Should I be using social media for business?
Many of us have a presence on social media, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. There are more prolific users than others, but there is no denying how quick and easy it is to communicate, share ideas and content, and stay informed.
A personal account can be great; we can connect with friends, we can ‘like’ and ‘follow’ our favourite celebrities, influencers, music acts, etc. We can also entertain the latest meme or viral video during the coffee break. When it comes to using social media for business, however, the response is often more reserved with many asking if it is a platform they should be utilising.
The simple answer is yes.
Gone are the days when publicity campaigns were achieved solely by email, newsletter, or even banner advertising. Social media and marketing now go hand-in-hand.
So, what is social media?
Firstly, it is important to note that social media and social networking are two different concepts. The terms are often used interchangeably, but this is incorrect.
Social media encompasses websites (and applications) that allow users to create, upload and share content online, whether it’s a newsletter, blog, podcast or video.
Social networking is more of a structure. It’s where users create and develop relationships, communicate with their audience and build the brand.
In other words, social media is about the content. Social networking is all about engagement.
Facebook is referred to as the world’s largest social network – it was the first to break the one billion mark. In fact, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced last year that the platform now has over two billion people, many of whom are active users.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has upwards of 700 million monthly active users.
Twitter, meanwhile, has around 330 million monthly active users – with approximately 100 million daily active users.
With Facebook as the world’s largest social network, LinkedIn steals the title of the world’s largest professional network. In 2017, the company revealed it had more than 467 million users on board.
Then, there’s YouTube. It’s the leader when it comes to video sharing online, but the platform is huge – it covers everything! Vimeo, on the other hand, is a really neat alternative for creatives. Founded in 2004, the video sharing platform has some 70 million creators on board and is a great way for users to share and promote their work. (Check out our very own Vimeo creation here!)
The statistics are staggering. The amount of content being created and consumed is immense. It makes the idea of being active on social media an obvious choice – if your audience is there, you should be too.
The possibilities are endless and below we’ve highlighted just a few reasons why you should be making the most of being social.
Any opportunity for a business to increase its visibility, no matter how small, is vital. Social media is another channel to share a company’s voice and message. It creates a new way to promote a product or service, and the flexibility of the platforms mean the potential for sharing unique user-generated content is limitless.
Informative and interesting content can make the difference and the more you have, the more you will be noticed – by existing and new customers.
While content is important, so is the interaction with your customer base. Now, we’re not necessarily suggesting you share a Grumpy Cat meme every Monday morning and ask who can relate to the feeling, but a business can humanise their brand on social media. Every interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to demonstrate your customer service and enrich your relationship with customers. It’s another communication channel, so if a user has something to say – good or bad – they will do so. It is up to the business to listen.
For example, if a customer makes a complaint about your product, you can immediately address the comment, apologise publicly, and take action to make it right. On the other hand, if a customer leaves a glowing compliment, you can thank them and recommend additional products or services. Let your audience know that they are valued and their opinions can help improve or influence future developments.
Whether it is an existing customer, or a new one, every social media platform you utilise acts as another route back to your website and can help increase your inbound traffic. The stronger your social presence is, the more traffic you are likely to generate, and the more this can lead to new opportunities or sales. It can also help with SEO, particularly if the major search engines use social media presence as a factor when calculating rankings.
A business can gain valuable feedback from its customers online. When you share content, how does your audience interact? For example, do they engage more with informative posts, or videos? Are these videos shared more than photographs? Or is there a specific social channel that garners more attention over another? Does a promotion work better on Facebook while a competition is best for Twitter?
Monitoring how your audience reacts to your online contribution and using this data effectively can help you tailor and create more similar, successful content. Make sure your audience is receiving the content they interact with the most – in the long run, it will help continue to strengthen and grow your brand.
So, you’re still not on social media – but your competitors are. This is an entire market they are using to reach your audience. Communication is instantaneous online and if people see content they like, it takes just seconds for word to spread and momentum to grow. If the competition has a new message or product they want to promote, they can do so effectively on social media. Not only can they reach a mass audience quickly, they could also steal away some of your customers.
And what if your competitors are not yet present on social media? Well, what better reason is there for your business to get a head-start?
At Page Melia we offer clients support to maintain and grow their social media output and incorporate the different platforms into key campaigns and events. To learn how we can help your business, contact us here.