Recent times have witnessed a social shockwave ripple through the realms of cyberspace. Social media sites have popped up out of nowhere to dominate our online worlds. Not a day goes by where we don’t see or hear a mention of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. ‘Like’ buttons and ‘tweet me’ messages are sprawled across almost every page on the World Wide Web, and if you’re anything like the rest of us then you’ll be actively using these social networks yourself.
The phenomenal power of social media doesn’t really need highlighting, but just in case you want an idea of how important it is; people can now be arrested for inappropriate Twitter tweets and Facebook is reaching 1 billion users as I write this…yes…I said 1 billion! That is one account for every seven people on this planet.
It is not surprising then that the business world has quickly cottoned on to the marketing power that resides on these social networks. Their popularity and sheer volume of users gives businesses a perfect opportunity to get their name out there and generate new business leads. Nonetheless, you can’t just go in with a digital megaphone and shout about how great you are. These networks are social platforms, and here’s how you should use them…
Accept that these networks are online communities
So many businesses fail at the first hurdle when it comes to social media and you surely don’t want to be one of them. What is the hurdle you ask? Well, it’s the ‘sell, sell, sell’ hurdle that most companies use to bulldoze their way into the social landscape. If this is the strategy that you use, or one that you intend to use, then stop right now!
Because social networks are communities. They’re not designed for business promotion; they’re designed for like-minded users to unite and share their interests. These users aren’t bothered about your business trying to offload its products and services. Instead, they’re bothered about finding useful information, sharing ideas, and ocasionally finding a product that can really benefit them. To succeed in the social landscape, you need to join in with the community, which is less about selling and more about sharing information and ideas.
Social media is a game of give and take
The main problem with getting over that first hurdle is that many businesses want to use social platforms to take, take, and take some more. Sure, you want to take your share of the market and you want to transform the social media users into loyal, paying customers. The good news is you can do this, but the reality is you have to give a little too.
If you realise that practically every social media user is already bombarded with business advertising across the rest of the internet, then you may understand why they don’t want to see it crop up on their social networks too. Instead of diving in head first with that natural salesman persona, take a gentler approach. Pass on advice to your potential customers, share interesting stories about your business or your niche, and hold back on the selling until later. If you give something to social media users, then they’ll be much more likely to place trust in you and your business.
Secure a social presence
The businesses that get the best results on social media are the ones who have taken the time to build up a social presence. With social networks, you need to invest the time and the effort to get the results. Yes, time is of the essence for many businesses, but the results will be worth it if you know how to use these sites.
You should be aiming to update your statuses or post tweets several times on a daily basis. You should also aim to include a mixture of information in these posts. Talk about the latest news, add links to your site and other useful sites related to your business, and express your authority by posting a few hints and tips. Finally, you need to be truly social. That means talking about your day and parts of your life asied from your business, and it also means actively participating in discussions or even creating discussions of your own.
If you create a compelling social presence then you’ll soon see the interest in your business sky rocket. Users will link to you or recommend you to their friends, they’ll build up trust in your company, and ultimately, they’ll turn in to those paying customers you’re trying so hard to get.
So, whatever you do, be social!
Hopefully you are now all too aware of how social media is truly a social landscape. After all, it’s not called ‘social’ media for nothing. Practice being a social butterfly and your business will soon be spreading its wings.
Stuart Withers is a master of online content writing and an SEO pro, spending his days surfing the digital realm and typing like there’s no tomorrow. Currently, he works for a small business SEO company called Marketing by Web. They are your specialists for white hat, Google friendly SEO, social media marketing, and PPC advertising. If you need help or advice on how to win your war with the search engines, then don’t be afraid to get in touch and let the team help you.