Social media websites exploded in popularity only a few years ago and they are now used so much that they’ve managed to become a part of our everyday language. Businesses are rushing to be a part of the social conversation, both as a method of connecting with their customers and advancing their own PR strategy. Until very recently there were only a few “large players” in the social media scene, particularly for businesses within the UK: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube stood apart as networks that immediately warmed to being used by businesses and with large enough user bases that seemed like obvious choices.
But now for every Facebook and Twitter, there are dozens of smaller and often more niche websites of a similar vein. Facebook has admitted that their use by teenagers has decreased, potentially due to the fact that many parents are now on the site and younger internet users desire a degree of separation. With so many sites to choose from and so many different ways to interact with your customers, it’s a good idea to set a good business foundation for your social media.
Steps to Being Smart and Social for your Business
There are several steps to deciphering which social media channels will prove to be the most effective for your business:
Investigate different social media websites: As already mentioned, there are dozens of smaller social media sites
- Find Your Audience: Where do they go to find the best products or information about the latest updates? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a large social media site, it could even be a forum on a very niche topic (as is the case with some B2B buyers).
- What are your competitors doing?: Check out your competitors social media and see where they’ve been successful and what they’ve done. Such research can give you ideas of your own.
- Don’t be swayed by the user numbers: If you find the perfect niche website for your business then don’t be put off if the fans can be measured in the thousands, or even the hundreds! The most important element of social media is connecting with the relevant audience and this will allow you to engage more with those who are more likely to become potential customers. It’s often better to speak to a smaller crowd who are more likely to convert than shout in a city centre of people who may not be interested.
- Stay Social: The key fact about social media is in the name: it must be social in order to work. Don’t just focus on the positives but actively seek out and engage with those who are unhappy or critical, if you get their issues sorted out promptly then that serves as excellent publicity. And social doesn’t just have to be about you and your customers, connecting with other businesses, local areas and relevant interests will make you more personable and give your brand more personality.
Keep an Eye on Changes Within the Service
To stay fresh, many social networking sites update themselves constantly; adding new features and redesigns to continually improve their services. At least, that’s the goal.
Some of these updates could improve your conversion rates through social media, such as Pinterest now allowing businesses to list pins as products, with prices and availability. Others will be relevant to how you utilise social media channels, such as the recent integration between YouTube and Google+ which makes it necessary to have a Google+ account if you wish to comment on a video. Adapting to these changes and new offerings can keep you ahead of other channels and pages.
You Don’t Have to be Social
Whilst businesses are leaping on social media as the next big thing it’s entirely possible that many channels won’t be quite the right fit for your business. A recent Buyersphere report revealed that buyers in business are far more swayed by brand ambassadors, events and brochures than by a flashy Facebook page.
That said, don’t underestimate the power of an active page that is interacting regularly with potential customers. Social media is far more focused on the power of a brand, so that the next time someone thinks of “the best” in a certain field, they can’t help but think of you. So do your research and work out if you can use social media to be a leader in your field and what your audience would be interested in finding out.