Fad or Fact- Does Social Media Really Matter for Business Owners
You might view Twitter and Facebook as frivolous time wasters that have no place in the business arena. Five years ago I was my told by a friend, “your business needs a Facebook page”. Really, no one is ever going to decide on an accountant based on social media was my response…. this may have been true when social media first started out, but how things change. How many times to you find out the news on social media, or see a product or service that you end up purchasing? Social media’s popularity has also risen with the other social media networks, including LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube to name a few. The truth is these platforms have forever altered the manner in which we communicate and connect with each other. And more recently shrewd marketers and business owners have cottoned onto the fact that social media is a highly effective tool for connecting to and communicating with their target market.
Why should I consider social media for my business?
Traditionally marketing, such as the advertising seen in a newspaper or on TV, is a one-way exchange. It is a monologue initiated by the advertiser with no room for interaction by the target market.
Modern marketing, however is all engaging the consumer. It’s about giving your business’ “followers”, “fans” and “friends” the opportunity to have their say. And your opportunity to listen to their valuable feedback. Furthermore, consumers today expect businesses to be accessible. They’re interested in what their favourite brands are doing. They want to be kept informed and to be involved in the future development of said brands. And social media is the perfect platform for engaging your target market due to its popularity and its immediacy.
This interactive dialogue is crucial to building lasting consumer relationships and developing brand loyalty. And is without doubt more powerful than your traditional advertising. When Twitter and Facebook first came into being, they heralded an entirely new era, even if they didn’t foresee this at the time. And the reach of social media is not just revolutionising marketing; it’s had an impact on journalism and media, for better or worse. How many times have you heard about a local or international incident via social media and not the usual newspaper or evening news?
Social media should be seen as a valuable resource, but if you’re still not persuaded of the benefits your business could derive from having an account with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or one of the many other social media platforms, consider the disadvantages.
By not at least monitoring the various platforms, you’re potentially missing an opportunity to keep abreast of what’s being said about your industry, your business, even yourself.
How can I manage it?
You can either manage your social media on an individual log in basis or you can use management tools like TweetDeck, HootSuite or SproutSocial which can assist you to keep track of your various social media accounts. These tools are designed to notify you when you or your brand are mentioned, or when your consumers click on “favourite” or “like” in response to your posts and updates, and so on. At SMART Business Solutions we actually use our website platform Synergy8 to post our website blogs and social media posts.
Depending on your business you can consider putting together a calendar if information that may be useful for their followers, and schedule this into your business week. SMART Business Solutions identified that small business need information about running their business, not just tax, and they need it short and to the point. So this is what started our journey of weekly blogs on relevant business topics, not just tax. And posting them on social media means business owners can read them during their down time, not just on the computer in the business.
Do you really think you can afford not to know what’s being said about your business and about your competitors? Consider the number of success stories detailing how small business owners put Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to work to generate referrals and drive traffic to their websites. Social media can effectively do the same for your business if you’re willing to learn how to work it.
The bottom line really is not whether your business should tap into the unlimited marketing power inherent in social media, but how your business can best use social media to maximum its exposure.
Want to learn more? Register your interest in an upcoming seminar on social media and we will keep you updated.
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