How social media can impact your business
Social media and its popularity has risen significantly over the past 5 to 10 years. According to PewResearch, in 2013, 73% of all online adults are on social media. Most of your customers are on at least one social media site, so social networks can be an effective and cheap way to connect and interact with your customers while promoting your brand. Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are some of the most visited sites on the Internet. There is a benefit to businesses if they leverage social media the right way. However, if it is done incorrectly, it can have a negative impact or no impact at all. Social media gives consumers a channel to reach out to your company and have their voice heard. It allows you to interact with consumers by creating interesting content, become a trusted source of information, and it can potentially be a selling channel.
There are many social media sites available and some are more important for businesses than others. The most recognized sites for businesses are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Each of these sites have their own unique benefits and pitfalls. Facebook is the most widely reached out of all of them, but people may be on Facebook for social enjoyment, not to learn about businesses. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is geared towards business to business connections and may not be the best way to reach your customers if you are a business to consumer company. Some sites may be ideal for your business and others may not make sense. It is also wise to have a plan before jumping into social media for your business. You need to ask yourself questions about where your audience will be. Where is my audience active? Where do they search? What would they like to see? Asking yourselves questions around your audience will help guide you to the correct social media sites. You may want to test one site at a time to see its effectiveness.
Another piece of online content that can be advantageous is a blog. A blog consists of entries made by an individual or company onto a web page. Consumers can add comments about a posting which allows for interaction. Blogs are great for adding interesting, original and frequently updated content to generate followers. The blog should be of interest to your readers. For example, the BMT Micro blog focuses on posts around Marketing Tips & Tricks and ways to use our system more effectively. These are written with keeping our consumers in mind.
Social media sites allow you as a company to share any information you deem pertinent with your consumers. This can include company news, new products or services, product updates and reviews, promotions, or how-to videos. You want to present information that engages your consumer. In order to make your consumers followers of your content, it needs to appeal to them. When they do become engaged and comment or leave reviews, it is important to reply to them. You should thank them for the positive feedback and look to resolve any issues with negative feedback.
Consumers nowadays are not typically drawn to traditional advertising. They are continuously bombarded with advertisements all day long, so it easy for them to block out most of them. They do love recommendations from other consumers, whether they know them or not. Social media sites are a perfect channel for customers to leave reviews for other consumers to read. You should encourage loyal and repeat customers to leave reviews. Some companies ask customers to leave a review in order to enter into a raffle for a prize. This gives the consumer incentive to leave a review and it helps the company generate reviews from their customers. Social media has not changed the concept of word of mouth recommendations, but it has increased the number of consumers that a review will reach. Customers can jump on a social media site and instantly tell hundreds or thousands of their friends about their experience. This is why enhancing the customer experience has become essential. It is very easy and quick to set up a site and begin publishing content. If your content is interesting, you can generate followers who may share your content and this will expand your reach.
Social media is not only a good way to communicate to your customers but it is a good way to listen to them as well. Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with voicing their concerns on social media sites. It is also important to let them know that you hear their concerns and are looking to resolve any situation as quickly as possible. Most of the time if the feedback is handled well by the company, the consumer will have a better overall feeling towards the company. It is also a good way to get feedback about your products to see where you can improve. There are a lot of tools that can help you monitor what your consumers are saying, such as Google Alerts.
Social media can also be a channel for you to advertise through. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter already provide ways to advertise your company or your posts. They allow you to target certain consumers or post to everyone. Some of the platforms can get very expensive. It is good to experiment with different social media sites to see which one is the most effective for your brand. In order for this to be successful, you need to keep track of each ad and each social media site to see which one generates more sales.
Social media has become widely embraced and used by many different cultures and age groups. Due to its prevalence in consumers lives, businesses need to utilize its reach and affordability to take their business to the next level. Companies also need to be aware of the control it gives the consumers and learn how to use it to their advantage instead of letting it impact their business in a negative way.