Business networking with social media
With everyone from your neighbours, family, friends and colleagues jumping on the social media bandwagon, there is no surprise that companies are using the continually evolving digital platform as a valuable marketing tool.
For those who are yet to be swept up in the hype of our radically changing cyber space, the question is not whether you will join the masses, but when. With more than 800 million Facebook users alone and hundreds of social media sites worldwide, it is impossible to deny its prevalence, and increasing dominance and influence in society. Whether your business is present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other site, social media allows you to interact with your target market like never before. But, how can social media enhance your business?
Because of the internet’s immediacy and anonymity, you can gain a virtually accurate reading of how your customers perceive your business. From posted conversations online, you can directly access your customer’s candid opinions and gain an understanding of where your business is going right and wrong.
Social media allows you to gain a real understanding of your customers. From their conversations and posts, you obtain an insight into their likes and dislikes. It is also a great platform to throw out new ideas and see how your customers respond. What would they like to see from your company, what would they like to be improved, or abandoned all together. Because of its instantaneousness, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook allow you to tweet/post news regularly and continue interaction with your customers.
LinkedIn is a great business networking site for both communicating with your target market and also seeking prospective staff. This site, which is aimed at business professionals, directs potential customers to you through their connections with others. Each user compiles a list of connections, which they trust and therefore promote to their own connections. You can also recruit for prospective staff, or request for referrals through your personal network of professionals on LinkedIn, allowing you to fulfill skilled roles more efficiently.
How to get your business started:
Social media is rapidly becoming a valuable tool to businesses and if you are new to the concept it can be daunting to take the leap into the unknown.
With a few easy steps you can launch your organisation’s social media sites to enhance and make the most of potential opportunity for your business. While some businesses have entire departments and teams dedicated to business networking, you can start off small and still reap the rewards that this marketing platform has to offer. Here are some important steps to set you on your way:
> What are your needs?
One of the most important things to consider before you put your business in the social media realm, is why do you need to do this? If you are simply doing it for the sake of it, and have no fundamental needs then you need to reconsider. Do you need to improve business? Improve your products/services? Need new staff?
> What are your goals?
You need to make your needs specific. What is your ultimate goal? What products do you want to improve? What aspect of your business do you want to improve?
> Who is your target audience?
The digital world is a huge one so you need to be specific on whom your audience is so you can target them.
> Which sites?
You need to decide which sites you want to make your business present on. Do some research on the site, so you know exactly what you are dealing with?
> Whose responsibility will your sites be?
Make sure there is someone to manage your pages/accounts so that it is not abandoned. Social media is fast paced so in order to retain your customer’s attention your sites need to be active and regularly updated.