Sunday, 15 January 2012

Social Media and your Business

Did you know that over 30 billion pieces of information are shared through facebook a month??!!  Twitter is tweeting messages 25 billion times a month!  I think it's safe to say social media sites are here to stay and impossible to ignore if you own a business.

Question is how can we harness these powerful tools for our businesses? 

To start with you are building your own community, you want to become the 'go to' resource for the product or service you are offering.  You need to be visible not only to the people who know you but to people who are yet to use you or your company.  Engaging in social media and blogging keeps you in peoples minds and keeps you visible. 

People who are engaged in your social media will visit your business more often and need less convincing to purchase what you are selling because you have made yourself more available by sharing information, connections and earning their trust.

More obviously social media gives you a chance to highlight your products or services and talk about what you do without it being a hard sell.  This is of course if you make sure that you have a balance. It's no good if every post is a sales pitch but when mixed in with interesting articles on your subject matter, news, views, resources it becomes a great way of getting your business out there and not in peoples faces.  It is also a tool to use for customer service,  answering questions about products and for your audience to review and share their experiences.

Social media is having a huge impact on my company, KidzGrab.  We have referrals and leads every week as a direct result of our social media presence.  We are contacted by customers, merchants and also people wanting to partner with us because of something we have 'tweeted' or written in a blog post.  Make yourself part of your brand, get yourself noticed.

Give your brand a face - so many companies hide behind their logos and brands.  Give your company the personal touch let them know who you are.  Tell your story, let your consumers become a part of it, let them share in your success.  Actively ask for opinions and comments about your business and working practices so you can constantly improve and move with the times and stay fresh and in tune with what your consumers want.  You won't always like what people say but if you know what people think then you can make positive changes.  Many of the wonderful ideas that we have implemented since we first went 'live' have come from our customers.  I am not saying you should use every idea that comes in, I am saying that you should listen to your audience and that you are fulfilling their needs and expectations as far as is possible for your company.

One particular thing for me was when someone on Twitter said to me and I quote 'If you want to be taken seriously on here then you need to join in and your timeline needs to look less like a spam feed'  It really grated on me at the time, we had only been running a few weeks and social media was so new to me.  He was completely right though, I had got lazy and was just letting my Facebook automatically update my twitter with usually just our daily deal news, people were bored and rightly so!  I took the advice and made time for twitter...what happened?  Our fan base went up exponentially over the next week and people stated interacting with me.  

For businesses it's also a great way to keep up with your own industry news and views, absolutely vital if you want to stay at the top of your game. 

My only real problem with social media is the inordinate amount of time it takes to upkeep, I know it's time well spent but it does take a lot of it!!  The other problem is the choice - facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace, bebo, G+  the list goes on and on!  How do you decide which to get involved in and which to leave alone!  It's certainly not possible to do all of them unless of course you have a person at your company who's sole job is for social media, which I expect larger companies I am guessing do perhaps!

For us we have stuck to the main avenues facebook, twitter, linkedin and blogger.  I did try out Google + but to date it still presents a bit of a mystery to me!

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