Social media and your business
It all started with the likes of MSN, Bebo and Myspace but over the years social media has exploded and become a major form of communication for many individuals, businesses and large corporations. Statistics show that a whopping 96% of marketers now use social media as a tool to market their business* and this is likely to increase in the coming years.
If you’re not already using social media for your business and want to know how to get started or if you want to discover how you can fine-tune your current social media strategy, then we’ve got some hints and tips to help.
If you’re just starting out…If you haven’t taken the plunge when it comes to creating a social media presence for your business, don’t worry because it’s never too late to delve in. A good starting point would be to work out exactly what social media channels you’re going to use. There are so many networks to choose from, ranging from the more established Facebook and LinkedIn, which are the two most important social networks for marketers* to the more emerging channels, but what’s important is that you use the networks that are most relevant to your business and target audience.
There’s no point in signing up for every channel just because everyone else is, it’s far more effective and beneficial if you become excellent with two or three channels rather than average with six or seven – that won’t get you noticed and just remember you’re only young, don’t try and run before you can walk.
It’s also vital that you have a clear plan in place before you start to help keep you focused, there’s nothing worse than blindly setting up numerous accounts without knowing exactly what you’re going to do with them. Once you’ve figured out exactly what your plan is and what channels you’re going to use you can start to think about some of the following…
Just some of the many reasons why businesses should use social media:Guaranteed brand exposure – you can create a recognisable identity for your business through social media. This is especially true for small businesses that aren’t in a position to spend large amounts of money on marketing campaigns. A staggering 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their business*.
Increases traffic – if you’ve got a website then it’s handy to have your social media links embedded somewhere on the site as this will help to increase traffic to your social channels. You can also use social media to link back to your website. You may also use it to promote your products and services, share your blog posts, videos and perhaps share customer testimonials to encourage others to click through and visit your site.
Cost effective – the majority of social media channels are free for businesses to set up and use. However, it’s worth mentioning that as organic reach is in decline, it’s more vital than ever that you post quality and engaging content, and consider running some paid advertising from time to time.
Manage your reputation – having a presence on social media allows you to keep an eye on what other people are saying about your business, both good and bad. It’s important that you get as much mileage out of your positive reviews as possible and actively engage with customers who write negative reviews. These days, social channels are increasingly being used as a customer service portal, and it’s important that you don’t ignore these comments or complaints.
To help improve their online reputation, many businesses run weekly Q&A sessions on Twitter, while others use insights to gauge what’s working for them and what’s not.
Humanising your brand – social media allows you to properly engage and interact with your customers which will make them feel valued and a part of your business. By sharing interesting content such as pictures of office fun days, updates on charity events as well as key business milestones you’ll start to give your business a personality which in turn will help with customer loyalty.
Search engine optimisation – social media allows you to broadcast your content to thousands of people. If the shared content is interesting, valuable and compelling enough then others will link back to it, share it with others and tell their friends about it. When deciding where to rank a particular website, Google will look at these kinds of social signals and trends.
So there you have it. Some of the many social media business benefits wrapped up in one article.
One final piece of advice would be to stick at it and try not to get frustrated because there will be times when you think, “what’s the point?” and “it’s not like anyone’s reading this stuff”. However if you’re consistent with your activity and share quality content, more people will start to notice you and eventually you will reap the benefits you deserve.
*The 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2015.pdf