From presidential campaigns to raising awareness for social causes, social media plays a major role in running them. And businesses are no exception to this. In fact, with the proliferation of social media throughout the world, the fundamentals of marketing have changed dramatically over the last decade.
Regardless of the size, businesses are on social media for several reasons. And they are,
- Brand awareness
- To showcase products & services
- To generate leads
- Listen to customer complaints
- Gain referral traffic
Social Media is the best tool for making a buzz about your business. They are freemium publishing platforms that you can target your audience on. Most companies use social media to announce updates on the company or reveal what they have done and their future plans.
This is a great deal for companies as it is always best to be passionate about what you do and share it with your customers directly.
By doing so, the online reputation of the brand increases as customer’s knowledge of the brand expands. The credibility of the company or brand increases when you communicate the important milestones of your business to the customer. This way everyone including your fan base will know what you are doing for them. Your reputation will be built respectfully.
Showcasing Products & Services
This applies to all businesses at large as long as their intention is to market their products and services online. Through social media, you can directly showcase your products and information about services to the customer.
A majority of the social platforms offer to do this for free to a minimum audience. If you want your products and services to be promoted to a larger audience, there are paid advertising options as well.
You can also showcase your products or services in multimedia content. Images, animations, audios and videos are the most popular methods used across social media according to preference and type of the product or service you’re trying to market.
To Generate Leads
Social media is made to connect people regardless of their geographical location and differences. Everyone on social media shares common interests and characteristics. You can use social media to find about those interests and characteristics and use them to build a marketing strategy in favor of your business.
These websites collect information about your users and let you use them for advertising on demand. This way you can gather leads by marketing directly to the interested segments. You can also let people subscribe to your newsletter.
Listen to the Customer
Customer care is crucial to any type of company regardless of the size and type. Having after-sales service is extremely critical when you are selling products or services.
Your customers can have many problems regarding the services or products you offer. If you do not allow them to tell their problems to you, they will pursue solutions elsewhere. This can go very ugly as customers can gang up on the company destroying its reputation forever.
Always listen to your customer because the customer is always right. You can stay in touch with your customers by engaging with them on social media to provide immediate solutions to their problems.
To Generate Traffic
More than 70% of businesses have a website or two. Many product and service companies have got their own web store as well.
Referral traffic is very important to such websites and social media can easily take care of that. You can effortlessly attract customers to your money website by doing content promotion on social media. These social links add an SEO value as well. And with the metrics of engagement you collect through such promotional campaigns, you can effectively create your future content.
The 3 Major Social Media Platforms for Work
The almighty social media network is a great place to start. A single business page, dedicated to your business. Once set up, all information related to your business will be available on the page. Contact information, the website, open hours and even the message response rate will be visible to the customers. These are vital information dedicated to customer care.
You can start off with the profile image and complete your page with relevant content created by you or your stakeholders. Your fanbase will grow with time and you can speed this process up with a little budget.
You can experiment with content and understand what works on your target audience. You can specifically target your customers by age, location and even by gender-based interests. For a startup, this is a great tool to start with even if they don’t have a website.
Twitter is the best marketing giant next to Facebook. With the popularity of user generated content, Twitter grew in the same phase as Facebook.
There are millions of users that you can target on Twitter. The platform can be used to share your company updates briefly with relevant content attached to it. This way you can grab the attention of potential influencers to your website.
The best thing about Twitter is that you can talk to your audience without having to write long posts – by just using 140 characters. You can share multimedia content with Twitter to your target audience and with a small budget, you can reach more customers in a small period of time.
Engagement on Twitter is defined by the number of retweets (shares), the number of likes and clicks on the content you share. Very insightful metrics are given back to target / retarget your customer base from time to time.
Google Plus is well known for its communities. The audience on Google Plus is a different segment than in other social media networks. Google Plus users engage in subpages known as communities.
In these communities, users present their issues and look for answers. There are niche communities for many business categories. The answers are usually given by an industry expert or a subject expert on Google Plus.
The engagement on Google Plus is known as +1’s (similar to likes), comments and shares. You can use Google Plus to educate your users about the facts and figures related to your business. This is the best place to turn strangers into customers by directly engaging with them.
Other than the major social platforms, there are few others that can help you build up your online presence to take over the audience.
Pinterest is another social network, that can share graphic based tiles called boards. It’s a major image sharing platform. If your content is about a lot of graphics, using Pinterest would be ideal for your business.
Tumblr shares similar characteristics as other social networks, and it’s an all-in-one content solution to share videos, graphics, animations (gifs) and links.
You can make your social media strategy a success if you put allocate sensible time and effort towards it. Your business is the key benefactor of everything you do.
There are a few things that you shouldn’t do on social media as well. They are,
- Do not duplicate your content more often on social media. It’s fine to share updates about your involvement in potential networking groups, but don’t automate and duplicate the content you share. This will make your audience angry as it would look like spamming or like you have run out of things to say.
- Do not share gossips, rumors or false news which have no credible source – it is always better not to share them at all. These types of news can create mobs against your brand. Especially do not connect your political views with your brand. You might lose more than half of your audience. Be purposeful about the content you are sharing and confident with the sources of information you pass along.
- Don’t be sarcastic or rude to your customers or even to strangers on social media. This may affect your brand reputation. Always attend to customer issues as immediately as possible with utmost care. Be humble and listen to them while collecting and validating information they provide. If you are adamant about sharing your views, remember to keep it professional.
- Don’t try to do anything faster than it needs to be. If you rush things, the return will not be great as you expect. It can create unnecessary problems like typos and grammar mistakes. If any of your fans point out an error, do accept and fix it as soon as possible. Always make sure not to make silly errors as you may look unprofessional to your users.