Social Media is a marketing activity that supports the strategy of creating word of mouth. It uses online tools (like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to help spread the word electronically. Social media differs from traditional media in that it is easily accessible, frequently updated, and able to reach an extremely broad audience almost immediately.
Social media allows your business to connect with customers, sales prospects, media, partners, co-workers and potential recruits.
Successful businesses use social media as one part of their annual marketing plan – not as the only activity. Continue to do what has worked for you in the past, and figure out ways to make social media work for you too! In fact, social media works best combined with other, more traditional marketing activities.
Using Social Media For Your Business
Make A Connection To Your Customers
Social media allows you to connect with your customers in an immediate and frequent way. However, make sure that you mix promotional posts with sincere, informative, related content-driven posts. Consistently “selling” your followers online is a quick way to lose followers.
Be A Curator Of Knowledge
Don’t worry, you don’t have to write all original content. Providing valuable information from a trusted and related source actually increases the chance that your customers will share your content with their friends and family. For example, if you run a wine shop, share information from the wine industry that would be relevant to your customers.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
The immediacy (and visibility) of social media has allowed for the various channels to become unofficial “customer feedback” forums for your business. However, the immediacy of social media also allows you to respond to unhappy customers right away. Offer a discount on their next visit, a gift card, or some other way to say, “We’re sorry,” and you will appease the customer and showcase your excellent customer service skills to the rest of the social network.
What Are The Most Popular Channels of Social Media?
Facebook is the most-used social network in the world, with over 1 billion monthly users. While a good amount of users are connecting with friends, almost half of users are using Facebook to connect with businesses and non-profits and sharing the news, insights and content from those organizations. By creating a business Facebook page, you can enlist a group of followers who “like” your page, and receive updates in their daily news feeds.
For more information on using Facebook for your business, check out the Facebook Marketing Activity.
With over 250 million users, Twitter was ranked as one of the Top 10 Most Visited Sites in 2012. Due to the 140-character limit on any Tweet, it allows for succinct (and real-time) sharing of information. Using Twitter allows your followers to broadcast your message to their followers, who could broadcast it to their followers, and so on and so forth, all in a matter of minutes.
For more information on using Twitter for your business, check out the Twitter Marketing Activity.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet with over 175 million members in over 200 countries. As opposed to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is most widely used for connecting people professionally, based on similar business interests and networks. Group discussions offer users a forum to ask for advice, exchange best practices and share industry news. For more information, visit: LinkedIn
Our Top Tips For Using Social Media For Your Business
Like any marketing activity, social media should be selected because it is the right way to reach your customers and that you have the resources to support that tactic. For example, if you’re interested in using Twitter…
(a) are your customers using Twitter?
(b) are they on Twitter following companies like yours?
(c) do you have something they care about to talk about? (no really, why should they care?)
(c) do you have the time, energy, and content to sustain long term communication?
Some additional tips:
- Make relevant, informative posts
- Monitor what people are saying to you, about you, about your industry or your competitors
- Be responsive
- Post consistently
- Think locally (Chambers of Commerce, other local businesses) – they may be willing to post about your business
- Use photos in your posts, when applicable
- If all else fails, hire an intern!
We also highly recommend developing a Communication Calendar. This will help you outline your key messages throughout the year. The calendar can apply to your in-store promotional messaging, eNewsletter, advertising, and what you Tweet or post on Facebook.
See the Marketing & Communications Plan Guide for the comprehensive approach to this topic.
Image Source: www.xprogress.com/post-48-free-social-networking-hand-drawn-doodle-icon-set