Social Media 101 for Business
Get in on the Conversation and Achieve Your Business Goals
Welcome to the world of social media! Whether you’re new to social media or have already dipped your toes in the water, you probably know that social media tools can benefit your business.
In fact, social media provides cost-effective ways for businesses to attract an audience and engage directly with their customers. While social media can facilitate your efforts in communication, interaction and engagement with your audience, it isn’t always a panacea for every business.
It takes time and resources, not to mention trial and error, to establish a social media strategy that works for your business. Approach it strategically and you can maximize your time and resources by selecting outlets and approaches that make the most sense for your business.
To help you make those decisions, we have outlined some of the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular social media tools below. If you would like to take the plunge into using social media for your business, this guide will help you get started!
What is Social Media?
You’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but these are just a few of the most popular social media sites. As a whole, social media consists of Web sites, applications and tools that facilitate connections between people, content and brands.
Whether you realize it or not, your customers are already using social media to discuss, evaluate and recommend your business. Being part of that discussion is no longer an option. Without an official ambassador, your brand is vulnerable to misinformation and misrepresentation.
By using social media to communicate directly with your customers, you can take control of your brand image, build on positive exposure and grow your customer base.
How Can Social Media Benefit Your Business?
Effectively used, social media tools can enable your business to establish meaningful connections with customers for a variety purposes and goals, including:
- -Launching and marketing products
- -Communicating news, updates and general company information
- -Publicizing special discounts and promotions
- -Generating feedback
- -Developing customer loyalty
Popular Social Media Tools
Just like traditional media outlets, social media sites and tools tend to appeal to specific audiences, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Few businesses have the time or resources to establish a presence on every social media outlet, so taking some time to determine where your social media efforts will reap the most rewards can save you both time and money in the long run.
Here’s a look at some of the social media channels you may wish to explore:
This social networking site allows users to build a profile to connect with friends. Businesses can build fan pages in order to interact with customers.
Benefits: Brand exposure, two-way communication with customers, loyalty-building.
Drawbacks: Low click-through rates, no SEO gains.
DIGG, STUMBLEUPON, REDDIT
These social news sites enable users to share links and vote for their favourite content.
Benefits: Brand exposure, click-through traffic, and excellent SEO.
Drawbacks: Limited two-way communication, large time investment, marketing-only approach is unwelcome.
Various video sharing sites allow users to post videos, add comments and embed videos on their own Web sites.
Benefits: Brand exposure, feedback, two-way communication, and excellent SEO.
Drawbacks: Low click-through rates.
Photo sharing sites allow users to post, organize, and share their images.
Benefits: Brand exposure, excellent SEO, user-generated content.
Drawbacks: Low click-through rates.
This micro-blogging platform enables sharing of 140-character messages and links.
Benefits: Brand exposure, feedback, two-way communication, click-through traffic.
Drawbacks: Large time investment, marketing-only approach is unwelcome, limited SEO.
10 Things You Can Do to Get Started in Social Media Now
- -Determine your goals. Are you looking to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, convert visitors into customers or retain existing customers? Be clear about your objectives.
- -Determine the audience(s) you are looking to engage, and research where best to find them.
- -Outline your key messages, consider your tone and be aware of any issues that may arise around transparency.
- -Select the social media outlets that best suit your goals, audience and message.
- -Be aware of existing social media conversation about your business. Search for mentions, existing groups or other coverage – and respond to it as necessary.
- -Create official profiles for your business ensuring they reinforce your brand and reflect your business’ personality and key messages.
- -Grow your community. Invite your customers, friends and family members to join and contribute to your channels.
- -Create and post content regularly. Be sure to solicit feedback and interact with your community. Answer questions and respond to comments.
- -Integrate your social media channels into your website and other marketing collateral. Make sure people know about them and how to find them.
- -Analyze your metrics regularly. Determine which social media outlets are best achieving your goals and don’t be afraid to ditch the ones that aren’t effective.
BC Business Articles
Social Media: No “A” for Effort
Social Media Lesson No. 1: Making Camp
The Cultivators https://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/bcb/business-sense/2009/06/30/cultivators
How I Finally Came to Twitter
Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook
Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo, 2009,
Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, 2009, John Wiley and Sons
What Would Google Do?
Jeff Jarvis, 2009, Collins Business
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
Seth Godin, 2003, Portfolio Videos
Twitter 101 for Business
Chris Brogan: Community and Social Media
Copyblogger: Copywriting Tips for Online Marketing Success
Mashable: The Social Media Guide
SEOMozBlog: The Web’s Best SEO Resources
GrokDotCom: Marketing Optimization Blog