What is the Point of Social Media, Anyway?
The world used to revolve round Yellow Pages and newspaper advertising. If you had a shop it was “passing trade”. The problem now is that virtually every business has become “invisible”. No one goes to the High Streets, its all charity shops and bars now anyway and the Yellow pages is as relevant to business as an Agatha Christie novel.
The only way is mail, e-mail, telephone and cold calling, however, these are beyond most businesses, either from cost or revulsion.
So how do you become “UN-invisible”? Well its something we don’t offer so I feel I can talk about it! Its the wonder of Social Media.
Everyone is raving about the benefits of social media. It’s presented as the “be all and end all” of business interaction. Anyone worth a grain of salt in the business world has a wealth of social media accounts and the impressive connection numbers to go with each.
You’ve probably played along, creating the keyword rich social media profile pages and adding interactive buttons to your blog. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are checked on an hourly basis in the hopes of seeing the new friends, followers, and connections everyone talks about. Each check provides disappointing results as there are no new connections to be found. You slowly start to wonder what the point to social media is anyway.
Rest assured that social media can take your business to new levels. You just need to revamp your approach!
Start by recognising that the key to social media lies in the name itself. In order to generate a response from your social media efforts, you need to be social with others.
Think of it as a real life conversation you’d have with a colleague, potential client, or business partner. In order for the spark to be established you must first form a bond with this person. Whether it is shared interest in a new product unveiling or the latest industry hot gossip, you must find common ground. Seek out these types of connections online and get the conversation started. That common interest is uncovered through comments, posts, and e-mail conversations with individuals you wish to make a connection with.
Take the time to read what others are saying and make a comment, just as you would with a real-life conversation. Create a relevant blog post based on industry hot topics and share it on the appropriate social media sites. Make a valiant effort to be a part of the conversation. This will place your name and brand inside a particular industry. As a result these individuals will begin to learn who you are. The more they learn, the more respect and trust you will earn.
Another great key to social media is understanding how each site works. Just like the various levels of your marketing plan, each social media site serves a different purpose. Twitter and LinkedIn are great destinations for sharing ideas and providing feedback on the ideas of others. Facebook and Instagram serve to humanise your business, placing a familiar face with an unfamiliar product or service. This information will help you fine tune your marketing plan, ensuring your target market audience is being reached.
In order to shine on social media you need to be, well, social! but that’s not that easy.
Like any marketing plan you have to have, well, a plan. You need to know where, how when, and what. The other thing you need is the skill to write things. It’s easy for me, I have been writing articles for years and with my own specialised sense of humour its just a matter of sitting down and writing something relevant. You also need to keep your ear to the ground. So we have the where for us, its, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and our blog. They are all linked together, I use buffer to make sure I post once and use buffer to repeat my message, there are others that do the same job. Buffer posts for us four times a day at times that I think will be least obtrusive. The when is easy. I post four posts a day, two blogs a week and do an e-mail shot once a fortnight. The what is the hardest, I trawl all the trade news e-mail’s, newspapers and listen to clients and the other people at CMX. I then just write a post, an article or I combine the two, posting about an upcoming blog item.
It’s time consuming but no one ever increased their market share by doing nothing, that’s the route to invisibility. I also network a lot. I do BNI in Ipswich and 4N in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester, my face is well worn on many welcome mats!
So now you know all the answers but you still aren’t going to do it are you? Its too much to put together and you don’t have the skill sets maybe? Well I would like to recommend a friend I met through business networking and I have got to know here blogging and media skills quite well. Its the first time I have ever recommended someone in my blog but I would like to recommend Sam Brook of Suffolk Social Media.
She is young, enthusiastic and makes a living by making people like you “Get it done” for Social media and blogging. The costs start at £59.50 which is worth it just for the knowledge and kick-start you will get. To find out more click here.
You wont find fame and fortune overnight, if you do let me know how, but with steady work it will grow and grow, you will become an expert in your field and you will have to start somewhere – unless you and your business want to remain invisible. As a good friend of mine often quotes, “If you want to do something you will, if you don’t you will find an excuse”. What’s your excuse? I hope you don’t have one.
Join in a Twitter conversation. Make a thought-provoking Facebook status update. Praise someone on a well-written blog article. Before long you will begin to see what the point of social media is after all!