USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR BUSINESS

Paul Skene

There is absolutely no denying the overwhelmingly positive effect that the use of social media can have on promoting your business, which in turn only increases both cash flow and income in the long run. That’s why understanding how social media can be used to your businesses’ advantage can only be a good thing; there are so many tools at our disposal in this technological age, it’s a sin not to adapt and use them! We live in a connected society now, so having a social media presence is just as necessary as having an ID.

The use of social media has become perhaps one of the best marketing strategies in recent years, so if you’re starting up a company or you’ve already managed to build a small business of your own and you still haven’t gotten into the social media wagon, then it is my duty to tell you you’re making a big mistake. You’re probably a social media user, right? You definitely don’t live under a rock, so you know how it works. You know people publish every experience and opinion that they care to share online, there’s no escaping that fact, so chances are people are already talking about your business.

By not having an online presence, you fail in both directing and being a part of the conversation about your own products and services. That’s a huge disadvantage for your business because you risk losing customers and you’re not having an active role in gaining popularity for your brand.

Take financial services for example; they recognize the power of social media for marketing strategies and these same financial services are actually being reshaped by that power. Social media platforms are definitely not only for communicating with your friends and sharing memes anymore, they can actually have an impact on whether you get that loan you need or not; in fact, social media data is also used by financial technology companies to help people get credit or even open bank accounts. Major banks now have smartphone apps which makes wiring money that much more instant and there are so many banking companies that have fully integrated social media into their services, going so far as to allow Facebook credentials to be used to access personal accounts.

One of the many ways social media has become such an asset for businesses is that it is directly connected to customer service. In this age of online consumption and e-businesses we all expect real-time responses from our service providers of choice. Customers need that clear, direct line of communication; there’s no way to go around that. The most successful businesses in the market have made sure that they have a strong online presence and that they interact daily with their followers, they stay on top of both feedback and trending topics; they also make sure that they link those popular topics with their own brand, which is always a brilliant move. What’s more, the use of social media to stay on top of customer service actually reduces the cost; it is indeed cheaper than other approaches to achieve the same goal.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of business you own or what type of services you provide, an online presence is essential to increase your customer base, your visibility and, most importantly, your profits. If you make yourself shareable, you only increase the spread of your business; that’s just simple math.

So, if you’ve made the wise decision of jumping into the social media wagon, here are three of the main pieces of advice that are really important for a beginner to keep in mind. First of all, pick the platform that suits your business the best. Every social media platform is a universe of its own and people behave very differently in each one of them, they all have a unique style to them, so there’s not a strategy to fit all. You have to make sure you do two things: (1) do some research on your customers, figure out which social media platforms they prefer; the result of your enquiry should be your main focus on social media, and (2) don’t just copy and paste one post into every platform, figure them out individually and adjust your content to each one of them. Don’t worry if a particular plan is not successful at first, just try again and don’t give up. It takes a bit of effort getting used to the flow of social media, but you will.

Second of all, your social media presence should have goals! One of the very first things you need to do is sit down and really think about what you want to gain out of it, what you want to accomplish for your brand. Whether you want to increase credibility, boost your website’s traffic or increase feedback, everything you do online should serve those purposes.

Last but not least, the way you deliver your content shouldn’t be random! It should be organized and deliberate; people sense when you’re just winging it; that translates into very negative points for your brand. Be mindful and use the social media management tools that are available out there to make this task a lot easier and less overwhelming. You have to be a good manager even when it comes to social media use!

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