Updated: Feb 20
Social Media has become an intrinsic part of our everyday lives for consumers to business owners and everyone in between. The fact that social media has become so linked with our everyday lives is in undeniable fact, which begs the question: how can a business owner use Social Media to their advantage. Social Media gives businesses a direct line to interact with their audience and that kind of communication is powerful when coupled with the fact that the marketplace is moving more towards the digital realm. While there is a multitude of ways to maximize the potential of Social Media as a business here are four essential ways to use Social Media.
“Importantly, companies are using social media to do things that go way beyond just chatting up existing customers on Facebook. Sales departments use social to nurture leads and close sales. HR posts job openings and vets applicants. Community and support squads mine networks, blogs, and forums with deep listening tools.” Ryan Holmes, Internet entrepreneur
Establish your brand
One of the most important ways to use Social Media is to establish your brand. Your brand in this instance will be the culmination of the services you offer, the traits of your brand, and your reliability as a business. In this day and age, your brand is essentially your reputation. Gone are the days when businesses controlled the market and could tell customers exactly who and what they were, Now the market is controlled mostly by the ideas and influence of consumers. While in the past one bad review might not have done much, today one bad review can spread like wildfire so it is absolutely important to be careful about how your brand comes across on social media. Stay away from pushy advertisements and false promises and lean more towards the problems that you solve as a business. Let people know how you have helped others and tap into the emotions of your audience rather than the practicality of your business.
Engaging customers is important both off and online, but Social Media is a great way to make connections during a time when most businesses aren’t able to engage with their customers face to face. Responding to and liking comments, featuring customers on your page, and engaging with customers through Direct messaging are great ways to make your audience feel like they know your business. Building trust on Social Media is especially important as a business because Social Media has become saturated with scams and people who have no intention of delivering on the promises that they make. This saturation has caused an inherent distrust of businesses on Social Media so going the extra mile when it comes to engaging your audience is quintessential to using Social Media effectively as a business.
Interact with and Build a Community
Speaking of engaging customers it is also equally important to focus on building a community as a business. In today’s world, people spend their money in tribes seeing the businesses that they interact with as an extension of their identity rather than just an item or service that they purchase. This means that building a strong community around your brand is one of the most effective ways to utilize Social Media as a business. Giving back to your audience is a great way to build community, doing things like giveaways, creating interactive Instagram Stories, and hosting IG live where you answer the questions of or communicate with your audience is a great way to build a community as a business. In today’s world community is king because building a strong and devoted community is a wonderful way to create brand loyalty which is a great way to make sure that you create recurring customers for your business, furthermore a strong community is more likely to support you during times of economic struggle or difficult periods of expansion as a business.
“Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They’re connecting with the audience that they want to connect to. It’s almost a disadvantage if you’re not on it now.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook
Sharpen and Define the needs of your Audience
One of the most wonderful ways to use Social Media is to sharpen and define the needs of your audience. Due to the fact that Social Media allows you to take a more personal look at your audience, it is a wonderful tool for defining the needs of your customers. Taking a couple of minutes each day to look through the profiles of your customers can provide you with great insight into how you can best provide for their needs. Take a good look at the likes and dislikes, but most importantly the problems and concerns that they experience on a daily basis. By figuring out what problems your audience is having trouble with you can more effectively position your business as the best solution to those issues. Most importantly however gaining better insights into your consumer can allow you to interact with them more genuinely which is better for the business overall.
“The most successful marketer becomes part of the lives of their followers. They follow back. They wish a happy birthday. They handle problems their customers have with products or services. They grow their businesses and brands by involving themselves in their own communities.”
Marsha Collier, speaker, and business author
Social Media is a great tool for anyone, but it is an especially great tool for business owners. Social Media allows you to tap into the emotions and interests of your audience in a more personal way without the wall of distrust that can be built up by constant advertisements. Most importantly Social Media is a great way to establish your business outside of the spheres where you are already known allowing you to expand your audience and reach places you never thought possible.