Social Media a Must For Any Business

It seems nearly every day someone is offering a seminar or webinar on social media. We’re told to sit in and learn about the various social media tools and strategies. You wonder: What more could be said about social media? What does all this mean for me and my business? Good questions.

Too often presenters talk about the various components of social media without fully explaining why businesses should be involved. Without understanding the why, you can’t fully appreciate what you’re missing. You also won’t know how to properly use those powerful marketing tools. Without that understanding, business people blindly post tweets, blog columns, and videos, and then wonder why they don’t get a reaction. They also quickly lose faith and stop their efforts.

Whether in a traditional business or an MLM / network marketing enterprise, a social media strategy should be part of your overall marketing efforts. You may still use some traditional media, but you must use the new online tools, as well. Here’s why:

Social media provide a quick and easy way to interact with your customers and prospects, thereby allowing you to establish and develop relationships.

Imagine social media as a town square. People go there to mingle, ask questions, gripe, swap information, and otherwise interact. If you’re not involved, prospects, customers, and plain folks could be talking about you (good or bad) and you would not have the chance to respond. Similarly, they may be asking for help in areas you could assist with. If you haven’t made yourself known, those individuals may go elsewhere for answers. And to buy.

Unfortunately, some businesses participate just because everyone else is. Let me give you some perspective. I worked for an Internet service provider in 1997. Back then, many of our customers’ websites consisted of a single page. One client had a two-page site. Wow!

Cost was a factor, but there was more to the issue. Many firms, I believe, put up websites merely because their competitors had one. Admittedly, my company didn’t do a good job of explaining the true value of a website. (Keep in mind that e-commerce hadn’t become a standard practice.) They would pay to have a site developed, then go about their business.

Today, customers of all ages use social media platforms to communicate. What should you do? Get involved, but in a systematic way. Concentrate on putting out valuable content; content that piques interest, solves problems, and otherwise raises awareness of your firm. Observe the types of questions that are being posed and the topics raised. To what extent can you write about those (and other topics) as they relate to your business?

Keep in mind that visitors are hungry for information. Tone down the sales pitches, and ramp up the useful content. Use your knowledge and expertise to offer suggestions that will make our lives better.

You can still work in a marketing angle. Facebook has proved to be a powerful platform for larger firms to hold contests and other interactive events. Think of fun ways to engage visitors to your fan page, and reward them accordingly. Gift certificates, coupons, and other awards help maintain interest and a following.

Be patient as you launch your social media campaign. You may not see a tremendous response right away. Keep it up, and over time you will develop a following. That following – those leads – are gold for your firm.