November 2013 - The Business Side of Social Media

social iconsAlthough it is estimated that 58% of all businesses are using social media, with approximately 79% having plans to continue or start using these platforms, many companies are still unsure why or how to use these sites.

Social media tools help a company brand, market and share information. They also allow your company channels to engage with your target markets in more frequent and less formal ways. Social media sites enable companies to deliver updates on new products, technology and company information without bombarding customers with “too much” or irrelevant data. Your customers (and the world) will have access to this information.

The more engaged a company is on social media sites, the more customers can interact with your brand and identify with your products. For example, customers may comment on blog or Facebook postings. This type of engagement can lead to positive word –of-mouth marketing as prospective customers may see testimonials from happy customers.

Big Myths and Big Benefits
The biggest misconception most business owners have about social media is that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to do it. There is no exact science to social media’s success or which channels work best. Companies have different objectives and different audiences, so the social media strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all. Determine who you want to speak to and how, and what you ultimately want to achieve before establishing your company’s social media presence.

The biggest benefit for companies using social media is that you will engage with companies via the sharing of information rather than trying to “sell” the customer. Target markets will read your content via social media sites or refer to you for free information. As a result, you may have more prospective customers giving you a call.

 

Share relevant and useful information with your target markets.

Be active. The more activity a company has on the social media
sites, the more participation they will receive. Also, the more relevant your information is to your target markets, the more participation you will receive.

Dedicate a person or department to manage your company’s social media efforts. Social media management is sometimes not a full-time job; however, a person or group should be responsible for its maintenance and growth.

Rather than opening a variety of accounts, start small. Choose one account, master it and then decide on the next social media account to open and how it may incorporate into your existing one. This pattern should continue.

Collect details through your social media platforms. The information can be used in your direct mail campaigns. This concept can be taken a step further via online contact collection forms where programmers can link the information to your CRM system.

Publish links and QR codes on all packaging and marketing collateral. This simple act will show consumers where to find more information about your company and products.

Motivate consumers to visit your social media platforms by offering a coupon or printable discount that they can only receive by visiting your social media sites.

Track the progress of your social media pages through special URLS printed on your packaging and direct mail campaigns. This will allow you to determine which offers and messages best attract potential clients.

For B to B companies follow your customers and prospects on social media sites to start a dialog. You don’t want to be a “stalker,” but companies like to be followed and you will learn a great deal about what is new and important to them. The more you know the easier to engage.