The importance of businesses engaging on social media

It’s an inescapable part of life that businesses and individuals are increasingly using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in the West. Our friends over in China use a similar service to Twitter and Facebook called Sina Weibo, and as we all know, the Far East isn’t a market you can just ignore!

In this blog post, I’ll take a look at why your business needs to reach out to its customers through social media.

Firstly, your business should be using social media as a way to engage customers both new and existing. Taking 30 seconds to respond to a “tweet” or Facebook message lets your customers know you care and enables a business to nip any negative PR in the bud, often turning it into a positive. Customers aren’t scared to tell the world what they really think via social media. You only need look at the campaigns of companies such as HMV or the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company to understand how quickly things can go wrong without a proper response.

Secondly, as we all know, the key to any business is understanding your audience. Social media makes this possible in entirely new ways, and easier to accomplish than ever. With tools like Klout and Facebook Insights through Hootsuite, you will be able to see your audience in a way that was previously impossible. Not only will you know the age and gender of your audience, but you’ll be able to see their location, primary and secondary languages, browser used and in some cases, real names. This knowledge can help you tailor your campaigns, offers and social media feedback to your target audience, which will provide you with a better return on investment, all by using services that are essentially free.

Thirdly, and importantly social networks such as Twitter and Sina Weibo allow businesses to locate their current customers and seek out potential customers. For example, if your business expands into a new geographical location, you could create a “Geo Search” through a medium such as Hootsuite to locate anyone tweeting about a product you market, similar products, or competitor products in that region. Once you locate these people, it’s an easy step to give them the personal touch, reach out to them and hopefully gain a new customer.

Social media as a time-saving mechanism

In the old days, the only ways to get customer feedback were through questionnaires or surveys which could be expensive and time consuming to run. Social media is now very firmly being used as a business tool, as it’s a direct, instant form of communication with customers. If something goes wrong, or right, you can hear about it straight away, jump in there and make sure the problem is solved. Twitter and Facebook both enable you to alleviate any doubts of potential customers, by responding to complaints in a timely manner. Devices such as retweeting too give credence to your company image. If you get positive feedback, simply share it! In the real world, a customer’s competitor seeing that they are using your product and getting success with it is worth its weight in gold.

Social Media as a lead generation medium

Social media is a fantastic way to improve your company’s lead generation (in the right hands). For a manufacturing business, use of Twitter ads properly placed has been proven to generate leads at up to a third of the cost of more traditional means. Companies can use social media to push free content, which can help with search engine rankings. Sharing “gated” content is an ideal way for a company to generate leads, as by signing up, you have all the details on a potential customer.

Measuring effectiveness

Developing an effective measurement strategy is in many ways as important as devising the social media strategy itself. Unless you know who you are targeting, and whether your campaigns are hitting the mark, Social Media use can feel like a futile exercise. We’re here to change that.

Through programs like Hootsuite, a Social Media company like Dragonfly PR can give you a detailed breakdown of your audience. With proper social media management, the results you can gain (mentioned earlier in this blog) are vitally important to a business.

Social media has become an essential part of businesses’ marketing strategy in the last few years. More and more, customers want to get the feeling of being personally cared about, without actually seeing you face-to-face.

If you don’t have a strong social strategy and online presence, you will be edged out more and more by your competitors. It’s already happened to companies like Dixons (who scored a -1.24 out of 10 on the Harvard Social Media Scale). As your company grows, and as time passes, a higher percentage of employees of your customers in important positions will have grown up using social media. The younger generation has an expectation that feedback, criticism, praise and views will be responded to immediately. If they aren’t, you face not being able to defend yourself and enhance your reputation, where competitors can. The costs of setting up a sound social media strategy which will give bountiful rewards, are far outweighed by the benefits.

I hope you’ve found this blog of interest and it has whet your appetite about the results and insights that social media can deliver for your business. If you’d like a free review of your social media requirements, contact our digital media team by emailing or calling 01709 300130 and take a look at the “Social Media” section of our website here.

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