It’s possible you know more than a little about Social Media already and you might probably have a Facebook page, LinkedIn and a Twitter Account. Perhaps you are on Google+ or whatever else is the hot social media flavor of the month. Also, there is no doubt that you have watched videos on YouTube or Vevo.
It’s possible you know more than a little about Social Media already and you might probably have a Facebook page, LinkedIn and a Twitter Account. Perhaps you are on Google+ or whatever else is the hot social media flavor of the month. Also, there is no doubt that you have watched videos on YouTube or Vevo. But that said, being a unpremeditated participant on social media in a personal way is a lot different than actively and purposefully using it to grow your business, and that is and should be your goal — use Social Media to grow your business.
The problem can be extremely dangerous because social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers a vast sea of possibilities and people to meet and interact with your business; people and opportunities you otherwise would not meet and have in the physical, real, non-virtual world. But on the other hand, it is far too easy for many people to get lost in that cosmic social media universe, or to spend too much time there because being in the limbo can be more fun than working. You can even lose direction if you end up wasting your time, marketing efforts, energy, and precious capital chasing leads that never materialize.
Or perhaps you are of the other ilk. Maybe you think that social media is not for you and your business and so are reading this article out of curiosity and not much more. If that is the case, then I say to you that you are missing the boat as much as the people who are spending all day tweeting and posting and updating their Facebook status with nothing to show for it.
Let me advise that the best way to think about this thing called Social Media is as a conversation. People are already online, on these sites, having conversations about everything imaginable. They are chatting about your industry, your products, your services, your competitors, maybe even your business. There are strangers having these conversations, but so are your customers, associates, colleagues, friends, and competitors and most important friends of friends. You can be part of these conversations and help guide and influence them, or you can keep your head in the sand, convinced that your contribution makes no difference. Which sounds more accurate?
Now, do you have to become part of this social media insurgency? Does your business really need a Facebook business page? Of course not. You can survive just fine without jumping in. But that said, does it not make a little sense to join the conversation and see where it leads? Or what are the trends? What about joining in if for no other reason than to be part of the online discussion with your own, current consumers? What about using it to build your brand, prospect, and make more sales? Do you see how powerful it might actually be for your industry? I bet it leads to new opportunities. It should.
You have to be aware that the self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59% noting a benefit. Furthermore, small businesses were twice more likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses.
48% of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts. The self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing. (Statistics from Social Media Examiner (04-2011))
So, this study proved that time is a key success factor for social media marketers. Spend more time (wisely, of course) and you're likely to see greater results.” How much time? It depends on your experience. “Those with 3 or more years of experience in social media marketing are seeing the greatest results [but] only 25% of those just getting started in social media saw new partnerships form, as compared to 80% or more of those with 3 or more years of experience.
With a good implementation of social Media will increase more traffic, more relationships and a better brand awareness.
More traffic. This could mean more people reading your blog, more hits on your website, more people shopping in your e-store, or more people coming into the physical store.
More relationships. Even though having a lot of Twitter followers or persons who like your Fan page is nice, the real value in social media is that you can actually meet and get to do business with some new folks; people you would not otherwise normally meet. The people who really make money with social media and who have figured out how to use it to grow their business in fact use it to meet and create relationships.
Better brand consciousness. Although real relationships are a valuable way to measure your social media ROI it is nevertheless also true that another valuable benefit is that more people will learn of your business. Having a lot of fans and followers, or having your tweets re-tweeted, increases brand awareness. Social networking, when done right, builds your brand.
As indicated, social media for business is different than social media for you. The first thing you need to decide then is which site best fits your business; which one offers you the best chance to meet new people and get some business? There are no shortages of social media sites out there, but of course the big three are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In case you don't know, each does something a little different:
• Twitter permits for short bursts, or tweets, of only a few sentences (140 characters). As such, it is great for having back-and-forth conversations with people and posting short nuggets of information. People who follow what you do on Twitter are, of course, your “followers.” One benefit of Twitter is that it allows you to see what people are saying about your business publicly, giving you an easy way to find and engage with those people.
• Facebook permits for a more healthy interaction by allowing businesses to create fan pages where they can post videos, articles, contests, events, and the like. It is also where most of your customers and likely clients congregate. It has the eyeballs.
• LinkedIn permits you to link to all of the people you know on the site, create a network, and then make connections to your network's network, creating an even vaster network.
Mastering social media takes time, and getting business results from it takes even more time. Spending an hour a day on it is not uncommon in the beginning, and as you really gets into it, that may increase multifold. Don't get disheartened. The trick is to initiate to meet and engage persons, to become part of the conversation, and get your business out there. The more you do that, the more your network will grow, the more you will build your brand, and the more business opportunities you will get. Good Luck!