How to grow your business using social media
What does social media mean for your company? Are you using Facebook or Twitter to reach your prospects, and is it really worth it – especially for small businesses?
You must understand social media to use it effectively, says Christopher Carfi, vice president of Social Business Strategy at Ant’s Eye View, a Mountain View, Calif., firm that helps organizations develop and implement social media strategies.
Just about every company has a social media presence in some way or another. Some are savvy, but others create a Facebook page and expect the work to be done for them. It’s a dangerous mindset; just like everything, maintaining a strong social media presence takes a lot of work. The payoff can be incredible, though–growing your business through social media is very possible. Here’s how.
Social media promotions draw in new users and returning customers alike, providing a new outlet for deals, sales, and the like. Making them exclusively available through social media drives traffic, which in turn generates buzz surrounding a brand. Just about everyone is on one platform or another–reach out to them and give them some value. The business it draws in generally results in return customers, too, so everyone benefits from a good social media promotion.
More companies have started using social media as a means of handling customer service, which is a win-win for customers and companies alike. Customers want easy access to companies, and companies want to solve problems as efficiently as possible. Twitter, in particular, has become a popular medium for managing comments and complaints, with countless companies embracing its simple and informal nature.
REACH UNIQUE AUDIENCES.
Reaching everyone is just about impossible, yet many see social media as an opportunity to do just that, which is problematic. Instead of trying to reach out to everyone, social media provides an opportunity to reach the right audience. Finding the perfect people to engage with works wonders for businesses, and reaching out to a specific group is more manageable than ever thanks to unique mediums like Snapchat and Pinterest. Anyone can post a Facebook status for their business, but adapting to the right audience can be absolutely invaluable. Aaron Fitzgerald, CEO and co-founder of Ncrease, explains that “businesses are often surprised at what they find when they begin to really use social media to connect with their customers’ daily lives. We often see businesses uncover pockets of users they were previously unaware of just by joining the conversation. And there’s a lot of value that comes from really knowing who they are and what they’re saying. That’s powerful.”
B2B IS EASIER.
Beyond reaching customers, social media provides businesses the opportunity to engage with one another, especially on platforms like LinkedIn. Collaboration, sales, and relationships are easily fostered through the proper use of social media, which has allowed numerous businesses to engage with one another. “Developing a social media strategy is the new way of selling by educating your leads, developing trust with prospects, and engaging your customers,” says Fabrice Gould, founder and CEO of Digg. “To execute on your strategy, it’s imperative to understand who is your audience, what are their challenges, and what information is relevant to educate them by creating interactive conversations to ultimately expand your audience reach on social networks.”
It’s also highly conducive to networking, allowing professionals to build relationships and discover new avenues to explore. Craig Lewis, creator of Visage Payroll, a free payroll service, says, “We believe that social media is such an important part of our growth that we built 100 percent of our marketing automation strategy around it. The genesis of all of our growth originates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. As a startup or small business, social media should be your sales and marketing weapon of choice. It provides a level playing field against the big players and incumbents.”
CREATES A UNIQUE VOICE.
A brand is a crucial part of a business; it creates a particular image that people bear in mind and associate certain values with. Having a strong social media presence naturally creates a unique voice through which a company can engage with their audience, who will appreciate the content more than ever. A bland presence does nothing whatsoever for a company, so have a bit of personality when managing social media. The effects on overall operations can be staggering. Timothy Olmstead, a Manassas divorce lawyer, says, “With so many law firms competing for clients, social media is the ideal platform to highlight the unique qualities of your firm. Legal professionals that want to develop a specific brand or reach a specific clientele now have more control than ever, through social media marketing.”