Social Media in Business

The question is not whether we should use social media in business. The question is how to do it very well.

Everyone is talking about Social Media that has been for a long time the buzz word among Marketers around the world. The online world has expanded and so has our reach; customer interaction has gone beyond the usual borders of face-to-face interaction. From up until several years ago, we began to understand the importance of social media to attract and retain customers. Social Media has opened new doors for business opportunities at the most cost-effective way possible. Let us go over some of the basic ways in using Social Media to promote your small business.

First off. Which Social Media network?

If you’re interested in using Social Media to attract customers then start by creating a business page on your chosen social networks, of course after finding out which social networks your prospects use. If you are setting up a retail business selling physical products, you may want to create a business page on Facebook or an account on Pinterest or Instagram. If your customer base is other businesses (B2B), you need to consider LinkedIn as part of your social media activities.

Once you know the particular social media your clients are using, start analyzing what kind of content works well for these sites. Pinterest and Instagram are heavily concentrated in using images. Facebook allows you to share almost any type of content but find out that images bring the highest engagements.

Create or curate informative (but not boring) content

Images, videos, links to articles, are content heavily shared in social networks. Creating content that is interesting and shareable will draw the attention of your audience. While it is important for every business person to possess knowledge and share insights about the business or product in detail, presenting it in a manner that ‘elevates’ the person sharing the content is more important. It’s about making the content consumer look good after sharing it. Rule of thumb in creating or curating content: If you don’t want to share it, then don’t create it!

Share the story behind your business

People are very much interested in understanding the motives of the business before taking that next action, which could either be a transaction or a brand supporter. Why did you set up your small business? What were your frustrations that made you do it on your own? What customer pains were you trying to solve? Social entrepreneurship does well in inspiring people by the stories they share. One famous shoe brand says for every pair of shoes you purchase, they will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. So what is your story?

Conduct customer surveys through contests and coupons

Before the onset of Social Media, businesses do a number of ways to gain market insight, whether it is from focus groups, telephone surveys or questionnaires. With Social Media marketing, barriers to getting customer insight are much lower. Tools such as Facebook and Twitter give you free access to conduct polls, surveys or just by asking questions.

Adding creativity can create opportunities. Offering a discount voucher or entry in a raffle can turn a mere observer to a fan. And don’t forget attractive incentives for your existing loyal customers in exchange for their feedback.

Advertise on Social Media

While Social Media is free to use and many of its features are free, there are still some benefits in Advertising. Premium features come with a price and professional network sites such as LinkedIn does not come cheap.

Before you jump in on Social Media advertising, ask yourself this question. Have you exhausted all free tools and still have not reached the levels you want? Have you tried many different approaches and still not happy with the results? How consistent and for how long have you been at this? Does it feel like all your social media efforts are in a rut?

If your answer to all questions is yes, it may be time to look at Advertising as an option.

There are many resources online to train you how to advertise in social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter. After knowing which social network your target audience is active, draw your objectives and a daily budget. What are you trying to achieve after a certain time? What are your expectations given your budget? Are you getting an enough return in your advertising investment? The answers to these questions may be uncertain at the beginning but things will get clearer as you learn to optimize your ad campaigns and spending.

With these things in mind, you are most likely to get effective results from your social media activities. By keeping people engaged and reaching out to new people, it won’t be long before these conversations turn into transactions.

The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media for Business

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Business

 

What about you? Any opinions or experiences from your social media activities? Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences by leaving a comment below.

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Written by OJ Quevedo

OJ Quevedo

OJ is a Bangkok-based online Entrepreneur who loves the interplay between Social Media, Online Marketing and Business Outcomes. When not writing for Retail Plus, he is Director of Social Media at BAM Social Media Services in this vibrant Thai city he now calls home.

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