Should my business be on social media?
But we are a B2B business, not B2C. Should we still be on social media?
But my industry doesn’t really seem to fit the norm of what I see on social media; we’re not particularly flashy and we offer a very niche product or service. Should we still be dedicating resources to maintaining a social media presence in that case?
Yes. Absolutely, without exception, the data shows that embracing social media and maintaining an active social media presence is beneficial for all businesses, in any industry, across the board. The landscape of social media has changed drastically in the last decade, and these days the opportunities for lead generation and conversions from an active participation on social media are too great for any business to ignore.
Develop, Broadcast and Humanize your Brand
Developing a brand and then promoting brand awareness is the primary step to any successful marketing venture. With social media, you have the opportunity to further develop your brand; through the overall look and the voice and tone of the content you share, you can really demonstrate the character, mission, and personality of your business through social media.
Why does this matter? Because differentiating yourself from others in your field and humanizing yourself will make your business far more interesting and credible to both your current and to any potential clients.
Through your social media, you can instigate a personal connection with your target audience, become a part of their community online, and create a culture they will want to be a part of. How do you accomplish this? Every bit of content you share or publish should have a heavy customer service focus and, just like with any marketing emails you send out, should be targeted and personalized.
Become Visible, Connect, and Engage
These should be the 3 main goals for any business’ social media strategy:
- Become visible: post content regularly and consistently. There are more than a billion people in the world who are active on social media. If you want to be seen, you need to be active. In the social media world, this mean sharing (good, relevant and valuable) content, connecting with complementary businesses, following industry leaders, and being proactive in your online community.
- Connect: encourage connections by incentivizing the connection. An incentive can be direct, such as a special promo or giveaway offered to those who share your content or engage with you online, or indirect in the form of providing content that your target audience will find valuable.
- Engage: If you are making connections and staying active on social media, your existing customers know that your business is thriving. Engaging with them online makes you part of their community, which leads to customer loyalty. Potential customers will be able to find you via your content and connections and your active online social presence will improve their trust for and the credibility of your business.
Inexpensive Inbound-Marketing Opportunities that ConvertNotice that I say inexpensive here, not free. While social media accounts are, for the most part, free to sign up and use – until you get into paid social media advertising, of course – using social media effectively as a business is going to require significant time, and that is certainly not without cost.
However, the conversion rates of social media and the potential return for the resources you invest are incomparable. There truly is no other marketing platform available to businesses today with the ability to drive inbound traffic to your business for the opportunity to convert that an active social media presence offers.
Learn and Grow
Social media offers your business the opportunity for some nearly-free, informal market research. Part of the benefit of connecting and engaging with your customers on social media is the potential for you to use that connection as an opportunity to learn more about your customers. Get feedback on possible new products or services you may want to offer, create informal polls, and find out what is most important to the customer.
Not only can this help your business improve the products and services you provide, but will again encourage customer engagement and this relationship leads to customer loyalty.
Embracing Social Media – Where to Start
In sum: should your business be on social media?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the big question becomes “how?” There are correct and incorrect ways to go about utilizing social media for your business. It is not important for all businesses to use every social media platform available to them, nor should every business use them each in the same way. Certain social platforms may have little to no ROI for your particular business, and at the end of the day, your goal is still to launch an effective marketing campaign that will translate to results.
In order to get the most from your social media efforts, you will need to determine where your target audience is active and how to best reach them. Regardless, data shows all businesses should be active on “the Big Four” social networking platforms:
– Facebook, with the largest membership pool and the largest number of active participants, is a no-brainer.
– LinkedIn is built on the idea of being a social tool for professionals. While your business should be active on LinkedIn, it’s important also for those most visible in your business, like the CEO and sales reps, to be active and connected to your business’ page.
– Twitter is more difficult to use as a lead generation tool, but very effective for branding and for engaging with customers. Using hashtags well and engaging smartly on Twitter is a unique and potentially game-changing tactic for reaching a large audience.
– Google+ is too often overlooked by those who are not in the business of online marketing. Combine social media with the world’s largest search engine, and you’re doing your business a definite disservice if you don’t choose to participate.
Depending on where your target customers are actively participating online, you may want to also investigate other platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or YouTube. Additionally, participating in online industry forums is an engaging and targeted way for businesses to reach potential partners and an interested audience and to establish your business as an industry leader.
Get the Most from Social Media – Work With a Strategist
Social media is constantly evolving: remember that it wasn’t even a decade ago that Facebook was “The Facebook,” a way for college students to find info on classmates and crushes. Staying at the forefront of trends, being consistent across platforms, and putting in the work to build relationships overtime to improve the customer experience is the only way to see the level of return from a social media presence that most businesses are seeking.
The downside is that maintaining a rich social media presence that is useful to your business and your brand will take more time and effort than many businesses are willing and able to dedicate.
If you’re not seeing the kind of results you’d like from your social media efforts, contact the online marketing professionals at EmoryDay. Our team includes social media strategists who can help you navigate the world of social media and help your business get involved in this critical landscape.