Social Media & Business
Social media is no longer a catch phrase or a fad, it is a definite outlet for consumers to garner information about companies they’re interested in and products they want to purchase. For example, McDonalds (as of Nov. 14, 2013), has almost two million Twitter followers and 29.68 million Facebook likes; Disney has 45.21 million likes and 3.32 million Twitter followers.
When harnessed properly, social media can be a highly successful way to increase profit in your business. Unlike TV commercials and newspaper ads, the ultimate goal of social media is not to instantly get the audience to run out and buy your product (although that is definitely a bonus); it is to keep your brand top of mind.
If you own a restaurant, it’s fairly easy to promote your product; everyone gets hungry, after all. But if your business is something a little more selective, such as a bookstore, for instance, social media is an absolute must. But how do you use social media as an effective tool?
1. Decide which medium is the best for your business. Facebook is one of the more popular sites (as noted in the numbers above), and is one of the more flexible options. There is no limit on characters, like Twitter, and a successful post need only include an appropriate picture, and text. Twitter is great for restaurants and retail, as the best comparison to conventional media is a radio advertisement. You can repeat Tweets as much as you’d like, and include links or pictures as well. YouTube is another avenue that is included in the social media arena; it can be used for tutorials or short infomercials.
2. Create a social media strategy. Now before you run screaming, it’s not all that complicated. If you’ve decided on the media you wish to use, all you need to do is figure out a plan on using it. For instance; if you decided on Facebook, you need to decide on how many times per week you’re going to post (three is the suggested amount) and what topics you’re going to use. The same is for Twitter and YouTube; the interval of postings and the subject.
3. Keep it up. One of the hardest things about social media is finding the time to actually post content. If you have the resources available, assign an employee to create the content, or create a job position completely dedicated to social media; it’s done by larger companies all the time. The other option is to contract an outside company for your social media, but unlike traditional advertising, it is usually better to keep it in-house. It is much easier for someone already within the company to create content that is engaging to customers.
When you start upon your social media journey, keep in mind the following quick notes:
- Facebook posts must include a picture and content. No, it’s not a necessity to creating a post, but it’s a necessity to creating a successful post.
- Twitter posts (Tweets) must be concise and to the point. Always use #hashtags!
- YouTube videos should include searchable content in the “about” and should be cross-promoted elsewhere.