The importance of social media to businesses

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(Photo courtesy of GOIABA on Flickr)

No matter what size your company is or what sector it operates in, there are many reasons to implementation a social media strategy.

The uses of different platforms of course differ in terms of the type of company you run and in most cases; a finely tuned crossover of two or more platforms used in different ways is usually the best recipe for success.

Before considering what social media options are right for you, you have to think first of your customer.

Remember, social media is there to bridge the gap between a company and the customer. The general public give much more trust to their piers than they do a faceless corporation, social media is your ticket to eradicate brand/customer estrangement.

If you still feel unsure about what social media can do for you, here is a list of the most used social media platforms for business and what they can offer you:

Facebook – The biggest network out there and business pages are a great way to connect with your customers.

Facebook is best known for connectivity with the younger age groups but many older people are joining every day.

It’s great for interactivity with your customers as there are many things you can implement such as, games, visuals, and competitions. If you give your customers something they can share, your audience act transporters of your message again harnessing the power of the piers! This increases brand trustworthiness.

If you give customers something they can create, they are more likely to share it – this makes Facebook like many social media platforms a cheap and effective method of marketing

Twitter – Has grown significantly in recent years and many businesses have found use of for the network.

Twitter, like Facebook, is great for creating a forum for your customers. You can have fast conversation with consumers which gives you great feedback information. This is a much quicker and cheaper alternative to surveys and creates a deeper knowledge of your demographic.

What’s great about Twitter is it’s so easy to use; you don’t need a social media guru to execute an effective Twitter campaign. Think about what would be interesting to your customers and tweet regularly. Try to stay ahead of the news in your sector, this can make you seem like an authority in your sector making your brand even more trusted.

Twitter and Facebook work really well together, new games, news and competitions on your Facebook can be mentioned on the Twitter and it’s really good for monitoring KPIs.

Pinterest  – A relatively new platform but has really taken off quite quickly

You have to think a lot about your demographic with this one, keep in mind that it’s mainly young women who use it.

Keep your Pinterest efforts fun, light and interesting, and remember everything has to be super shareable, so it may not be so much of a concern for companies who don’t have any shareable content such as fun images or video.

Make sure the page your customers pin to looks interesting and is of a good quality, your website is like your home and every good business has to be very house proud.

A Pinterest campaign works with Twitter as your followers can see all of the things your business page has pinned and have an insight as to how interesting you are; also the #tags used on Pinterest translate on Twitter.

Pinterest doesn’t work as well with Facebook as it doesn’t integrate with the business pages yet.

Make sure you change the default setting that hides your board from the search engines!

Google+ – The newest social media platform and unsurprisingly has skyrocketed.

There have been a lot of studies about how social affects your SEO but Google+ might be the one to watch on this front.

It’s really easy to set yourself up as an author on Google+. Have one person from your business to be the face of the company to add the personal touch, but make sure you have your business name in there somewhere.

Google+ is really great news for those of you who are good face-to-face networkers. If you have met someone in real life they are more likely to add you to their circle so get back out there with your business card!

Google+ has been described as a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook as it allows for long-form posting as well as the real-time stream it also incorporates and the pin board style of images like Pinterest.

LinkedIn – A little differently configured and you really have to look at the stats and ask if it’s the right avenue for your business:

  • Average LinkedIn members have 240 contacts.
  • LinkedIn has had 45% growth increase in the last year.
  • 40% of all LinkedIn members live in the America followed not so closely by India at 9%

LinkedIn is really good for business-to-business companies; gaining contact with a particular person from prospective company client can give you a real leg up.

You might have to invest a little more time on your LinkedIn campaign in as you have to research people you want to contact. You have to look after your profile and make sure it is complete. Make sure you try to join discussion groups to create a presence for yourself on the network.

LinkedIn is really good for entrepreneurs or freelancers and maybe small businesses.

All social media channels have their own particular significance to business.

Another important fact to keep in mind, which is true of social media across the board, is that if you do not engage in any social media activity, your company may be perceived as a little old fashioned.

In the same breath, though, do not just go for any old social media campaign because you think you should, finding the balance that’s right for you is the most important factor.

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