Following his excellent post last week about popular music streaming service Spotify we’re pleased to welcome back Dean Reilly from broadband, TV & Phone comparison site cable.co.uk to talk to us about how social media can be used to benefit your business. In the early days of social media, businesses were unsure of how or even if they should join in with this developing form of communication. It was never called business media. Social media was just that - social. Times have changed though ... The perception was that users only engaged with social networks to share photographs of their holiday, grumble about what was on television, or post videos of their friends dancing the night away at a party. Surely there wasn’t a place for business amongst all that… right? Well, like a lot of preconceptions, there was (and indeed still is) some element of truth there about how people use social media. Yes, people post random pictures of their lunch. Yes, they share funny videos of cats that they’ve found online and yes, they use it as a social tool – a way of connecting with the people they know. The key thing to remember is there’s much more to social media than that – which is why businesses need to join in too. With literally millions of people engaging with social media on a daily basis – using big hitters like Facebook and Twitter through to lesser-known sites like Pinterest or apps such as Tout – social media provides an invaluable way of reaching existing customers and connecting with new ones. If you’re already using your Plusnet Business broadband to host a website or sell products online, you’ve made a great start. Now things can get really interesting…
Why use social media?Employing social media, like any instance of a business expanding into a new area, takes some investment of time and energy. If you’re going to do that, you need a rationale for why. Most importantly, social media engagement can help you expand your customer base, but here’s some more of the most common reasons your business needs to embrace social media:
- Everyone else does - the biggest brands in the world are all active in multiple channels of social media. They use it to build, strengthen and maintain their brand identity. So, should you too.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - you can drive more traffic to your site with links, mentions, ‘likes’ and tweets, raising your profile and online presence.
- Build relationships – you can use social media as part of your customer service strategy. Gather information about your visitors, undertake market research, pool important customer feedback: in short, get to know your customers. Having an active social media identity and responding to customers when they reach out to you through it sends a crystal clear message: you actively listen and care about what they’ve got to say.
- Customers can help - those customers will ultimately become your marketers – you can use social media to encourage them to share positive experiences of engaging with your business. When one of your customers mentions you, everyone in their network will see it – and you’ll be amazed at how far some of those networks spread.
- Self promotion – when you’re starting a sale, launching a new product or service, special discounts for customers who retweet your ad or "like" your Facebook post will see it go viral in no time.
- Think more widely - don’t just connect with customers but with other businesses too. LinkedIn is just one of the many ways you can use social media to make valuable B2B links.