Social media has grown dramatically since it’s early beginnings in the mid 2000’s. Today, social media has expanded to cover multiple types of content and applications and is being increasingly used by companies to engage with their customers 24/7.
Why use social media for business?
Social media for business is not just about getting your message out there. Yes, you want the world to know who you are and what products or services you have to offer. That is what your website is for! There is a lot of noise on social media from both individuals and businesses, trying to shout louder than everyone about how great they are or what they had for dinner.
But for a business, that’s not what social media is about. It is a way to really engage with your audience. To find out what they think about you and your products and services and to engage in dialog with them about what they want or need from you. Too many businesses are still using social media as another push channel, effectively just spamming their customers rather than having a conversation.
Having a social media strategy is key
So how can you get your message across on social media without the spam? It’s easy to be swept away by the “social” side of social media. Sometimes when scrolling through some of the statuses and tweets from businesses you question if they have a social media strategy at all. Some social media managers seem to use their corporate accounts as just another channel to promote themselves, while others are just shouting how great they are while offering nothing of value to their audience.
Businesses need to have a clear strategy and be careful not to post too many arbitrary messages or they could run the risk alienating or confusing their audience. It’s fine to converse with your audience but you still want to convey the right message at the right time.
Time and place
As with comedy, timing is everything. Social media posts should be scheduled at times when you know your audience is present and willing to talk. Are your customers, night owls or early birds? When do they stop for lunch or take their coffee break?
Creating the perfect post
Getting a clear, concise message and possibly also a link, even a shortened one, into 140 characters can be a challenge. And while Facebook or Linked posts can be longer, how much do you read?
You want to keep your posts positive, to give people a reason to like them and respond to what you’re saying. Including an eye-catching image that is relevant to the post can help your post stand out from the noise. Show an interest in what others are doing and ask questions about what they are looking for or want from you. And don’t just talk about your company and its products – like what other companies or followers are doing and you will not only make them feel good but will also be helping to build awareness for them and also for your own brand.
Finally, you still want to generate leads or create opportunities for conversion so a call to action can make all the difference. Add links to take readers to your website, where they can find out more about you and your products and services to help convert them into customers.