Time and time again, business courses, workshops, and general media are going on about using social media for business.
People are pretty much sold on the benefits of it, but are still unsure – what is my ROI? What will I get out of it? How do I know this is beneficial for my business?
Simply speaking, 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 medium for promoting what you do, and letting people know of the benefits you can bring their current situation.
At the same time, social media also doubles as a networking tool. Think about how much time you currently spend talking on the phone, replying to e-mails, networking at events, and any other ways you use to socialize and network for your personal and business use. To really make social media work for you, you’d need to invest the same amount of time you currently spend networking, and do it through social networks.
Social media gives people the opportunity to combine marketing strategies with networking. The nature of social networking helps you network, and when coupled with basic marketing principals, it can fully succeed no matter what way you need it to. The way to market on social media is to spend time on there. Unlike setting up a billboard and have it bring value to each person who sees it, you need to bring that value with individual comments, joining in with discussions, being forward enough to introduce yourself to potential clients, and bringing value by sharing links to articles, products and services you recommend.
So what ARE the benefits of using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook?
Engage with your target market. Through 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 to your audience and value you produce makes sure you are positioned to be as much of an expert in your field as your words portray. The amount of content you produce gives you the advantage to make sure your audience never forget about you, but also as we all know, we all have our own lives and people just aren’t sitting at their computer waiting for your next update, so you need to make sure you catch them when they finally do get round to logging onto their social networks. So that’s where the repetition and amount of time you keep putting yourself out there will amount to valuable engagement with your target market.
Getting straight feedback. Sure it may sometimes be from the general public, but it’s very valuable information for you to obtain about how others perceive your services and benefits of doing business with you through the internet.
Instantly reaching out to your potential clients. The beauty of the internet is that the entire world, 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 benefit of the internet is that it has the power to update the world about events as they happen. Once something happens and you wait until tomorrow morning to report on it, chances are it won’t be as current or someone else would have taken the space of being ‘the first reporter’ of the happenings.
Get the inside scoop about your industry. Social media is public. And that can be a good thing. This means you can find out valuable information about your competitors, and any current events or news happening 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 he loves the singer Taylor Swift, so he called his car ‘Taylor The Swift’ and made a Facebook Fan Page for it. So when the big mishap happened at the Music Awards when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, everyone around the world of all ages were talking about how unfair this was on Taylor, people were searching the internet for the video clips, opinions, forums and pages about this event. Coincidentally, although for most people a race car driver wasn’t going to be of interest, because of the amounts of people searching the name ‘Taylor Swift’ guided their Google searches to my friend’s ‘Taylor the Swift’ Facebook Page. Almost overnight, his Fan page grew from about 100 of his friends and fans to about 700 fans. That’s a 600 percent increase! How would you like to increase your target, pin-pointed audience online by 600 percent?
Raise awareness of your brand. Through your involvement in social media, you have the power to not only connect and engage your target audience, but by doing so, you will also be raising the awareness of your brand. Of course we can’t all be McDonald’s with the yellow arches, but we can certainly try become the expert in our industry through the value of our content we produce and share with our online audience. Just make sure you’re including your website, logo, and anything else that will give your brand association with your name online, so when people say ‘Eva-Maria’ online now, if they are within my target audience and don’t necessarily know my name, they will at least be able to identify with my bestselling book’s title ‘You Shut Up!’ because I always make sure I’m consistent with my subject, brand and content.
Promote your Content. Once you write anything – a press release, article, blog post or update on your life, use your social networks to update the rest of the world. By keeping in constant touch with people online, you’re ultimately building awareness of your being, expertise and important-ness online.
What would it take to convince you to get onto those social networks?