I will be the first person to tell anyone that social media is a great way to gain new customers, and promote your organization, when used well. Many businesses use social media as part of their marketing strategies.
I run an online marketing consultancy in Las Vegas. I explain to my clients that social media has many other uses, besides marketing. You just have to learn to listen a little. If you were in a real-life social gathering you wouldn’t just walk into the room and shout out what you think, you would interact with the other people there. Do this online, too, and you can benefit from the power of social media.
What sets social media apart from other types of marketing, such as direct mail shots, is the ability for communication to flow in both directions. Try asking questions using social networks to allow your existing clients to tell you why they like you, or even the things they don’t like about you. Ask them what they thing of your competitors products, or what they think the next big trend in your industry might be.
Learning from others
Follow your competitors, and industry experts and influencers. Some smaller companies make the mistakes of passing on their social networking to a junior member of staff, and ask them to just post information. This is such as waste, as there is so much to be gained from social networking. I particularly like Twitter for a window on any community of specialists. The information out there can help you and your business stay up-to-date on the latest news and developments, and might just give you some ideas of your own.
Just as with real-life social situations, you just never know who you might meet. Social media can help you find potential partners, suppliers and colleagues. Equally, once you have met people, either online or in person, you can use social media to develop and maintain business relationships. This is particularly helpful for consultants and small business owners, larger companies can also use social media networks such as LinkedIn, and as I mentioned previously, specialist communities on Twitter, to foster relationships with business contacts.
Your online fans and followers like your business or product and therefore probably share many of your values. They are likely to be people who understand and are interested in what you do. In other words, some of them might be your ideal employee. LinkedIn is the social networking tool usually used for professionals, but many companies are finding Facebook and Twitter effective ways to connect with potential job candidates.