The Business benefits of Utilizing Social Media
Social media sites in the current day and age have billions of active users and this number is constantly growing and this is great for businesses however they still need to work to build their audiences and they must interact with all their customers. The account must also be active and upload regularly with engaging content to retain your audience. Throughout this article, I will be assessing and evaluating the ways in which your business can use social media.
With such a large amount of active users on various social media sites, businesses have access to a huge market for their products and services with the correct preparation. Due to the accessibility of social media, anyone can create a profile and this applies to businesses as well, however, this on its own wouldn’t be enough for you to develop a market. For this to happen you need to encourage people to follow your pages and you must interact with potential and active customers and through an active account being updated with regular new posts which are engaging enough to spark customer interaction.
Current social media websites allow you to upload a wide range of content to your business page such as text, images, videos. This is extremely useful for businesses as most websites allow to post text and images, and many sites such as Facebook and YouTube allow you to upload videos as well however which site is used is dependant on the videos you choose to upload. For example, due to their dynamic nature, Facebook is best for short promotional videos because as your posts grow older they appear further down your timeline. However, if you wanted to post instructional videos, recruitment videos, etc. YouTube is better as the videos stay in place on the channel. Furthermore, the various sites work almost seamlessly in unison. For example, if your company offered customer service over Facebook or Twitter and a customer was to request help on something then the reply could link them to your YouTube channel. Facebook also offers a poll app which, as the name suggests, allows your posts to include a poll and this can be used in a range of ways, for example, it can collect feedback on a new service or product. They also offer a Facebook Quiz app and this can be used to create a ‘personality quiz’ potentially asking customers their favourite route or favourite destination allowing you to build business further.
In addition to being able to post different forms of content, uploaded content has to focus on one of many purposes such as:
- To be informative - To describe a business’s history, aims and objectives in order to help potential customers buy into an image/brand. Social media posts can also inform customers of important information quickly (eg changes to train arrival/departure times)
- To promote - To advertise and promote the products, services and image/brand/lifestyle ethos of a business.
- To entertain - Depending on the nature of your business, posting humorous or other entertaining and engaging content could appeal to potential customers.
- To make offers - Businesses use social media to make special offers to customers. For example, they might offer 24-hour discounts to customers who have liked and shared the business’s page or offer a prize to the ten thousandth person who likes their page.
- To provide customer service - This will normally be in response to customer posts on their page. Responding quickly and directly and directly to customers on social media and solving their problems will make a business look efficient and effective.
When these are followed then you will eventually begin to develop an audience and if you continuously follow these pointers then you’ll also retain your audience and this is vital when maintaining an online presence. Ultimately, the reason businesses use social media is to attract more customers and to make more money by selling more products or services. However, if you were to constantly use a direct advertising approach then you could potentially end up annoying and frustrating your customers rather than encouraging them to purchase. A much better and more profitable approach is to use indirect advertising which is more a more subtle approach to developing your audience through mixing posts that promote services directly with other content related to the area of business you specialize in, that is either informative or entertaining. For example, if a pet grooming website had a Facebook page they could include posts related to issues to do with pets (such as pet health, grooming and food), photos of unusual pets, or links to amusing pet videos and other similarly pet-focused content that would be of interest to their target audience of pet lovers. All of this will help promote their social media streams and encourage people to like or share (On Facebook) or retweet (On Twitter ) their posts. It will also help create a positive image of your company because, if done right, it will give customers the impression that you’re not just interested in selling and profit but that you have a genuine interest in the subject area and are knowledgeable about it.
In the current market, your choice of keywords is a critical concept that relates both to your website and the content you post on social media. In most cases, when someone is looking for something online, they use a search engine such as Google or Bing. It is crucial for a business’s success on the web that, when someone searches for the product or service you provide, your website or social media pages are listed at or near the top of the search results. Keywords relate to the likely search strings (the text a person types into the Google or Bing search box) that potential customers would use. It is important that these keywords are used in places such as your social media posts and profiles and also in the URLs and page titles of your website, as this will increase the chances that your page or website will show high up in the search results. For example, the keywords for a freelance editor’s website and social media are the services they offer, such as ‘proofreading’, ‘copy editing’ and ‘project management’ terms associated with their work such as ‘publishing’ and ‘editor’, and the name of the business.
The main reason that businesses are so keen on using keywords is that it can heavily affect a company’s search engine optimization and in turn the web traffic to your website. A small business such as startups would have to rely on SEO quite intensely because as a growing company they need as much attention as physically possible and choosing the right keywords is crucial to achieving this. A good website to check this is: https://serps.com/tools/rank-checker/
As your business grows it is important to develop contacts via social media. You can use social media to keep up to date with the industry you specialize in and with suppliers and competitors. By following your suppliers, competitors and industry experts on social media websites, your business can stay informed and also use this information to plan your marketing, product development and keep up to date with developments in technology, for example, earlier this year Stagecoach Group plc switched to and installed contactless card reader into their ticket machines to help customers who don’t have spare change(1). This method is much better and cost-effective than trawling through endless magazines and websites. You can further develop your contacts by sharing or retweeting relevant posts from other businesses or individuals because the main aim of a company’s social media page is to provide material that is of interest to their target audience so other businesses’ and industry experts’ blogs can provide useful sources of the type of content needed. As an ever-evolving business you would rely on other professionals occasionally and despite strict competition, most professionals are always willing to help small companies.
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