Welcome to Social Media for Business 101! Regardless of whether you are a newbie looking to make a splash in the current scheme of things or a grizzled vet who needs a quick refresher course on what’s been happening since the last time you checked up on things, we believe we have just the thing for you.
Social Media – What is it?
Social media has been around since the inception of the internet. People communicating and interacting with each other was a big reason the internet is what it is today. It is called social media because when people engage they can share images, audio and video with other users.
Social networking has been a great enabler when it came to closing large swathes of space between people. The last decade has seen a huge increase in the number of individuals who are logging on to social media networking websites. This surge is due partly to the growing penetration of the World Wide Web and also because people are finding out that social networking encourages people to interact more with people online.
Also, these days publishing content online is easier than ever, and people who are pretty non-technically inclined find themselves creating compelling content that generates a lot of shares and endorsements. The key difference of user hierarchy now when compared to the days of dial-up modems is that these days it is a many-to-many type of communication compared to one-to-many of yesteryear. What this means that user-generated content is now more visible than ever!
What It Means For Businesses?
There has been a general shift in the way people now approach buying something online. Earlier, it was very important to people that they get to “touch and feel” the product before they went ahead and bought it. These days though, the ease of use and ultra-quick delivery options mean that convenience far outweighs every other con web based consumerism had.
A few web marketers have the common notion that it just got easier to market their products, well, the answer is yes and no. While it is easier than ever to get your content “out there”, it is another story if you want to be noticed by your target audience. This is what marketers of this generation are going to be concentrating on – Getting more people to your online business.
One big part of this is INTERACTION! Customer expectations of online businesses have increased drastically and these days it’s not uncommon to see giants of the industry engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. When you have a friendly banter on your social media channel, people tend to gravitate towards you and in the process, what you are selling. It makes the brand in question “more human”.
So, will my company benefit from social media?
In one word, yes. Why don’t we find out more about it, though?
Regardless of the size of your business you can benefit when you buy Instagram followers which can give your brand the needed boost. Similarly, you can also buy followers for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Followers are people who log on to their favorite social networking sites, almost every day, to interact with friends, family, and colleagues. The key is to gain visibility. When people see something interesting, they endorse/share on their social feed which can lead to even more brand awareness for your company!
On social media, you will have a lot of chances to add more value to your audience. It doesn’t have to be boring pie charts all the time either! Add something funny related to your brand, a meme or a gif that can get people laughing. What you are doing is creating a core set of individuals who identify with your brand. These relationships will lead you to the most important part of social media: customer advocacy.
At its large heart, social media is all about advocacy. If you’ve done your homework, your audience will scramble to share any new content you’ve posted on your feed along with their opinions and experiences with their social feeds. This type of passionate and spontaneous marketing can rarely be bought and is the best method of marketing your brand.
Does Social Media Success Translate Into Other Mediums As Well?
The best way to answer this question is to remember that social media acts as an extension of your brand and not the other way around. People’s experience of your brand does not start with social networking, but it works to enhance their views about what your website is about.
Capturing the essence of what your company is about and then sharing it with your target audience can have a lot of benefits like increased engagement with your fan base and additionally, it can open up several opportunities through all manner of inbound marketing like SEO, branding, PR and more.
So to answer the question: Yes, it does help!
How can I get my message out there?
As you can see, there are various social media networking sites that you can use to carve your own space in the social circle.
Share this Image On Your Site
One of the most relevant social media networking sites out there, Facebook has literally steamrollered its way through the competition and stands on a gargantuan 1 billion monthly active users. Actually, even if you weren’t part of their ever expanding network, chances are that you’ve heard it from someone. Like all things that are famous, Facebook holds immense potential for your business marketing needs. Case in point: Every big name has a Facebook page.
Its 140 character limit belies the incredible leverage it provides to a business via social interaction. Most experts claim that it is the most powerful tool for building a target audience as it’s really easy to engage with them and develop trust. It might have a steeper learning curve when compared to the rest. Also, hashtags work extremely well with Twitter.
This is first and foremost about sharing vivid imagery with your friends with a clean and uncluttered interface. It evolved into one of the more popular social networking websites to build your brand on. The users are encouraged to share and engage with each other providing a solid platform that is both fun as well as interactive.
Another social media networking site that also relies on visual content, it has always played second fiddle to Instagram. Nevertheless, there are a lot of brands out there that have used Pinterest to build a solid base for further interactions.
The de facto standard when it comes to professional social network, LinkedIn has a huge following of working professionals. Think of it as a place where people from all industries converge to build lasting relationships with other people. Most companies have a robust strategy involving their LinkedIn profiles to further enhance their credibility online.
Though backed by the giants of the internet themselves, Google Plus had a very unsure start. But the folks at big G have got their act together and now the network has been growing leaps and bounds. It reportedly has 540 million active users and the highest number of visits every month to any social platform – 1,203 million.
YouTube has long been associated with free video streaming and now since Google have taken over, it has reached new heights with regard to its ability to market products. How-tos, product comparisons, sneak peeks, trade expos can all be uploaded here and viewers can get a feel for it even when they aren’t actually present.
Here’s a more detailed look at different social networking sites and the kind of numbers that they pull in.
Summing it all up
Social media has been a motive force in the schemes of businesses today. It has become so critical to get your brand online that these days most businesses consider it their first step. But even after you pick your social network, chalk out your posting strategy, pick the appropriate tone and get your brand online, the job is still only half-done.
Social networking is an iterative process, meaning it truly never is done. Sort of like Mondays.
A few more notes I would add to the post-implementation phase is:
There are tools available that can help you do this and I strongly encourage you to do so because they save you a lot of effort and time which is better spent elsewhere.
You need to collect and update all aspects of your social media feed. This includes, but not limited to, prospect questions, feedback, currently trending topics and past engagements with customers.
The consumer these days expects you to respond to service requests through your social feed. This isn’t unreasonable and most of them are currently doing it.
Set Goals and Monitor Performance
Have measurable goals and performance attributes. This means that follows, engagement, sharing are indicators of your customers’ trust factor and should be monitored carefully. The more trustworthy your brand is in a particular domain, the more people will trust your word on a subject.
Hopefully, this article has been useful to you. I’ve tried to keep it as concise and informative as I can! If you think that other people would also get value out of it a share on a social medium of choice would be an excellent way to encourage us to give you more useful content, thanks!