Quick guide to Social Media
Social media has become so popular recently that many companies are choosing to make the most of it for promotion and sales.
Why Social Media?
When you want to reach out to your current and potential customers, it is important to go where they are. It used to be enough to keep in touch by sending useful and relevant emails, but unfortunately this is no longer the case.
Most people now keep in touch through social networking sites, where communication is quick and easy. People are seeing emails more like writing a ‘snail-mail’ letter; using social media, they can chat with each other and share their thoughts and feelings to a general group of ‘friends’, rather than specifically emailing them.
This makes marketing a whole lot easier. If your customers and potential customers are linked to you on their social networks, they are more likely to see you as a ‘friend’. This means your job is half done. You are able to reach them when they are relaxed, in a good mood and feeling sociable; this is the ideal time to encourage buying behavior.
Which Social Media?
With the recent explosion of social networking sites, choosing which to make use of can be overwhelming. Whilst there are, most likely, sites designed to serve your specific niche, there are three big sites every business should be making use of: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
B2C businesses should concentrate their efforts on Facebook and Twitter; B2B businesses should maintain high presence on these sites, but should also make use of LinkedIn.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites across the globe. Its popularity has increased significantly in recent years, and is an ideal platform to share information, pictures, videos and offers.
With each post limited to just 140 characters, Twitter is perfect for engaging people with short, punchy comments. The remarkable thing about Twitter is that, as long as they have an account, you can contact anyone in the world – whether that’s your favorite celebrity, a business legend and inspiration, or your next-door neighbor. Of course, just because you can contact them does not mean they’ll reply; but chances are that if you have something insightful and interesting to say, you will catch their attention.
LinkedIn is a great way to present all the services you offer to a wide range of people in the business community. It allows for more business-focused discussion, which is particularly useful if you are selling to other businesses, rather than to consumers.
How to use Social Media.
The various sites can be used in very different ways – and for Facebook and LinkedIn, you can either use the sites for free or consider using paid options for an extra boost.
By setting up a business page, and encouraging people to ‘like’ that page, you have the ability to share important updates, offers and new product launches across your whole network.
When using Facebook, you should be careful not to simply preach to your audience – the very fact that they are using Facebook implies that they want to get involved. Encourage them to comment on your posts, ask them questions, offer them competitions with exciting prizes.
You can also choose to run Facebook Ads. Of course, you have to pay for Facebook Ads if you decide to run them. However, they can give you a significant boost in product sales or website visitors because you can very precisely target the type of person who sees your ad.
Twitter is the perfect platform for asking questions to a specific person, or for raising a discussion in which a number of people can participate. Twitter is free to use and accessible across the globe, so this is a great place to start a debate.
Also remember: if someone contacts you or asks you a question directly on Twitter, you should always respond. Twitter is all about having a conversation – you wouldn’t ignore someone at a networking event if they walked up to you and said hello, would you?
The best way to get involved on LinkedIn is to join groups and engage in discussions relevant to your business. If you can provide value through these discussions, you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
You can also pay to promote yourself on LinkedIn, and you can do this through LinkedIn Ads or by sending an InMail.
Paid ads work similarly to those in Facebook, allowing you to pinpoint your target audience and ensure that only the right people see your ads.
InMail allows you to deliver a personal email to anyone on LinkedIn – and your message is guaranteed to be delivered. Whilst you will pay for each InMail you send, this facility allows you to reach those people who might otherwise be unattainable – such as the CEO of a major company.
Should I use Social Media for my business?
The short answer is yes. If you are not present and active on social media, you will get lost in the noise of the Internet. By remaining active and engaging with people on social networking sites, you remain in top of mind and reinforce your position in your market.