In 2014, the question to ask is not “Should we be on social media?” but “How can we get better at social media?” Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus or any other network, they all have a massive reach and audience.
So how are businesses using social media to their advantage? Let’s look at some stats.
Ginger Clay Virtual Marketing Officer for 4 – Profit, a marketing firm for solution providers based in Omaha, NE says,”53 per cent of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) use social media. Of that number, 19 per cent use Facebook, 15 per cent use LinkedIn and four per cent use Twitter.”
You can choose to do social media in-house or outsource it to an agency. Clay says 68 per cent of the ones that use social media said that they outsource it to specialists and 33 per cent have the metrics to measure success on it.
Five years ago the most effective way to market your business digitally was to send emails. However, email only provided you with the option of opening and deleting it. This is an example of push marketing. Now we have the option to use pull marketing with social media. The only thing that businesses require is to spend more time and efforts on it.
Another very important advantage of using social media is that it brings a lot of trust into the business equation. People like doing business with those they know and are familiar with.
Social media is a great tool to reach people who have never heard of your company or brand before. It helps you to create awareness on a shoe string budget and get the word out about what you do. You can also make use of social media to keep in touch with your current customers.
Lead generation is vital in growing your business and social media is a goldmine of information. You can build awareness and credibility using this tool and turn cold prospects into customers.
It is vital to remember however, that B2B is very different as compared to B2C on social media. Always have your end goal in mind and that will help you choose your content, platform and audience carefully.
Here are some important questions according to Clay which you should ask yourself:
- Which social media sites do most of my customer use?
- What do my clients talk about and post on social media?
- How do I typically communicate to client about news, issues and updates? Could a social media tool be added to the mix?
- Which communications could reach a larger audience via social media?
- How could I use social media to cultivate current client relationship to create a degree of stickiness to our services?
- How can I use social media as a tool for boosting my search engine ranking to drive client to my website?
If you need to, start small but stay consistent and remember that content is king when it comes to social media. Create a content calendar which will help you stay focused on the message.
LinkedIn is a great B2B tool where you can connect with prospects and the people you know. Use the company page feature and join groups of like minded people and businesses.
Watch out if anyone asks a question you can answer. You could have a ready customer within reach.
Another important platform is Twitter. You can share your business updates within 140 characters on this platform. Follow businesses, customers and competitors and see what they all have to say. It is a platform where you can jump onto related conversations and create meaningful relationships. Remember to use appropriate hashtags to get a greater reach.
No matter which platform you join, always remember to link back to your website. This will not only send people to your site but also provide immense SEO value to your website in the eyes of search engines.
Finally, ensure that you measure the results carefully. There are tons of tools out there like Hubspot, Sprout Social and Next Principles which help understand the reach, impressions and click through rate to links.
You can also use Google Analytics to see how much time people who come from social media sites spend on your website.
While not having a presence on social media is not going to put you out of business but it will seriously reduce the exposure that you receive.