There's an immense amount of noise surrounding social media. But what can you actually use it for in a business context? Here are eight areas worthy of your serious consideration.
Over 1.5 billion people are using social media around the world. The vast majority of them will have no interest in your business offerings. But some of them most certainly will. And don't underestimate the wide age range and diverse professions of those now participating in social media. By having an active presence on social media, you can start to influence, educate and connect with those who do have an interest in your products and services.
Many traditional ways of keeping in contact with clients and prospects involve disturbing them. And business people are increasingly resistant to being interrupted. Astute use of social media allows your contacts to engage with you on their terms, thus garnering much more attention for your message.
Social media is a fantastic way to support and enhance other marketing activities, such as, events, product releases, publications, success stories etc. It can greatly increase the attendance at events and the reach of your published materials. It still amazes me how organisations put so much effort into arranging an event or producing a blog post, yet fail to effectively promote it.
There are lots of ways to develop more prospects for your business but some of them are getter harder and harder. Particularly as the increasing time pressure business people face makes it more difficult to engage them. With the right strategy, social media is a powerful way to produce a steady flow of identified prospects for your organisation. And kick-off the relationship development process.
Do you need to connect with other people in your industry sector? Or potential referral partners? You may already be having some success at real-world networking events. Well just think of social media as a 24/7 networking event. And you don't even need to leave your desk!
Should you allow clients to raise support issues via Twitter or other social media channels? This is a tough call because it's a public domain and requires significant resources. But is it the way your clients would prefer to communicate? Are your competitors already offering them this option?
Improving Website Traffic and Search Results
Google and other major search engines are all placing much more emphasis on social media presence in deciding how to rank search results. If your business is not active on social media, it will be suffering from a considerably reduced online visibility. And that's apart from the traffic that social media activity will inevitably drive directly to your website.
There are some terrific online tools available which allow you to tap into very specific topics on social media. Used well these tools can allow you to do great market research, gain significant competitive knowledge, keep up-to-date with emerging trends and even increase the understanding of your existing client base. Can you afford to miss out on this intelligence?
All of the above opportunities need time and effort to exploit. The good news is that there are some terrific online resources and outsourcing options available to assist your business in this arena. The bad news is your competition may already be exploiting many of these opportunities.