Control your Social Media, or, how not to let it control you!

Social media has become a core marketing tool in just a few years. It allows even the smallest business to interact with a wider world, creating a dynamic online presence with real customer engagement.

Consumer and business customers alike increasingly expect to find your firm on the main social networks. In the instant world in which we now live, if you’re not there, they may look elsewhere.

As a business owner, you’d be well advised to focus on the social media sites that best meets your needs. Twitter allows businesses to engage in a dialogue with a wide audience. Facebook is increasingly being used as a friendly online face of many customer goods firms that want to build relationships with their customers. LinkedIn is the de facto professional networking site.

It’s not a good idea to spread yourself too thin on social media. Social media marketing demands time and effort. Handled with care, social media can show your business in a positive light and help to reinforce your brand identity. It can even boost sales – although it’s not wise to overtly sell in the social space. Handled badly, it can damage your reputation. No matter how small your business, its pays to develop your own social media strategy and draw up guidelines so that your messages consistently hit the mark.

Social media is not simply personal.

If you really think about it, you probably don’t ‘make’ time for social media in your personal life as you use it instinctively to add enrichment and social awareness. Relationships, friendships and leisure activities are often heightened through the use of social media channels; however, you do not actively plan to use it. It fits within your daily routine, offering value as and when you want it.

For business social media this interaction level should be no different if you believe gaining news and disseminating information on your subject offers you added value. It has the added value of broadening your knowledge, social channels also allow you to reach and influence your prospects and customers.

We suggest the following ways you can engage with social media for business benefit:

Prepare a social media library

  • Keep a favourites list of business news sites, blogs and applicable forums in an easy-to-access place, both on desktops and mobile devices
  • Keep adding to this list as you and your team find recommendations
  • Collect anything they find that is interesting and file it to read later

Create time to engage with business social media

  • Get to your desk ten minutes earlier each morning to view relevant social channels
  • Swap the morning breakfast news for business social media websites
  • Stay at your desk a little later to miss the rush hour and find new contacts and channels
  • Use scheduling tools to manage your presence whilst you are engaging in other tasks, we use Hootsuite

Measure return on investment/share success

  • Save articles you think will be useful to refer to when closing a deal
  • Share articles with clients and colleagues for the same reason
  • Make a note of when you’ve gained something from social media and load the source into your CRM system

Take it to the team for greater amplification

Get your staff using social media for business, they will have valuable knowledge to share and additional reach. However, do set out guidelines for their activity; set them goals and challenges by encouraging the sharing of what they’ve found. Start by engaging in business social media yourself to ensure you are fully bought into the benefits; then practise what you preach with suitable training for your staff.

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