April 15, 2011

Why should you use social media for business

Photo cred: Damien do Toit

How can social media benefit my business? I'm sure that you asked yourself this question at least once since you've first heard of social media.

Before going into details, I'd like to make it clear that a business who should use social media is not necessary a large or well established company. Everyone can benefit from using it. Even we, here at Marketing Affairs are going to use social media channels to reach out to you. There are a couple of points that I'd like to cover up in this post regarding the subject.

Why use social media in the first place?

Well, that's pretty easy to guess, since you are already have at least 1 account on the social networks. But, for a business this might be a good incentive:
  • the costs are smaller comparing them to the traditional advertising methods;
  • due to sharing specific words, pictures, videos or audio files your company gets a lot more VISIBILITY;
  • you're not the only one that talks about your brand - social media is about INTERACTIONS between people, not to mention the speed to which these interactions take place.
  • you can benefit from the snowball effect that can be created around your company. Remember that every user has Facebook friends or Twitter followers which can multiply your targeted audience.

Adding the online channels to your company's marketing strategy as a way to create awareness around your brands/products, has become mandatory. Overlook using social media marketing at your own peril, or better yet, treat this exactly like the # 1 rule in any business: If we don't take care of our customers, somebody else will.

Depending on your audience you may try a combination of different channels in order to get the most out of your online marketing efforts.

Going into figures I can say that social media is growing to be faster, stronger and more dependable than ever. Facebook alone has over 500 million active users worldwide with 50 % of them login on in any given day. An average user has 130 friends, so by having one satisfied customer talking about your product, you get to multiply your awareness 130 times. (source: Facebook )

A recent study showed that 92 % of Facebook fans say that since becoming a fan of a given brand, they are most likely to recommend it to their friends. Also, 36 % of them say that since becoming a fan of a given brand their desire to buy it has increased.

Still not convinced ?

Then you can use Twitter. They have over 100 million active users worldwide. Statistics showed that in 2010 there were 750 tweets sent each second, out of which over 20 % were related to brands or products. This year the number has increased to about 1.650 tweets per second. Is that telling you something ?

There are also other social media channels you can use for your business such as LinkedIn which recently surpassed 100 million users according to Mashable.

I've recently attended a webinar about how marketers should be using social media to succeed. The speakers were Mike Volpe - VP of Marketing for HubSpot and Victoria Ransom - Founder & CEO of Wildfire. Among a lot of interesting things they shared, one got stuck into my head - "Content makes you interesting".

That's right, this is what social media is all about. People generating and sharing valuable content with other people.

Of course this can be and most definitely will be a 2 way trip for you. Not all the things written about your brand will be praises, you'll also have your share critics. Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing for at least two reasons:
1. it shows you the things that need improvement;
2. you can use the opportunity to convert the critics into fans of your brand.

We are in a world were a brand is whatever people say it is. This leads to another idea that I encountered in that webinar: Grow your brand by cultivation, not control ! People are more likely to be receptive to other user's suggestions. As funny as this sounds, they indeed trust their Facebook friend's opinion long before they trust your word as a company.

As I said in a previous post you need to create, share and interact with you audience. Engage them in the comments they give, offer feedback, answer to questions, in other words give them a reason to come back or share your story with others.

How you should be using social media for your business will be the subject of a later post. I do hope you find this info useful and you'll see it as a good incentive to check out the opportunities that are out there for your company. Use it wisely and it will grow your sales, don't use it and you may be leaving the door open for others to steal your clients.

As always, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Leave us a comment, rate us or just like us and subscribe to our feed.


About The Author:

My name is Cristian Anechitei but you’ll inevitably just call me Chris.

I work as a Senior Marketing Specialist for a B2B marketing consultancy company called NNC Services where I get to do what I like the most: help businesses grow, meet new people that are working on some interesting new projects and learn lots of stuff every day. I enjoy playing video games, watching good movies and creating new business ideas. I like to think of myself as being a problem solver, solution finder and overall positive attitude individual.

If you have an idea that you'd like to share or just want to say 'hello', feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.


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