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Social media; if you can’t beat them – join them

What does your business make of social media? Is it the best thing since sliced bread, or do you see it simply as one of the curses of twenty first century life? Whatever your opinion, what can’t be disputed is that social media polarises opinion. Some businesses swear by it, whilst others wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. The question is, is it all it’s cracked up to be: is it something every business should embrace? The answer to that is a qualified yes. When used correctly, for the right reasons in the right circumstances, social media can be highly influential and can benefit businesses significantly.

If social media has failed to resonate with you so far, or your business has still yet to be convinced of its value in a commercial context, then consider these simple points. When you see how applications like Facebook and Twitter can benefit your wider business strategy, you may have to change your mind.

If you can’t beat them – join them

If you want a really compelling reason to join the throng then consider this: most of your competitors are already signed up and using it. In fact, according to figures from Adweek, 91 per cent of brands are not only signed up, but are already using more than one social media platform to promote their businesses. If your business wants to beat the competition, then the simple fact is the only way to steal any sort of march is to join them.

The problem is, the longer you leave it; the more difficult the task you’ll face. Whilst you’re dithering about whether to join in or not, your competitors have already got their hooks into potential customers and earnt their loyalty. Once they have built that level of trust, you’ll have a much harder task trying to win them over to your side. However, if you’re actively engaging on social networks you can strike the first blow and leave the competition to play catch up.

Cost: what cost?

Social media is, for the most part, free unless you’re thinking of placing paid adverts on the various social platforms. If you’re prepared to do your own social media management and run your own social networking campaigns, it’s probably the least expensive form of digital marketing out there.

What’s not to like there?

What about expertise? Don’t you need to be ‘socially’ experienced? Well no, not really. You don’t have to be a computer expert or social guru to make it work for you. All you need to do is link your business to the appropriate interest/business groups to get notice and attention.

Social media is a fantastic way of promoting brand awareness

Business cards are great in the right context; so are recommendations from satisfied customers. However, if you want to reach a wider audience and promote your brand, then social media is fantastic. It’s a simple fact of life when you think about; the more people who see your brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; the more likely they’ll be to remember your name, products or services when they’re looking for the type of products and services you’ve got to offer. The internet has exploded over the last few years, and more people than ever – young and old – are looking for, or sourcing, products and services online. They are, therefore, thousands of potential customers out there looking to do business; if you can build a strong and engaging presence on Twitter and Facebook those customers may just come knocking at your door.

Social media helps to build communities

Engagement is what drives social media. By getting to know your customers and finding out what makes them tick and what makes them happy, businesses can start to build a community and a loyal customer base. By using social media, businesses can become less of a corporate entity, or faceless brand, and more of a member of a community, and that can have a major impact on sales.

Social media can help you widen your business’ reach

If you’re looking to expand into new markets, or simply to broaden the appeal of your brand, then social media can be fantastically helpful. Twitter and Instagram are great platforms for reaching out and embracing new audiences. With the use of a single hashtag, you can connect with people in your local area and wider afield and help them find what they are looking for. Once you’re connected, you can engage with people and start to build relationships. The more people you reach out to and engage with; the wider the interest in you brand. At the end of the day this interest will only help to drive more targeted traffic to your webpage, and that can only help the bottom line.

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