According to eMarketer, the number of US companies using social media tools in 2011 is set to rise to 80% from 2010’s 73%. And in 2012 the prediction is set to hit 88%. These figures aren’t remotely surprising and although many marketing professionals believe that there aren’t enough businesses utilizing social media for marketing purposes, I beg to differ on the subject personally.
We’ve been talking about social media for business quite vigorously throughout the last few weeks of March, and so we continue to do so with the offering of some great productive methods in which you can use to get your own business more involved with social media.
So how can your business benefit from social media? Let’s take a closer look.
Promote Products & Services
Social media is a fantastic avenue in which to use to promote your products and services online. If you’ve been limiting yourself to using email or traditional mailing to get your message across, then consider using social sites such as Facebook and Twitter to add to your arsenal. Here are a few reasons why!
- With over 600 million people using Facebook and over 150 million people using Twitter, your products and services can be placed at the center of attention and receive the much needed additional online exposure email or tradition offline marketing and promoting methods could never achieve.
- Using social media to promote your business products and services online is hugely cost effective.
- You can refine your target audience by age group and demographics if using social media to advertise your products and services online.
Give Advice, Ask for Advice
Social media sites are populated with thousands of like minded business individuals and professionals. One of the advantages of using social media for marketing purposes is to learn from a huge community of niche related business people. Asking for advice from others is something you should do regularly; after all we’re all here to learn. So remember, as well as giving advice to others, you can also benefit from learning from others too.
Get an Opinion
If you have a new product or service that you want to put to the test before promoting a launch for example, the social media sites can certainly help you with this. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and perhaps even YouTube you can really put your ideas in front of your audience and get an honest opinion from other individuals perhaps looking for what there is to offer. If like me you value the suggestions and ideas of others then you can utilize the social sites to work a little like an online survey. Feedback is one of the most valuable sources to gain from social media marketing.
Provide Assistance & Resources
We mentioned earlier about using the social media sites to give advice; you can also provide much needed assistance and deliver resources to others looking for it. Be recognized as someone with valuable authority within your niche and your business can gain so much more in return.
Build a Large Community of Followers
One of the many reasons why businesses use social media to market and promote their products and services online is for the ability to quickly build a large network of followers. Users with similar interests can quickly congregate together to share ideas, suggestions, debates and anything else they want to discuss about in one single place.
Think of it as building a large emailing database, with the added advantage of having each of your contact being able to engage with one another and of course with you, at the forefront of your business communications, on a more personal level.
Reward your followers and fans with special discounts, product samples and freebies for being in your community. This has several advantages; it can quickly entice others to join your network and build your business contacts larger still, secondly this can create a stronger loyalty amongst your followers, and thirdly rewards often lead to more sales.
Connect with other Professionals
As mentioned earlier the social sites are filled with other like minded business professionals and can be a great way for you to build your business contacts. I’d recommend using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for this.
Finally, branding means everything to a business and one of the best ways to promote your corporate image is of course through the use of social media.
Well I hope this has helped shed some much needed light on how and why your business should consider using social media, as always if you have further debate on the subject please do so in the comments section below.