Social media in all its guises can be confusing, annoying and time-consuming – but that doesn’t stop it from being extremely useful to businesses. Each of the channels has positives and negatives; on Twitter it is hard to get noticed (wood for the trees!), Facebook is not really free (if you advertise, your posts get into more of your followers’ timelines) and LinkedIn is only used by head-hunters. As with all gossip, none of it is completely true, or completely false!
So why use social media? Well, while not wanting to add to the plethora of ‘top tips’ and ‘the 10 reasons why…’ articles which claim to provide useful content – I have summarised here the reasons how social media can add value to your business.
1) Well it is great at helping you interact with your customers. You can keep them up-to-date with your latest news instantly, for example road works are happening outside your premises and traffic is a nightmare, but by giving a tip on where to park to avoid the problem, people will still visit. Also people will give great feedback about your services and this will go to their contacts who are quite likely to be in your target customer demographic. They will also give brutally honest (and sometimes truly vitriolic) negative feedback which you can only deal with if you are aware it is happening and this requires you to be engaged on social media.
2) You can become a trusted source of information that interests your customers. For example, if you provide IT services then your customers are likely to appreciate IT tips and tricks, or software and hardware product reviews. This enhances your reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy business. Plus you don’t need to generate all of the content; there are huge amounts of information out there and if you provide services in the UK then sharing an article from an American company in the same domain is unlikely to point your potential customers in the direction of a competitor.
3) Search-engine optimisation (SEO)….or in other words how to get your website to show up on page 1 of Google search results. This is not as complex as many would like you to think but it does require thought and effort.
4) Brand awareness – if people see your brand in their Twitter feed or Facebook timeline on a regular basis, then it stands to reason that you become higher up in their consciousness. The old marketing adage that your prospects need to see your message at least seven times before they take action, is based on experience!
5) Networking is something we all know we need to do (people buy from people…..) and social media gives us the opportunity to do this without always having to go to a networking event to stand around getting backache, while being talked at by someone who is too nervous (or something anyway) to remember not to sell to everyone they meet! It gives you the opportunity to be useful to people who may need your services at some-point in the future, or more importantly, people who know people who would use your services. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for business-to-business (B2B) organisations.
6) You can and should promote your business and its products / services via social media channels. You do have to strike a balance between just sending out ‘buy from me’ messages and useful engaging content. However, you don’t invest in social media for the fun!
7) Advertising on many of the social media platforms is relatively cheap and can be highly focused to your customer demographic. On Facebook, for example, you can target specific ages, home location, interests and more.
8) Lastly it is important because everyone else is using it – can you afford not to be at the party? Nowadays not being engaged on social media is like a builder not being listed in the Yellow Pages 20 years ago. How is anyone supposed to know you exist?
For details about how we can help with social media without forcing you into a one-size-fits-all model, click here