Making The Most Of Social Media - Content Is King!
Bev James considers the important role of social media in the world of business, offering her top tips on how small firms can best use it to their advantage.
There is no longer any argument that social media has got a major role to play when it comes to the world of business.
Many senior people at some of our biggest firms were suspicious of the value of using social media when it first burst on to the scene, but that argument has been over for some time now. The reality is that any business, no matter how big or small, is making a huge mistake if they decide to ignore social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
This relatively new form of communication offers companies a unique opportunity to speak directly to their existing customers and, even more importantly, it is a great way of bringing in new business and making new contacts.
The debate has shifted away from the value of social media, and is now focused on the best way to use the internet, how to get the right message out into the world and how to keep control of your image or brand.
Here are some of my tips on how small firms can make the most of social media and avoid some of the pitfalls:
1. Protect the brand
One of the big dangers about using the internet as a marketing tool is the fact that you open the door to all sorts of criticism and sniping. There are plenty of people who have found out the hard way that the internet is full of people who are only too ready to criticise. Make one mistake online, and you will get punished for it - that is why you have to be very careful about what you put online.
Think before you post anything; remember, once something is out there it can be difficult and sometimes even impossible to remove. The whole world can read it and make comments.
2. Know your market
Too many people make the mistake of confusing the professional and the personal. There should always be a point to what you post, whether it is to improve your public profile or to find out from your customers that you are delivering the right quality of service and the right goods. There is no point in wasting valuable time on the internet if it is not going to improve your company or bring in new business.
3. Don’t delay
If an issue arises and someone is unhappy with your products or service, then deal with the problem as soon as you can. Months of hard work can be undone within a matter of days. It is human nature to take more notice of the bad reviews than the good ones. And if you can turn a negative situation into a positive one, then make sure the message gets out there to all of your customers.
4. Use all available resources
One of the best things about social media is that it is far more cost effective than traditional forms of marketing, and just as importantly, you can speak directly to your customers. One of the biggest challenges surrounding the internet is the speed of change.
It is key to keep pace with all the latest developments and new sites, because if you don’t, you could lose out on new opportunities, possibilities and openings.
5. Get help
Having a social media presence can be demanding in terms of time and effort, and as with most things in life, it can be a big mistake to try and do everything on your own. If it is worthwhile and is adding income to the business, there is nothing wrong with getting help and support. It can also be a bonus to get advice from experts and learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to online communication.
6. Keep it fresh
The internet is a hungry beast, and sometimes it can be impossible trying to come up with new content and fresh ideas. It can be a real challenge, but it is important to try not to repeat yourself, as people will quickly move on if you are not posting fresh new material.
7. Content is king
When it comes to using social media, the most important point of all is to make sure that you have something worthwhile and interesting to say. Whilst improving your profile is the aim of the game, just simply selling your products or services is never going to be enough to capture an audience. Forget advertising and start adding value!
If you want to grab people’s interest, you have to be creative and imaginative. Think carefully about the message you want to get out there, and above all, do your best to make it as interesting and readable as possible.
When you create great content, people will engage with you and share it with their friends. Ultimately, your online network will determine your net worth.
Bev James is CEO of the Academy Group including the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy and EBA for Coaches, joint ventures with James Caan, and The Coaching Academy – the world’s largest training school for coaches. She is a millionaires’ mentor and serial entrepreneur, as well as the author of DO IT! or DITCH IT: Turn Ideas into Action and Make Decisions That Count – 8 Steps to Business Success. ® (Virgin Books) which is now also available as a free business app (iPhone and iPad). Bev is also Director of Mentoring for Start Up Loans, a government initiative supporting entrepreneurs.
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