In part one of this article, we had a look at some of the ways in whichmarketing can help to build a business and improve the image of a brand. It’s worth pointing out once again, that social media will not make a business an overnight success, but is just a part, if a very important one of the overall marketing strategy. In the final part of this article, we’ll look at some of the other ways in which social media exposure can help a business listen, learn, react and build a brand.
Reasons to use social media
Becoming a mentor
One of the principle benefits of social media is that enables business and individuals to meet other people and network. The important thing to remember is that you’re not the only one doing it. They’re all at it. Now just because you may be a relatively new kid on the block, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an influence on some of the more established players. If your blogs have been greeted with enthusiasm, you may well find that you’re the one who’s in demand. Don’t undervalue yourself. If other users want to learn from you, then take that as the compliment it’s meant to be.
Honing your writing skills
This is usually the part businesses dread the most – the writing and creation of content. Many are intimidated and feel incapable of putting pen to paper for want of a better phrase. The thing is they shouldn’t be. Everyone has to start somewhere, and no one will expect Booker Prize-standard prose: well, not at first! It’s a learning curve for everyone, and in time we all improve. Social media interaction will in fact hone your writing skills, and you’ll be surprised just how adept you become at it. You’ll be called upon to inform, entertain, advise and deliver a call to action. Sure, it’s a challenge, especially if you have to do it in 140 characters or less, but you’ll probably develop a true focus and learn to make your writing succinct and punchy. Face it, it’s probably the best writing class you’ll ever have.
Developing better ideas
The beauty of the social media is that it allows businesses to try out new ideas on their audiences, without having to develop them fully. You can use questions, blogs, forums and discussions to try to get feedback on ideas you might have for potential products and services. Listen to what your community is telling you. See what works and, more importantly, what people absolutely detest and learn from this. When you’ve discovered what people really want, give them more.
Networking faster and more effectively
Social networks likeand give every business networking opportunities. You can have a conversation with colleagues and business partners in a matter of moments and exchange ideas and thoughts. You can’t really buy that type of access elsewhere. The beauty of platforms like Twitter is that you don’t have to buy it – it’s free.
Getting answers and advice faster
There was a time when if you needed help with a problem, like business accounts, or setting up a business landing page, you had to actively go out and search for this help. This was very time-consuming and usually finished up costing you a few bob. The thing about social media is that it now brings the help to you. That carefully build up a network of colleagues and fellow business people will provide all the answers you need. Even if they’re not in a position to answer your query directly, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction faster, or maybe help you find someone who does know the answer. That’s a priceless resource.
Sharing valuable content
Social networking isn’t just about you sharing your thoughts and expertise with the community; it’s also about what others share too. Keep an eye open for quality content, and share that with those you think would appreciate it. This works in two ways: it strengthens the bonds within your existing network, and also brings another valuable player into the fold. They’ll be flattered that you shared their stuff, and generally speaking they’ll be happy to share your content with others in their community. So your influence continues to grow.
Developing your company identity
Being social and having to talk to real people tends to focus the mind. It forces businesses to concentrate on what they really are and what they stand for. That, contrary to popular opinion is a good thing I think. You need to think about it long and hard. What image do you want to convey and how do you want to come across? Do you want to be funny, helpful, corporate or friendly? The bottom line is that who you are will probably determine what you are. So figure out what you want first.
Spotting talent and creativity
Can you remember a time when if you wanted to employ someone, you were forced to wade through endless applications and resumes? Well, the good news is you don’t have to do that any more. The social media has largely made this practice redundant. Channels like LinkedIn can now help you hire staff faster and smarterby not only introducing you to more qualified candidates, but also helping you to establish your referral network,
No one’s pretending that this has been an exhaustive list of the benefits of social media. In fact, it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s still a relatively new medium and we’re constantly learning all the time. Many of the things mentioned could in truth be achieved by other means. However, what the social media undoubtedly does is help you to achieve them faster, and that has to be a good thing.