August 11, 2015

Customer Question: How Does Social Media Improve My Online Presence?

The "Customer Question of the Month" eGumball, Inc. logo.
By Joseph A.

Whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar company or an online service, thoughtfully employing social media can help you increase your visibility, profits, and customer base. 

One key is carefully linking your social media activity to your business strategy. But how can you do that in a practical, yet interesting way for your customers.

Here are a few pieces of advice:

1. Choose the Proper Platforms and Strategies

It might be tempting to follow the latest social media trends and jump on whatever platform is being talked about the most. However, maximizing your social media use means choosing the platforms and practices that best suit your core business strategy. For instance, it may or may not make sense for your company to update its Twitter account every hour; what works for one company may not have the same effect on yours

One potential strategy could be to determine which platforms your customers use, and then build a social media presence with those outlets in order to help achieve your business objectives. Even if revenue impact is hard to measure, you should have specific performance indicators in place that will help you evaluate the extent to which you are generating value for your company.

The typical objective of a social media strategy is to increase the visibility of your company. Therefore, it makes sense to consider fostering a social media presence on most of the major platforms to maximize those results. For instance, Facebook may be the largest social media platform, but Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have the highest growth rates. On the other hand, these three platforms primarily serve visually interesting products and services best. Twitter users often expect near-immediate responses when they mention a company. If you do not have the resources to answer quickly, Twitter may not be ideal for your company’s strategy.

2. Set Specific Goals for Your Social Media

The location, purpose, and size of your business will naturally affect your social media goals.   Many companies use social platforms to:
  • Increase traffic to their website
  • Drive lead generation and e-commerce purchases
  • Improve the company’s integrity
  • Demonstrate an approachable, likeable corporate identity
  • Increase the amount of feedback they receive from customers and leads
  • Offer an additional avenue for customer interactions. Your clients may find it more convenient to compose a Tweet or write a Facebook post than to call or email you.
  • Media outlets like online news publications or bloggers may even consider your active social networks when deciding whether or not to feature your company in a piece. The stories that you portray of an exciting company through social media may help you connect with reporters and writers who are looking for interesting businesses to profile.
Ultimately, good use of social media platforms should be positively impacting your revenue and profits with stellar content marketing.

3. Have an Organized Approach for Content

Once you decide which social media outlets best fit your business strategy, you should develop a comprehensive plan for the content you post. A systemized approach is key when developing your content plan, as this will allow you to maintain organization and consistency when sharing across various social channels. Try to determine how frequently you will post and which times are ideal to reach your audience.

To start, you could try out different social media management tools, such as Hootsuite. These resources can be incredibly helpful for social media managers, as they allow you to plan posts in advance and select only the specific channels through which you would like a particular message to be shared. 

It is also recommended to create and maintain an ongoing editorial calendar for your content. Ideally, you should be able to look at the month or week ahead and have a clear idea of when certain pieces will be published, as well as when you will share them on social media. 

Moreover, it is important to remember that you should present engaging content on social media. If you are only posting messages such as, “Look at our newest deals,” people will tune out quickly. Try to develop posts that are both applicable to your product and interesting. The best content also encourages people to interact with your brand again. 

Whether your business relies on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or other outlets, the words “relevant to your business strategy” are key to a successful social campaign. By choosing the correct platforms and practices, identifying key goals, and planning your approach to content, you can ensure your use of social media supports your core business strategy.
Do you have any helpful hints about how businesses can utilize social media? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

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