You see it everywhere; on blogs, websites, videos, your emails… just about every piece of content you find on the Internet. You come across social media icons asking you to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter. Every business seems to be on one or more social media platforms. But are you using social media?
The statistics of how many people are on social media seem to rise every year. According to Statista, Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users as of the end of June, 2017. Twitter has 328 million monthly active users; up from 310 million monthly active users at the beginning of 2016.
Social media is here to stay, so if your business is not on social media yet, it’s time to consider the potential benefits… the consequences should be self-evident just by knowing the number of active users.
Why Using Social Media Matters to Your Business
First, we’ll discuss why it’s so important to have your business on social media. For one thing, it offers business owners the ability to get the word out about events such as product launches. Or they could post business-related announcements such as an upcoming interview or webinar they will be hosting. Whatever is taking place can be shared on social media.
And then there are the many benefits of using social media to promote your business. Here are just a few:
Social Media Develops Brand Recognition
If you want people to recognize your brand, it’s important to develop a brand that you use across all social media networks. Use the same logos, in different sizes, and stay true to your brand at all times.
Establishing your brand identity through the use of social media platforms will go a long way toward gaining loyal customers and building a successful business.
Social Media Develops Trust
When you consistently deliver valuable information over time, your audience becomes accustomed to you and your message. They develop trust in you and are more likely to purchase from you.
Using Social Media Increases Authority
When you frequently post accurate and helpful information as mentioned above, people begin to view you as an authority on the topic. Once you’re viewed as an authority, you will start making money. Again, it goes back to trust.
Using Social Media Increases Brand Loyalty
And the T word, yet again. The more your brand is out there, the more your brand is recognized by your audience as one they trust, you will gain their loyalty. Customer loyalty is crucial and should never be assumed or taken for granted. Be true to your brand and your customers will be true to you.
Using Social Media Increases Traffic to Your Website
Use social media to share and promote your blog posts, guest blog posts, products, and new product launches, to name a few. This will increase the traffic to your website exponentially. Also, one of the best ways to rank higher in search results is to be active on social media as search engines give weight to social media activity.
Using Social Media is Inexpensive
Social media is an inexpensive form of marketing. In fact, it costs a whopping $0 to sign up. If you purchase advertising, that’s another story. However, it is still inexpensive relative to other forms of paid advertising.
Social Media Allows for Useful Consumer Engagement
Social media can also be fun. Just be careful and guard yourself from getting sidetracked. Be interactive and engaging with your followers; be friendly, professional, and don’t be afraid to be humorous. Additionally, if you intend to be controversial, decide in advance how you will handle the inevitable fallout that will come your way.
Keep in mind social media is a huge time suck if you let it. Remember, time is money. Automate what is not direct communication so you get more done in less time.
Social Media and Mobile Devices Are a Marketer”s Dream
Marketers around the world rejoice in the fact that social media works effortlessly on mobile devices. Social media and mobile really go hand-in-hand. People take their mobile devices everywhere… they never leave home without it.
Which Social Media Platforms Should You Choose
There’s a dizzying array of social media sites out there, from giants like Facebook to small, niche-oriented sites you probably wouldn’t find if you didn’t know they existed. It’s impossible to create and manage a profile on every site on which your target market hangs out.
Since social media sites come in all shapes and sizes, let’s see if we can narrow the field. To start with, the majors include:
It’s your job to determine where your audience hangs out and actively participates. If your audience mostly hangs out on LinkedIn, trying to reach them on Pinterest, or even Twitter, may not work out for you.
And consider that you not only need to match your audience with your business, you also need to match the social network platform with your business; which will work best to get your message out and promote your brand.
Luckily, social media has evolved so much that everyone is everywhere. But you don’t want to take that for granted. People could pare down their social media presence at any time so you want to keep an eye on social media trends and how your audience responds.
Your objective is to choose the most effective and most active social media networks for connecting with your audience and customers.
Types of Social Media
Yes, there are different types of social media platforms. Just look at the list above. YouTube bears no resemblance to the others on the list yet it is what I consider to be essential.
So let’s break it down.
Essential Sites: Facebook and Google+ are essential sites. While Facebook is the largest social network on the Internet, they are both general and cater to everyone. That makes them suitable for any kind of business.
There you can connect with like-minded associates who could potentially become your customers. What’s just as important is you can cultivate relationships for future partnerships.
YouTube is also an essential site. Whether you open a YouTube account or any other video sharing site, video is going to play an ever-increasing role in marketing so you might as well get on board.
Video Sites: These are sites where you can upload your videos to share with your audience or display on your blog. Dailymotion is one such site in addition to YouTube. You can also use your Amazon S3 account for hosting your videos.
Professional Networking Sites: LinkedIn is the largest and most popular social media platform for professionals. It’s a B2B platform for networking and recruiting.
Blogs & Forums: Blogs are also a form of social media and crucial to your business. A business blog gives you a way to connect with your readers and customers through the Comments function. And if none of the above appeal to you, there are niche-specific forums you could join. Just do a search and check them out; be sure to read their Terms of Service carefully.
How to Decide Which Social Media Site to Use
When deciding which social media sites to use, first consider if it is a site that will benefit your business. For example, Facebook is a site where regular folks hang out while LinkedIn is where professionals network. But did you know that:
So, if you’re a professional you should probably be able to find or connect with other professionals on Facebook; however, on Twitter or Pinterest, not so much.
It might also interest you to know that mothers with children under the age of 5 are the most active on social media.
Statistics are your friend so do your research, learn from them, and use them.
Then look at the features the site offers. Google+, for example, offers the Hangouts feature which is great for a live event with your fans. If you enjoy yapping in real time with your peeps, then that is a + in favor of using Google+.
You need to get as much information about what each social media site has to offer. Only then can you make the right decision for your business. A good rule of thumb to follow is to start with one site and establish a routine before moving on to the next.
Create a Social Media Calendar
It takes time to maintain a social media presence, so you need to set up a schedule. If you are present on 5 social media platforms and you attend to all of them on a daily basis, chances are you won’t be doing anything else.
Yes, you need to post content, answer messages and reply to comments, and interact with your peeps. But you can semi-automate some of these tasks. There are social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to help you.
Create a calendar and plug in the days you’ll work on/post to each social media site so you don’t lose your mind or your business in your quest to become a social rock star.
Since social media is about being social then you need to make sure you are. You must actively participate if you want social media to work for you. If you’re just getting started, then pick a platform you like and go with that one. Don’t add more until you’re comfortable with the platform you are working with and establish a routine you stick to.
The goal is to use social media to boost your business so don’t over reach; don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you need to hire a social media manager or a VA to handle your social media accounts, then that’s what you need to do. Only by staying active will you stay relevant.
Using social media to boost your business is a no-brainer. If you’re not yet sold on the notion, I don’t know what else I can say other than everyone’s getting social… so should you or be left behind.
You don’t need to be everywhere but you do need to be somewhere, so get ready to get social!