Nov 6,2013 / By Samson Ogola / 1 Comment
The phrase social media for business might be confusing for some. For instance, a big demographic of the social media fans use it for fun and sharing interesting stories. However, there are people who view that expanding community as a market. I’m not referring to unscrupulous sites, pages and Twitter accounts running fake promotions to extort money from unsuspecting users. The point of focus, however, is on how to legitimately promote your business through the social networks.
|A Chart Illustrating the various Social Networks
Image By:Osmaantahir, CC-BY, via flickr
In essence, the promotion aims at attracting more online visitors (traffic) to your site and in return benefit from increased revenue from ads or sales. A good example is an online store using Facebook to make its product known. Obviously, some of the over a billion Facebook users will click the link(s) and even purchase products from the site. The possibility of reaching such a big market within seconds is what the social media offers the modern marketer.
Social Media Tools
To successfully use social media for business, you need to know the various tools and steps to follow. On the other hand, there are factors to consider before looking into the specifics of social networking as a tool for business growth. For instance, you should identify the tool to use and the marketing strategy and expected results. Similarly, you need to know the size and goals of your business before venturing into social marketing. It is also advisable that you be conversant with the basic features of most social networks. It is therefore expected that you know how to use services like
- Foursquare, Yelp, Google Places, Bing Places etc to promote business check-ins
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and MySpace to market your brand.
- Blogs (Blogger, WordPress, Typepad and others)
- Consumer Review Sites such as Amazon, eBay, Consumer Reports, Better Business Bureau (BBB) etc
- Location-Based Marketing via Foursquare and Yelp among other tools
- Coupon Sites such as Coupon.com, MyCoupon, DealCatcher and SmartSource among others
- Online Video and Photo Sharing sites such as Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube.
Provided the above concerns are properly handled, success as a social marketer is always possible. You will however need tools such as:
- Google Analytics to gauge your progress.
- URL Shorteners to facilitate sharing of links over platforms like Twitter.
- Social Network Aggregators such as Klout to enable simultaneous update of different social media.
Fortunately, there are dozens of free tools in the market for managing the social networks and get reliable statistics about the traffic your site attracts.
As mentioned earlier, identifying your goals and market can help you to pick the right network to use. For instance, a local store serving a city (without intentions of reaching national or international clients) will prefer a location-based marketing. On the contrary, large multinationals will employ every tool to give their products a global renown.
One of the effective strategies in social media marketing is setting up a catchy and interesting profile. For example, you should always create organized and informative Facebook Fan Page or Google+ Page. It is not advisable to exaggerate the prospects of your business or the kind of products you produce; this will backfire. Similarly, you should not just create a Facebook Fan Page and link it to numerous other social networks without regular updates. Always ensure that the content of the update is relevant and engaging.
Though many practice it, avoid buying Facebook fans or Twitter followers, as they do not give natural linking. According to major search engines, unnatural links are considered spam and may be skipped during the search. In addition, paid fans or followers will not translate into customers. It is therefore necessary to post original and interesting updates and tweets for more likes and following that are natural. Moreover, it is highly probable that natural followers may turn into clients unlike paid likes or following. You also need to cut a niche for your business without necessary boring your fans with business ads. Instead, interact with your fans and ask what their opinions about your products are.
Having a bigger following may only be advantageous if you can manage them well. You should therefore contract social network managing companies in case you are overwhelmed. You should however, look for proof of credibility, experience and competitive pricing. If well managed, social media for business can turn around your company.