An often misunderstood aspect today’s social media is its value for business. Whether you’re marketing for a small firm or a 100-person enterprise, it’s vital to understand the potent role digital marketing and social media can play in adding to your bottom-line.
Social Media Overview
Social media communities are made up of various demographics of people sharing experiences, news, reviews, recommendations and all kinds of information. You – as a business owner or business manager – can participate in these communities for free. However, each community is uniquely different. And based on your particular business, you may find some communities are more receptive to your participation, and thus more valuable to participate in, than others.
Where do I do it?
If you haven’t already, go claim your business profile on the following social media communities:
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com
- Twitter – https://twitter.com
- Google+ – https://plus.google.com
- LinkedIn – https://business.linkedin.com
If you’re unsure how to set-up your account, here are some “how-to” guides:
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/set-up-facebook-page
- Twitter – https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/create-a-twitter-business-profile.html
- Google+ – https://business.google.com/create
- LinkedIn – https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/get-started
Other Social Medias
There are other social media communities that may be specifically useful for your industry. The above four have been around for quite a few years and have, literally, billions of users. So, it’s important to claim your profile there for brand purposes. But engagement can be market-specific, so it’s important to know where your customers spend their time.
For example, if you sell day-trips or weekend vacations, and part of your target market demographic includes moms, “empty nesters,” or retirees, you would do well to also set-up business profiles and channels on the following sites:
- Instagram – https://business.instagram.com/
- Pinterest – https://business.pinterest.com/en/set-your-business-account
If you are marketing an individual or event-based brand, the following sites typically ramp-up excitement among a loyal fan base, and you might find value participating in:
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com
- SnapChat – https://www.snapchat.com/
Typically, we recommend careful participation when first starting out with any social media community. What this means is that you provide value to your engagements, and aren’t just asking for individuals to leave the community to visit your site and purchase your product or service.
If you’re an expert in your field, you can provide a Q&A (question and answer session) where people from the community can ask you anything about your business, your product, or your field.
If you’re a startup or new to a field, you can share other expert articles you come across, and news announcements you think are relevant to your audience. By showing your engagement with the community you can show that you are connected and staying on-top of the latest information.
If your business has been around a while, but you’re new to social media, you could share case studies of how you’ve helped previous clients or customers and made them happy. Testimonials, stories, or real world customer experiences are always valuable for communities to see.
As you start to engage by sharing and posting your own input, you will begin to get questions from potential customers. This is a great opportunity to answer customer service inquiries publicly – and will serve as an online resource for all potential future customers who will have the same question or encounter the same problem. Cherish these opportunities, and re-broadcast them through shares, re-tweets, and (if the opportunity presents itself) in-depth explanations through your blog, especially if the subject requires a more in-depth answer than a standard social media post.
This is a great opportunity to reach customers who would not otherwise find out about you, by seeing how you respond to their friends.
Site Links & Sharing
Once you have your social media profile set up and you’re starting to engage with your community, you can add social media links on your website.
You can do this through icons or text links in the header or footer of your site.
(Example of social media icons in the header of Pathway One – http://www.pathwayone.com/)
For your own personal blog, white papers, or news announcements, you can also add “social sharing” links. Social sharing links are usually site-specific links provided by a plugin that allows users to share your blog post or news announcements easily with their friends, without having to cut and paste your website URL.
(Example of social media sharing links)
This is just a primer on social media for business, but it’s a good place for you to begin to engage with social media communities that simply don’t know about you.
If you have any questions for us here at Pathway One, please leave a comment below, or share on your favorite social media site….