Once upon a time the internet was not as dynamic as it is today. Most websites were static, and were used mostly for viewing purposes. You loaded up a website, looked through it, perhaps bought a product if it was an online store, and that was it. The only way to contact the owners of these websites were via email or phone.
This has changed drastically. The internet has evolved into a much more interactive place, and it is now common to use the internet as a platform for discussion. Social media is mostly to thank for this, as it has contributed to making the internet the social environment that it is today.
What is social media?
Social media consists of websites (and apps) that allow users to create content, interact with other users, and otherwise participate in social networking.
This has changed the way we use the internet. It is now easier than ever before to create content and target it towards a specific audience.
Who uses social media?
Most people who use the internet today engage in some form of social media. Popular social media websites and apps include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn. There are many others.
Depending on the nature of your business, some of these platforms may suit your needs better than others. I will write about them in more detail in a separate post.
Most people use their phones to engage in social media, and this is often the most direct way to connect with other users.
Social media in business
Many brands and companies are leveraging social media to create relationships with their followers, who would ideally consist mostly of clients and potential clients. This does not mean using social media purely as an avenue to advertise your product. There are better ways to do this.
Social media is a great platform to create and share meaningful content that your followers can engage with. This will generate a bigger following for your brand. Some of the most effective ways to use social media include interacting with your potential clients.
It is important to note that social media won’t necessarily translate directly to more sales. What it does is help you to build a following. This happens when you post information that your target market finds valuable. This builds trust between your brand and your followers. These will also become items that your followers are more likely to share. And then when you do post something that is related to one of your services or products, your followers will be more likely to respond positively, as you will have already built up a rapport. A good rule of thumb is to post at least 10 useful pieces of information on social media between each post that is directly related to selling the services you offer.
Social media has also become one of the most direct ways to communicate directly with a brand or business, or for your business to provide valuable feedback in a short amount of time. These days, instead of calling your number and waiting on hold, or emailing and waiting for a response, customers are more likely to tweet to your company or post on your company’s Facebook page. If you respond quickly and help the customer to solve their problem, this will generate goodwill for your brand.
How to use social media for your brand:
- Post useful content that your followers will find valuable.
- Start inspiring discussions that others can participate in.
- Respond quickly and efficiently to queries from other users.
- Participate in online community by liking and sharing posts from other users.
How NOT to use social media for your brand:
- Post nothing but ads for your products and services.
- Use social media only as a tool to promote your brand.
- Ignore comments and requests from other users.
- Focus only on your brand without bringing any value to others.
It has become the norm for people to engage with the companies and brands that they are interested in. By using social media strategically as a tool to build relationships with your target market, you will gain a loyal and dedicated following, which will lead to loyal and dedicated customers.
In closing: Build relationships first. Business will follow.
Try it for yourself, or get in touch if you need any assistance in building your online presence.