However, recent evidence suggests that tweeting, posting, digging and pinning is having little effect on a companyís bottom line with 60 per cent of companies saying they have seen no return on investment from social media. There is no doubt that social media can help increase your companyís profile and brand awareness, but companies need to know how to use it to maximise its benefits.
Jessica Vella-Bone, (right)Digital Marketing Manager at Easy Accountancy, gives her advice on how to make the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin work for you to make sure you donít fail into the social media trap.
1. Talk to your audience in their language
It sounds easy - to engage your audience you need to talk their language but it amazing how many companies fail to do just this on social media. Although itís great to have a consistent message across all your different social media platforms, tailor each comment to the relevant audience. A post on Linkedin, a professional network, might not work on Facebook or Twitter. Think about your audience and make sure you are talking their language.
2. Join the conversation
Social media is about a community talking about things they are interested in. Become part of this community by joining in the conversation. Finding out what people are talking about in your business field and comment or ask a question. Either becoming part of the debate or starting a new one can help you engage with people that later might become clients or help you grow your business.
3. Be appropriate at all times
Remember social media is like any other conversation, once you have said it, it is difficult to take back. As a business, your comments on social media are aimed at your clients or potential clients so donít talk to them like they are your friends. Remember few, if any, will be interested in your personal life, so unless it is part of your brand image keep personal details to a minimum. Likewise, ranting about the things you donít like can turn followers off rather than on. Making sure you are offering them interesting, relevant content that has value to them is the best way to build and maintain your social media base.
4. Personalise and reaching out
One of the advantages of social media is you can reach out to influencers and people you might never be able to via other communication channels. Journalists, celebrities and others who might be able to endorse your brand can be accessible at a click of a button. Use social media effectively to highlight your brand, services and company to these relevant people by using their Twitter handle or connecting with them on Linkedin.
Reference journalists who have written about you and thank them, or even who might have written an interesting article within your industry. Often this will lead to a retweet or a like on Facebook that will reach out to their network, increasing your profile and awareness.
5. Donít rely on just social media
Although social media used correctly can help build your business reputation and profile, the most effective way to use it is as part of an integrated marketing approach. Even if you donít have a large, or any, marketing budget there are some quick and cheap ways of promoting your company alongside of social media.
Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool around and having clients who are happy with your work is worth shouting about. Ask clients for a short quote saying why they chose you and what they liked about your work and ask if they are happy for you to include it on your website alongside our social media platforms.
Everyone loves something for nothing and offering something which is relevant to your potential audience can help raise your awareness as well as generate potential customer details for future mailings about your offerings.
You could offer free seminars at your target audienceís place of work, sports halls or community centres. For example, if you are a plumber you could offer a free talk on how to save money on your energy bills or if youíre a hairdresser you could offer free haircuts. Then when these people need a plumber or a hairdresser they will remember you. Make sure you always bring plenty of business cards to these events, so you can hand out your contact details to all attendees.
Marketing is all about communicating with customers who might be interested in your service or product. Social media is only part of this communication and the more you can do this - through whatever channel - the best chance you have of increasing your customer base and growing your business.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014