A view on Social Media

social icons

There are a lot of interesting statistics relating to the power of social media – but is it right for your business?

We’ve all heard some amazing success stories of social media. There is no doubt that social media is a powerful tool for marketing. Whether social media is right for your business will depend on the nature of your business, the effort you can put into it and the channels you opt for.

Some businesses feel pushed into using social media, just because everyone else is doing it, while some believe it’s an absolute must have. However, it’s OK for a business not to use the key social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This might be controversial statement, but when resource, budget and time are limited, as is often the case with SMEs, then you’re better off doing no social media, than doing it badly.

However, you need to have your ear to the ground – or more specifically the web! Social media can work both for you and against you. If your business is being talked about, make sure you know about it and have a response. Potentially damaging press that is not challenged can otherwise be taken as gospel.

There are many, many social media channels you can work with. All have a place and some will better suite you business requirements that others.

Pinterest is a site to collect images of things that interest you – huge with the teen culture and a powerful tool for businesses selling into that market. It’s where the new trends and fashions are broadcast and shared. Also big for any visual based content – interior design, fashion, etc.

FaceBook is not a selling platform for B2B, but it is a great platform to promote the culture of your business; the company BBQ, office party, stuff that goes on in the office. After all, business is people working with people and to gain an insight into the culture of business can be important in some instances to gain business – and for prospect employees looking for a placement. Facebook also has channels for B2C.

LinkedIn is the professionals networking hub. This is where I want to see about the people that work in a business. What is their background, qualifications, professional experience etc. But there are some challenges to consider here – do I want my employees details available to head hunters? Do I want to network with competitive companies?

Twitter is a little more curious. It has a place in most businesses – but to do it properly, it needs resourcing. Twitter is a public social network, so virtually all ‘tweets’ can appear in search engine results, which is a powerful reason to be on the network. A search engine might not find your site against a set of search terms but it might find your company’s tweets – and of course, link to relevant content on your site/blog.

The crunch with all social media is resourcing – do I have the time to give to it and how can I measure ROI from the effort I put in? Return on investment is not easily tracked on some platforms, but there are tools to help.

The area I suggest any and all businesses should get involved with is their blog and articles pages on their own website. These are an alternative for brands who don’t have the time to directly manage a social media platform, but would like to dip their toe into social. Social media is about two-way communication, and you can optimise your blogs and articles to allow this through reader comments and social sharing buttons. Monitoring online conversations related to your brand through social media, along with industry news, will allow you to anticipate the needs of your audience and deliver the desired content via your blogs and articles.

One step further would be to create tweets relating to your articles, and if you have a user or prospects database, I would strongly recommend email marketing via a professional email-marketing platform (such as MailCentric) – a measurable platform with real-time reporting.

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