How to Make Social Media Work for Your Business.

It still amazes me how some business owners still reject the idea of using social media for business.  The most common sayings I hear is “Why should I waste my time on Facebook” or “Facebook is for kids”, or “social media is a waste of time”.  What they don’t probably realise is that the traditional forms of marketing like newspaper and flyer advertising are not as effective as they once were and probably more a waste of time.

social media for business facebookI believe though the real reason is that they have not taken the time to actually understand social media and find out how to make it work for them.  Lack of knowledge is one the greatest hindrances to success. So if you don’t how to do it, either learn, or find somebody who does know, to do it for you.

Like any marketing there has to be a strategy behind your advertising campaign.  Competition is so much tougher in the advertising world, mainly because of social media.  It is just too easy and cheap to promote your business, that if you are not doing it, chances are you are falling behind in the competitive stakes. Like most in things in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the less time it takes.

So where do you start?

Let’s look at your market first. Do your customers or potential customers live in your local area, or do you ship       intsocial media for business marketingerstate, across the country or across the world. What is the profile of you ideal customer?  Yes demographics are important, but enhanced with your knowledge of what they like, or don’t like, their hobbies, where they congregate, what meetings do they enjoy etc. all helps.  What you are looking for is your target market, the people who are the most likely to be interested in what you have to say, and then buy from you.

Then just start. It is easy to register and free to open an account and start making friends. Just sign up and start following people and they in turn will start following you back.  Then as your experience grows, you can start using some of the many free tools available to ramp up your marketing.  It is best to start with the two biggest: Facebook and Twitter.  Then as your experience grows you can look at others like LinkedIn, Pinterest and You Tube.

Register to receive regular emails from experts like Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner.  They will keep you up to date with new techniques and strategies with loads of helpful tips. It is free to receive these emails and well worth the time reading.

Okay, so social media is about making friends.  But choose your friends wisely, because ultimately you want to convert them to good loyal customers. Then think about it.  Do you get into general conversation with your friends, or do you try to sell them something at every opportunity? I bet any friends that you have left after trying to sell to them all the time won’t be hanging around for much longer.  So engage with your friends.  Answer their posts or tweets and get involved.  Then entertain your friends.  Give them some worthwhile information about your product, industry, your company or any useful information, even if it is unrelated to your business.  Tell them humorous stories, or clean jokes. The point is, make yourself attractive, so that people will be looking out for your posts, and just as importantly, tell their friends. Then from time to time you can promote a product or event, say one out of every five or six ‘friendly’ posts could be a promotional post.

So this is where social media gets very powerful. The viral factor.  You may have heard of things going viral on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter etc.  But the videos or tweets or posts that go viral are entertaining, or topical or of great interest to the general populace. Listen to the mass media like television and radio and see how often they refer to social media. The fact is that today the word gets out to the public via social media before the mainstream media get hold of it and distribute the information.

Learning Social Media

Now like most things that are worthwhile, it is going to take a little effort to do things well. And you are not going to learn lot in a single post like this.  But there are heaps of resources out there to learn by experts in their field. One of the biggest concerns is time.  Chances are you don’t have a lot of time to spend on marketing your business on social media.  So you can either pay someone to do it for you, or you can use various tools available that will reduce the amount of time needed to spend on communicating with your social media audience.  The point is, it is worthwhile learning to use social media for business, and there are a heap of tools available, some free, some you have to pay for.  If you would like some guidance as to who follow or talk to regarding you social media marketing, just post a comment below and we will get back to you.