6 Benefits of Social Media for Business/
June 8, 2011
Social media is more than just a tool for looking at pictures of your friends and reminiscing about times past. It’s become a tool with measurable and predictable power that truly has a place with almost any kind of business. There are many benefits to using social media for business, but here are my top choices.
1. Branding: This is one of the most obvious benefits for most businesses using social media. Whether users directly engage with your brand or not, they will still see your brand name within the networks they use. The more impressions a consumer gets of your business, the more likely they will remember your name in the future. Whether you’re a shoe retailer or a non-profit looking to gain recognition for your cause, brand awareness is vital for your continued success.
2. Reputation Management: Managing your online reputation is essential within social media because your brand or industry is being talked about regardless of whether you take part in the conversation. It’s beneficial to know what your customers think about your products, cause, services etc, and with this input in mind you can react accordingly. Since social media is open to everyone, anyone has the ability to say what they want about your brand. Therefore, making sure what is being said is truthful, not necessarily positive, is key to developing the trust of your audience and influencing them in a positive manner. Feed back from Social Media can also inform your decision about how you deal with your clients or market your business.
3. Customer Service and Feedback: Providing support to your customers is vital to the success of any business and social media is no exception to the rule. When a person reaches out to you, whether their input is good or bad it is extremely important to respond in a timely and helpful manner. Social media provides the platform for consumers to interact on a person to person level, so that they aren’t talking to a faceless representative over the phone or via email. Respond whenever a user reaches out, just not to users acting profane, misleading or hateful. Providing this level of service, which can be something as simple as thanking someone for mentioning your brand, is completely transparent to your entire network, showing how dedicated you are to your audience.
4. Lead Generation: Social media can help act as a means of finding customers for your business, advocates for your cause or as a means to make many other beneficial connections. Like we’ve previously discussed, conversations are happening constantly within each social network and it’s just a matter of you monitoring these conversations and reaping the benefit. These leads can be anything from an idea for an article to an online sale. For example, just by searching through Twitter you get a feel for the buzz in your industry and who’s saying what and possibly interact with interested future customers.
5. Educational Asset: In any industry its important to remain innovative in your field and find the best ways to continue the conversations about what you do. Since you’re here with us today learning about social media, it’s obvious you’re one of the people looking to stay ahead of the curve on a new form of media. Social media provides your brand with a free source of constant information from other brands, media outlets, friends, coworkers and even your competition.
6. Competitive Analysis: In any industry it’s important to keep pace with your competitors. Social media merely makes this process easier by allowing for complete transparency of the content and conversations your competitors are having on their various social accounts. Social media can help keep you on track with other non-profits, businesses, publications or whoever your interested in keeping tabs on or on the other side of the fence looking to partner with in the future for a promotion, campaign or some other type of partnership.