Like it or not, when the president of America uses Twitter as a major form of communication, the case for the power, necessity and impact of social media is made and proven.
No business should be in any doubt that social media can help it grow and even change its direction.
Social media is a way to talk directly to your customers and potential customers, but also, importantly, an opportunity to listen to them.
Social media provides an immediate web presence
For the small or new business not already established online, social media provides an instant opportunity to create a web presence.
Consumers expect to be able to find a brand online and the creation of a social media account makes that possible with minimal investment of time and at no initial cost.
Maintaining and growing a social media presence and making it work well for the business is another story.
Maximum impact can only be gained with a strategy of consistent and considered content creation. There needs to be thought for your brand and a realisation that everything about your social media presence and posts will both reflect on the brand and be part of it.
Social media helps you find customers
Good content on your social media channels and a planned approach will help you to reach out to new and existing customers. It provides a virtual shop window that can reach far further than traditional forms of marketing.
Putting some finance behind your posts will improve the reach, but there is opportunity for really clever and engaging content to spread far and wide without a penny spent.
Social media will help you find out who your customers are
Analysing the data provided by the likes of Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics will help you see where interaction in your business is coming from. If there’s a lot of interest in your products, information or services from abroad, you may already have a waiting market.
It’s one of the signs Foothold America – a specialist in helping businesses branch out to the USA – advises companies to look out for to indicate they’re ready for international expansion.
Being at the forefront of a new social media trend can get you noticed
Seeking out and jumping on the next big thing in social media is an amazing opportunity to get your brand noticed, such as Tripadvisor’s recently launched travel feed.
With a look similar to Twitter and Facebook, the aim is to create a hub for personalised travel advice and information. Keep up-to-date with news on new social media platforms and be aware of the ones that could be most useful to you. The content you create needs to be tailored to fit each platform and there will be some platforms that are a natural fit and others that take more work.
Social media helps you direct customers to your website
Social media provides an opportunity to shout about content on your website, direct people to it and, with lots of shares and engagement, potentially increase domain authority and ranking.
A strong presence on social media will help drive traffic and therefore customers to your website.
As well as attracting people to your website, providing simple social media share buttons on your website means customers can spread your content and messages to a wider audience for you.
Social media provides an opportunity to further understand, learn from and exceed your competitors
Keeping a close eye on your competitors on social media is a wise idea to assess and emulate what works well and avoid and learn from their mistakes.
It also allows for you to find other businesses within your sector that aren’t direct competitors, but do have lessons you can learn – both at home and abroad. The value of social media is in its worldwide reach.
Social media lets you hear and listen to your customers
Feedback and reviews on social media are an opportunity for your customers to help recommend you as a trustworthy and reliable business.
Negative or constructive feedback provide an opportunity to improve – just be careful to ensure you offer constructive online replies that other customers will approve of.