by Shane Adair, Marketing Manager
Social media has filled a need for businesses and individuals alike, offering the chance to share a unique personal or corporate viewpoint on a commonly used platform. Its power is clear in the influence it has on everything from the media to day-to-day life, and the sheer number of users on the most popular channels. Facebook has 2.23 billion monthly active users and YouTube has 1.9 billion of the same, according to marketing service provider Buffer.
Understanding how to use social media effectively as a business owner is crucial for taking advantage of the potential exposure that these networks provide. That's true whether your company focuses on B2B or B2C transactions, although your specific strategy should take that distinction into account. Let's look at some key advice for productive social media use as a business and how to build a strategy around such concerns.
Mention social media and many will jump to networks where people and organizations share text, photos, videos and a variety of other content. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are among the most popular for individual users, and there are many more where that came from. But social media doesn't only include these relatively general networks. That's especially important to remember if you operate in the B2B sphere, where social media requires a more nuanced strategy.
B2C companies can engage their customers across a variety of platforms, building engagement and brand loyalty by sharing a range of media. Additionally, many now offer a broad range of customer service support through such networks. B2B enterprises, which often have more dedicated and personal client relationships than a B2C business, may need to be especially careful about where they dedicate their efforts. Some specific considerations include:
- YouTube: The video-based nature of YouTube, where text is a secondary consideration, makes it a good choice for B2B businesses that can display products, provide instructional and explanatory videos or show the results of successful service. YouTube is also a good choice for hosting and sharing statistics about operational efficiency and effectiveness, customer testimonials and similar content.
- LinkedIn: With its focus on careers, outreach and recruitment, LinkedIn can fill an important role in terms of attracting talent and providing details about your business. It can also be a place to connect with current and potential customers and share business-focused content in a professional atmosphere.
Whether your company focuses on the B2B or B2C sector, social media can support your efforts to connect to current customers, prospects and potential employees in some combination.
In the long term, one of the best ways to make the most of time spent on social media is to track engagement and adjust your strategy for creating and posting content accordingly. If customer testimonial videos routinely attract viewers and comments on YouTube while footage explaining and demonstrating your work processes doesn't, for example, it's clear to see where you should focus your efforts. Search Engine Journal contributor Corey Morris said tracking and measuring are vital for understanding the success - or lack thereof - of your efforts, and adjusting your approach going forward. Without this information, you're left making educated guesses or using broad industry trend data.
One of the most important aspects of social media, as compared to one-way forms of outreach and advertising like print and digital ads, is the opportunity for engagement and two-way communication. If a current customer comments on a post with a positive sentiment, for example, that's an additional feather in your cap and a genuine endorsement that can stand out to someone who's considering working with you. But you shouldn't leave things there. A response to that comment can make your customer feel valued and demonstrate that you don't only create content, but leverage social media as a discussion forum and, by extension, are responsive in general to customers.
Business growth expert Scott Duffy said a lack of engagement is where many companies fall short when it comes to social media. They put plenty of work into creating good content, but don't take this crucial follow-up step.
You can also look to engage in comments and answer questions outside of your own social media accounts. Depending on your lines of business, that could mean everything from Facebook and Twitter to more specific message boards that tie into your operations. As long as you follow the rules of those sites and aren't blatantly promotional - you should ask questions, share answers or otherwise engage in good faith - you can leverage these opportunities.
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your business, as long as it's leveraged effectively and you understand where to focus your efforts based on the specifics of your company. For more articles about managing your business effectively. Check out the TAB Bank blog. And for support with a variety of business banking and financing needs, get in touch with us today.
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