Social media has been the hot topic in the online world for the last few years with companies all over the country, including Blackburn, Lancashire, becoming active on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I often think that the attitude businesses have to social media today is similar to the attitude that those same businesses had to having a website in 2000. In 2000 lots of companies thought “We’ve got to have a website because everybody has one”. Today many of those same businesses are saying “We’ve got to be on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn because everybody is”. What most of these businesses have not worked out is how they can use social media to enhance their business, in the same way that in 2000 those same businesses had a website built and six months later wondered why it had not turned their organisation into a billion pound business. The problem many businesses have is in understanding where social media fits in with their business objectives.
How To Use Social Media
The real power in social media is the fact that it allows genuine two way conversation to take place between your company and your customers. That conversation can also be viewed publicly by potentially millions of other people. This can frighten a lot of businesses who are afraid that negative publicity can be detrimental. This attitude is equivalent to you sticking your head in the sand and hoping that the problem will go away. People are probably already talking about your company online, would it not be better if you were aware of what people are saying about you?
It used to be said that if you please 95 out of 100 customers they would each tell one person about the good service that your company has provided meaning that 95 new people learnt how great you are; but that the 5 people who were dissatisfied with your brand would tell 20 people each about their experience meaning that 100 people would hear that you provided poor quality service, 5 more than had learnt how good your company is. Social media means that one person can realistically tell hundreds, if not thousands, of other individuals about their experience your company.
Social media can be used to:
Drive traffic to your website
Monitor what people are saying about your company
Allow you to promote your goods and services to a wider audience for a relatively small investment
Allow you to provide customer service to your clientele
Allow you to monitor what your competitors are doing
Social Media Strategy
The first thing that your company needs to do once you have taken the decision to become involved in social media is to devise a social media strategy. This begins with deciding which social media platforms you are going to utilise. Social media platforms are not all the same, they all have their own demographics and work in unique ways. For example if your business is primarily B2B then you would be far better to be on LinkedIn than on Facebook as LinkedIn is a network of business users who will access the platform during their working day to find information pertinent to their job while they will use Facebook in the evening to find out what their friends have been up to rather than to try to find a company who can provide your specialist services. Equally if you are a B2C company then Facebook may be the perfect way for you to keep in touch with your customers, telling them about special offers that you may have as well as providing them with updates about your business and sharing success stories.
Having decided on your social media platform(s) you then need to decide how often you will engage with people. The reality is that you will only get out what you put in. Social media is not a silver bullet that will magically generate business simply by being there. You will need to engage with users to build up trust in your brand.
Social Media Consultant
Michael Walmsley can help you to identify which are the best social media platforms for your business to utilise. Having gained an understanding of your business he can help you by creating a social media strategy that fits in with your busy schedule. Michael can even manage your entire social media operation for you, this can include:
Identifying which social networks are likely to lead to the greatest return on investment for your business
Creating a social media strategy for your organisation
Sourcing interesting and relevant content that will promote engagement from your customers
Increasing brand awareness by growing the following of your social media properties
Offer innovative ways to promote your business online
Monitor your social streams for negative comments so that they can be dealt with in a timely manner
Provide monthly reports on growth and engagement
Ensure that your social media output conforms to the policies of each social network
Michael Walmsley On Social Media:
“I often hear people say that they send one post out and it goes to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is not an economical use of your time as each social network works in a different way, has different users who require a carefully crafted message that is aimed at them and the social platform that they use. Social media is not a fad, it is here to stay and, when used properly, it is currently the greatest opportunity that you have to help grow your business.”
Social Media Blog
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