Time and time again, business courses, workshops, the media and people everywhere are going on about using social media for business.
People are pretty much sold on the benefits of the sites but are still unsure on a number of facets – such as: What is my ROI? What will I get out of it? How do I know this is beneficial for my business?
Put simply, social media is merely another platform for your brand to be seen by the public. Just like newspaper and TV advertising, social media is a place for promoting what you do, and letting people know of the benefits you can bring to their current situation.
At the same time, social media doubles as a networking tool. Think about how much time you currently spend talking on the phone, answering emails, networking at events, and any other methods you use to socialize and network for your personal and business advantage.
To really make social media work for you, you must invest the same amount of time you currently spend networking, but do it through social networks.
Social media provides the opportunity to combine marketing strategies with networking. The nature of social networking helps you network, and when coupled with basic marketing principals, it succeeds in taking your company message to your demographics. And there’s the opportunity of your message, brand, product or service going viral through your target market, creating a buzz around YOU.
The way to market on social media is to spend time there. Unlike setting up a billboard and have it bring value to each person who sees it, you need to deliver that value with individual comments, joining in with discussions, being forward enough to introduce yourself to potential clients, and sharing links to articles, products and services you recommend.
Here are the benefits of using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook:
1. Engages with your target market in a more personal way.
With the power of social media, it’s all about the amount and quality of content you produce and share with your target audience. The relevance of your material to your audience and the value you produce can position you as an expert in your field. The amount of content you produce also ensures your audience never forgets about you.
As we all know, we all have our own lives and people aren’t sitting at their computer waiting for your next update. So make sure you catch them when they do log onto their social networks. Repetition and the amount of time you keep putting yourself out there is the key to having a valuable engagement with your target market.
2. Gets straight feedback.
Sure, it may sometimes be from the general public, but it’s valuable information about how others perceive your services and benefits of doing business with you.
3. Instantly reaches out to potential clients.
The beauty of the Internet is that news, advice and events can be uploaded and circulated instantly. As soon as you have any new press releases or content to share, upload it! The Internet has the power to update the world about events as they happen. If something happens and you wait until tomorrow morning to report on it, someone else will beat you to it.
4. Gets the inside scoop about your industry.
Social media is public, and that can be a good thing. This means you can learn valuable information about your competitors, and any current events or news within your industry. This can also be a great opportunity to tie in popular current events with the relevance of your work. A friend of mine races Suzuki Swifts, and loves the singer Taylor Swift. So he called his car ‘Taylor The Swift’ and made a Facebook fan page for it. When Taylor Swift was all over the news about the big mishap involving Kanye West, people of all ages took to the Internet to find out more information about the singer and the event. Many people searching ‘Taylor Swift’ on Google ended up on my friend’s ‘Taylor the Swift’ Facebook page. Almost overnight, his fan page grew from about 100 friends and fans to about 700 fans. How would you like to increase your targeted audience like that?
5. Raises awareness of your brand.
Through your involvement in social media you not only connect and engage your target audience, but by doing so, you also raise the awareness of your brand. Of course, we can’t all be McDonald’s with the yellow arches, but, as I said earlier, you can certainly try to become a recognised ‘industry expert’ through the value of your content you share with your online audience. Make sure you include your website link, business logo, and anything else that will associate your brand with your name online. You can also take it one step further and make a ‘welcome page’ on Facebook to encourage people to sign up to your database in order to communicate with them outside Facebook. Or how about creating a Facebook contest or game app that your target market can join in with or play? They’ll tell other friends about it – in turn, advertising YOUR business to THEIR friends. Now that’s viral marketing at its best.
Do you have someone in your team responsible for your social media success, or can you see an opportunity to outsource this? Do it – you won’t be sorry!