have to pay to play—an amplification line in your overall budget is essential. Cost and time required vary, especially as your brand and your social reach grow. You might find you need a tool to help automate scheduling, engagement, and monitor your metrics. Plus, promoted content spreads your visibility even wider than grassroots posting, especially in the world of Facebook’s near non-existent organic reach and Twitter’s deluge of overwhelming content.

But how does the cost of a scheduling tool and boosted content measure against traditional advertising? Advertising budgets on social media have the benefit of highly flexible ad cost, where traditional placements are usually fixed (and more expensive). And with built in analytics, it becomes much easier to use your dollars more effectively as time goes on. Which leads us to…

Audience Insight

Social media analytics give you real-time data about who and where your audience is, allowing you to target specific subgroups of your audience with approaches best suited to them.

If you want to target men ages 35-45 who live in Denver, make over $100K, and like mountain biking—go for it. The same goes for targeting females ages 24-28 within your zip code who are into indie fashion reading New York Times best-sellers. The options are endless!

Analytics also let you see what’s working (and what’s not) in your marketing strategies by measuring growth of your audience over time, conversion rates, the results of specific promotions, and more.

Gives Your Customers a Platform for Feedback

Social is the best and fastest way to know what your customers think about your company. While analytics let you see how customers are interacting with your service or product, quantitatively, social listening gives you qualitative information about what their experience with your company is like.

Social listening should blend essentially eavesdropping (paying attention to what’s being said about your business on your own website and social media channels, as well as around the web by setting up alerts) with more active invitations for customer feedback. Encourage reviews, schedule a live chat or Q&A, offer discounts for referrals or testimonials. Engage thoughtfully with feedback you receive, and take steps to integrate what your customers are telling you about your hits and misses. Consistent, considered engagement can increase customer loyalty and respect for your brand.

Promote More Than Your Product

Have you ever read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook? Rather than pushing your product from the beginning, social gives you the opportunity to put the focus on your community and how you can solve their problems.

Content marketing is all about the job—promoting your brand’s personality, narrative, and usefulness. The stronger and more visible that narrative is, the more likely it will strike a chord with your audience.

Social creates opportunities for your brand’s personality and unique voice to come to the fore, humanizing your company. It’s not a selling tool. It’s a relationship tool. By acting as a resource, answering questions, starting conversations, and solving problems, you empower customers to engage more fully with your brand than ever before—they feel they know the people behind the scenes.

And social creates a community of like-minded consumers who become invested in engaging with each other as well as with your company. As customers connect with each other, they built networks with your brand at the center.

Considering adding social to your marketing strategy? What aspects of social marketing do you expect to be the biggest game-changers for your company?

If you’re already using social for your business, what tips and tricks have you learned for maximizing social media reach? Let us know in the comments below.