It has become essential to have an online presence and social media is going the same way. It’s not for all businesses however (e.g a local fish and chip shop), but for the majority social media is definitely a good move. Why? Because social media is one of the best ways to interact with your potential customers and grow a list of active listeners.
The best thing about social media is you can identify your listeners, and therefore you can channel your promotions to these people more directly. If you update your website with interesting facts, or something funny (Infographic on Twitter http://bit.ly/pSpVtb) you are more likely to grow an active listener list which will help to grow your business.
There is far too much to cover when it comes to social media so I have narrowed this blog down to a few essential tools you ought to consider when implementing social media.
Facebook– a great tool if you are targeting consumers. Business to Business sales are far less successful on Facebook but you ought to create a page to prevent your competitor taking the http://www.facebook/companyname domain. This will protect you from future issues and if you choose to include B2C communications in the future you have already set up a page which search engines will have registered. Business to Consumers should definetly invest time in Facebook as it can increase search engine optimisation to your website, it can generate customers and followers, and it’s a great way to connect with listeners and gain some fans of your company.
Twitter– a great idea whether you are B2B or B2C targeting. Twitter has a fountain of opportunities to network and establish links with future prospects. Whilst working with a construction based company, I managed to arrange two meetings through Twitter. Twitter feeds about the latest information of your company, new articles, and general advice on the industry you are in are great to promote. It is also advised you interact with your followers, and follow interesting parties back. This will allow you to improve your successes of being retweeted plus it will help generate an emotional connection with that person.
LinkedIn– useful for networking and speaking to people in similar industries to you. LinkedIn has varied successes and requires the most amount of time to invest in. You can create a company page but few people other than employees are likely to join. To gain more connections you are best joining groups which are relevant to you and posting comments in these groups.
There are other less known social media tools like Foursquare but it seems to be utilised by Americans more than businesses in the UK currently so I shall leave these out.
Tools to Monitor Social Media
Once you make that leap to go for social media you MUST maintain it. This is why companies often hire a full time marketing individual to manage this section so be warned, if you are limited on time then do not start something you cannot keep updated. Maintaining the social media will be a learning curve for businesses as it depends on the interactions you form with your listeners to how successful you are. To help, the following tools ought to be looked into:
Klout: A fantastic and simple tool to use. You can sign in using your Twitter account and monitor how successful your interactions are. Klout gives you a score rating of how well you create content that is spread throughout your network and drives discussions. It tells you how well you are engaged by influencers, and how well you have built a good size network that is highly engaged. There are other analytical results which are useful including the key topics you are influential about. You can use this to assess whether you are reaching people about the market your business trades in well enough.
Empire Avenue: The most fun way to monitor your social media successes, Empire Avenue is a game where the aim is to improve your share value while trading with other businesses to increase your net worth. It’s not all about having fun though, Empire Avenue uses your interactions with people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, Foursquare and Instagram. Empire Avenue monitors the levels of success you have through how many people retweet, like or comment to your posts.
Bit.ly: A tool which shortens those long hyperlinks down to a small and easy to tweet link. Bitly can also be used to monitor how many people click on your link and whether you are creating any trends. I discovered that I was trending on the recent riots in Wolverhampton and Birmingham, receiving a whopping 1,667 clicks on August 9th alone, when I have a small group of 110 listeners.
TweetDeck: If you have more than one account then TweetDeck is a good way to manage these accounts. It allows you to add Facebook accounts also, which means you aren’t wasting time tweeting the same story to several accounts; it can all be done from one place.
Buffer: A recent addition to the social media aspect, buffer can help to increase your chances of being read, liked and retweeted by 200%. Instead of having to add tweets and facebook posts when you find useful information, Buffer allows you to time them which gives you a more comprehensive marketing strategy and supports smaller companies who have to monitor their social media outgoings which is time consuming. The best bit about Buffer is it works with Bit.ly.
Do not go down the route that if you have more listeners and people who have liked your page that you are doing well. Many companies who try to grow their numbers end up with junk and other businesses who clicked like in hope to get liked back etc. It is important that you focus on getting active listeners, whether they are 50 people or 10,000. Think of it this way, would you rather have 10,000 people following you who never click on a link you put up, or have 50 active listeners who click and take time to read through what you post?