How to profit from Social Media !

Social media has become the 21st Century Phenomenon for businesses worldwide today. Utilizing all its properties can gain you free advertising and stronger brand awareness throughout the online community. We have seen a huge leap in technology in recent years allowing businesses to expand their marketing campaign through the internet. Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn and Youtube are clearly very appealing for businesses as you have the opportunity to connect with a vast community where you can leverage, influence and engage with people right where they are having their conversation. While taking advantage of this new found form of marketing, you must also be cautious about how and when you message your audience. Make sure it fits with their needs, not just your company’s need to speak. Before jumping into social media one of the big questions is – who exactly is the target market? This is more than basic demographics and needs to go deeper into what they do and what they like.

Facebook: Facebook has hit the world by storm ranking up 750 million users to date. This in part is down to incredible new technologies i.e. smart phones - which allow 200 million people to access facebook daily on their phone. Creating a fan page for a business invites prospects to “like” your page which in turn allows them to view any status updates your company makes on their daily home news feed. It also allows you to gain useful feedback from already existing customers offering a means of market research also.

Twitter: Tweeting is the word on everybody’s lips – or their keyboards! Tweets are short snippets of information sent out sporadically each day keeping followers up to date on your current status. For businesses it is not necessary to update Twitter several times a day, but rather provide a few short informative status updates relating to current topics in your industry. With social media there is a need to focus on one-to-one communication and to reflect this with custom made information. Companies have to tweak their message and content to suit each specific prospect.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is more popular within the professional community, with the average user age being 44. This site is an excellent form of referrals and communication among professionals of all industries and also allows users to connect with people through discussion forums, Groups and events.  Each connection provides their email, job role, company name and phone number on LinkedIn, offering a vast database of prospects for your company. Understandably LinkedIn has also become recruiter’s new paradise with professional profiles opening the door for employers to spot talented people within their industry. For this purpose it is good to leave modesty at the door when creating your professional profile as it is there to be seen by many potential employers.

Youtube: Youtube has created a way for businesses to get in front of prospects and explain who they are and what they do. Before Youtube this could only be done via a meet and great with prospects, which I am sure you will agree is a hard task to accomplish. Uploading videos to Youtube allows customers to be freely and voluntarily introduced to your company on a more personal level, where you decide on the content. What is also great about Youtube is that this video can then be shared on all of your other social media sites! Another hugely popular trait of Youtube is the ability to create a viral marketing campaign and watch its progress through “views”. For example Cadburys famous “Gorilla” advertisement started as a viral marketing campaign but grew so big that it became their television commercial, which has in turn set the theme for many of their other commercials.

Once you have become members of all the up to date social media available today it is also important that you understand each site can be linked to the other i.e. Facebook linked to Twitter – allowing one status update to suffice all. Too much company time should not be spent updating each site separately.

As you can see, entering the social media meeting space to promote business is far from a DIY Exercise. If you can see where and how your company could benefit from it, then exploring the topic in-house would be your next big step. Finding the right expertise and developing a social media strategy tailored to your company would set you on the path to engagement with the new mass media public.

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