Social Media. Nearly everyone has it, uses it, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years – has heard of it. Social Media has undoubtedly grown into its own form of communication, much like television or radio. However, it has also surpassed the latter two, in astonishing numbers. According to history research, it took radio approximately 35 years to reach 100 million users. The internet? Around four years. And if you think that is impressive, Facebook reached its 100 million user goal in under a year.
Which brings us to the main discussion – why social media is essential to any size business. Many small and medium-sized companies may think that they do not have the budget or time to dedicate to a social media presence. I’ll argue that with the addition of various, easy-to-navigate monitoring and posting tools, there are ways to manage the time it takes to create and maintain social media pages for your business. If social media is something your company is lacking, it may be to your advantage to consider this – multiple studies suggest that over 70% of buyers are influenced by social media. Does this ring a bell? Are you researching a company or product online prior to buying it, in order to see comments from other users? Essentially the bulk of the web-surfing population is using social media for information. If they cannot find information on your company, how do you expect to grow your consumer audience? Therefore, social media matters to small business, too.
While we suggest sitting down to brainstorm a marketing plan if you are indeed planning to implement an ongoing social media marketing campaign, there are some important things to consider when creating, managing, and executing a plan.
Photo Credit: Bent Oak Marketing
Staying current includes monitoring various trends, competitor sites, and industry news. By making an effort to stay ahead of current, various aspects and news within your line of industry, you have the ability to then create content people want to read and engage with.
Your customer is your brand’s biggest advocate. What they are saying about your products or business is what people are listening to. Think about it: do you trust what a company says about itself, or would you rather hear what that business’s customers are saying? Make sure you are monitoring customer activity on your social sites, including what they are saying, liking, and sharing. You have begun the process gathering your Consumer Social Community, which is significant as they are the voices echoing your product and brand.
Social Media Voice is Key
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when building a social media presence for their business is forgetting to speak as their company voice. In the beginning, social media was mostly a personal choice. People built their Facebook page or Twitter page for themselves, therefore, were free to express their own opinions and views. This does not ring true with a company social media account. When posting and responding as your business, it is imperative you make sure what you are posting won’t offend the customers you are trying to attract – or any at that. If you have dealt with an unhappy customer in the past, it’s understood it can be difficult sometimes not to initially be defensive when your company is being chided or attacked in a social media post. In these cases, one must take a step back and formulate a response that is respectful and takes the conversation off of the public forum and into a face-to-face conversation, phone call or email.
Social media isn’t just a luxury dedicated to big business budget. It is a critical communication tool – another channel to ensure you are reaching your optimal, largest possible audience. You can choose to do it minimally. However, you must choose to do it. How you decide to manage it is your own choice, but again – remember this isn’t about you. It’s about your business, and growing it to be the best it can be.