If I had £1 for every time I’d heard someone within a business say “we need social media” without really knowing why or how they were going to use it, I’d certainly be able to buy a moderately priced meal for two at a high street restaurant (with a two for one voucher).
Seriously though, as useful as social media is, a business must know exactly why they need it, who they want to target, and must develop a sensible strategy of how to use it. In a nutshell social media is an invaluable tool for connecting with clients, other businesses, customers and target audiences.
The key word here is ‘engagement’. Social media allows your company to be out there beyond a static website. These days clients and customers want to see a company in social media portals – and if your business isn’t, they may question why you aren’t participating. Having a social media presence gives your business the chance to share information as it happens and to connect with your audience, whoever it may be.
Your business can listen to opinion and comments as they come in and act accordingly. Understanding the perception around your business is crucial when preparing any response or PR strategy. Additionally when a business engages their target market, it keeps the business in the mind of their client, particularly if you regularly push out useful information. Don’t just send out lots and lots of updates to ‘get the numbers up’ – make sure it is relevant and of interest to your customers or clients.
In my opinion, where social media has really changed the game is allowing the business to instantly respond to their customers and clients. It can be as formal or as informal as you decide, but it shows you are listening to your target market and taking their questions and comments seriously. Plus it keeps you in touch with the community you need to make your business a success, and ultimately what is more important than that?
If your business is able to contribute on all these levels then you have positioned yourself well to connect with who you are doing your business with, be it on a B2B basis, with customers or with clients. You are building a community and engaging with the people you need to interact with to make your company prosper.