Aren’t you glad you landed here? I certainly am, because you just have to hear this. Not that it’s news to you, but since the revolutionary take-over of social media in the 90s, businesses all over the world have taken advantage of the easily accessible global village to build their brands and to reinforce their images. There has never been more a convenient medium to expand a business’s reach to its target market at little to no cost than the internet’s very own revolutionary platform: Social media.
Social Media is just the right platform for you to showcase your business’s expertise in the market that you serve. A good way of doing this is to be active and cultivate engagement on the platforms that you use. Talk about issues that are closely related to your product or service offering. You can illustrate cases where you have solved customer issues, add testimonials from satisfied customers using infographics on your page or even answer customers’ questions. The options are endless.
Various social media platforms such as LinkedIn give users the option of adding a question and answer section to their page. Yahoo answers are another exceptional platform to find questions that are related to your particular niche. The more of these questions that you answer, the more knowledgeable you are perceived by your target market, thereby building credibility for your product or service offering. So here are a few steps on getting the right start for your social media platforms.
Be a Socialite
Here is something that marketing gurus tend to lose sight of, social media platforms are all about being…well social. While they might be successful in the beginning at driving customers to their platforms, it is quite easy for these entrepreneurs to unintentionally fall into the habit of using their social mediums to inform their niche rather than to engage with them. The risk here is that it becomes more challenging to retain clients because you aren’t sure what issues they are facing, how their buying behaviour has changed etc. Talking to your subscribers and giving your platforms a more personal touch allows you to understand your audience and allows them to relate to you more naturally to build good equity for your brand.
Strategize; It Will Go a Long Way
It is no longer enough for organisations just to create social media platforms and simply post or share anything on them. By sharing just anything could more likely ruin your brand image or cause your audience to mute your sharing or even harm your engagement. Categorize your posts at times, have a series of posts that focus on issues related to your niche. Plan the topics as well as the content for your posts; in other words, ensure that your purpose for your use of social media is clear. It will work wonders for your impact on social media
It’s The Ultimate Medium For Information
Social media sites are quite a unique source for information, why? because these are the platforms on which individuals can share and discuss their views on various topics. This is good news for you because this gives a space to test your product or adapt it based on insights from opinion polls and numerous forums. With social media, you have a readily available audience to conduct a survey for your service or product offering. With the tools provided by social media sites, it is easy to track the number of visitors on your site or the number of people who have clicked on the links you have posted on your blog or Twitter page. Today’s enterprises are quickly realizing that consumers are more educated and informed on products and services and do not merely fall for any product that a television commercial tries to convince them to buy. Consumers have a voice and demands, and social media can give you just the in-depth glance you need at those demands that will allow you to serve them better.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
The primary reason for which buyers use social media is to obtain information. People are constantly searching for updates, educating themselves on new products and topics. As an entrepreneur, the most powerful thing that you can do for your target audience is not only to provide your product for them but to share your knowledge on topics that will educate your audience on issues that revolve around your products. This brings your audience closer to realising the reason why they should select your product (eg: it is eco-friendly/contains no preservatives). When the information that you share is perceived as educational and valuable, then your audience will often share this information on their platforms, thereby building credibility for your business and your social media presence.
The Art of The Blog
Have you considered how necessary a blog is for your business? Probably not right? Well here is what you have been missing out on: businesses all over the world are now using blog sites to build credible brand images and portray expertise in their fields. In addition to these, a platform like this can be used to:
- Establish your brand as an industry leader
- Drive traffic to your website
- Enhance your Search Engine Optimization
- Cultivate more meaningful customer relationships
Using the services of a freelance blogger as featured and regular writer on your blog is a great way to keep your blog dynamic and interactive. You will be able to answer customer questions about a product that you write about and other customers will also be able to see the comments. Building your business as an authority in your industry is exactly what your brand needs to create loyal customers from your audience, and your blog site is just the place to do it.
Good Alerts For What? : “Your Brand”
Being oblivious of how media perceives your brand is sort of like still taking pregnancy tests even after seeing a 5 month belly on your body, feeling all sorts of kicks against your tummy and getting a call from your boss offering you maternity leave, the facts are all there but you may have turned a blind eye to them. It’s important to be aware of what people online say about your brand, and there is no better time or place than now and on social media. Using a free tool like Google alerts is an effective way of creating tags of anything that you want to keep track of that is related to your niche or brand. You can even tag the name of your brand itself to get email alerts every time your brand is mentioned on the internet. This way you will be able to follow your brand and build a positive image for it as well as address any concerns that consumers may have.
Have Good News And Even More, Good News
Social media is there for you to build a repertoire for you business. Talk about your achievements; share your milestones as well as any projects that you are working on that improve the quality of life of your community. Include testimonials by satisfied clients and positive reviews, this will positively project your business as one that embraces good news and strives for progress. Using videos and pictures of areas that have improved as a result of your business is always a good start. People love reading about good businesses and people love social media. Do the math. Got it? great.
Build Online Connections…as Well As Offline Ones
It is the holy grail of business growth. Connections are everything, not only for new scouting for clients but for potential suppliers, employees and investors. Every connection is a step closer to a valuable lead. Connecting to business groups through LinkedIn, engaging in discussions with media specialists or other business people is always an opportunity to know more about them and perhaps start a conversation that could lead to a business deal. The benefit of establishing business connections online in other parts of the world means that you will be able to meet up with them if you happen to travel to their areas. It all starts with a simple comment to a post.
Keep Your Image Consistent
If you are posting business articles on LinkedIn or videos on Youtube or even blog posts on your blog, then you will need to make sure that there is consistency in your sharing. Schedule certain posts for certain days, use consistent colour schemes, logos, fonts. Ensure that your sharing isn’t just random. Consistency gets your audience to follow you without missing out on the information that you put out onto your social media platform. If you run a travel agency, for example, you can perhaps share two weekly blog posts on your site, one on a Tuesday and one a Thursday. On Tuesday, you can share a business article for your business travellers and share a more sightseeing related article on Thursday for general travellers. This way your audiences will be able to engage in topics they feel more connected to.
Be Aware of What You Post Online
Warren Buffet puts it this way: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. The thing about social media is that once you put a message out there, somebody has seen it, and as you know, the internet is the one place where the voice of a single blogger/celebrity/forum can be heard by a thousand/million more. So a bad post could cost you more than you think, even if you can delete it immediately. Monitor each of your posts. Many companies are no longer treating their social media presence like an extramural activity but actually hire employees who’s job descriptions are centred around social media management and analysis. With this in mind, you will be all set to keep your social media sites booming.
You are definitely off to a great start to making the most of the social media tools to keep track of your effectiveness on the numerous platforms available to you. I will be looking out for your brand name online. But then again, chances are that you are already trending.
Written by Mbula Ngulube