With the buzz around social media use in business humming ever louder companies need to get involved or risk being left on the digital shelf. A company may have a website, but knowing your Facebook from your Twitter could be important when looking at how to promote your business.
But how can social media boost a brand?
According to a survey on social media use by The Nielsen Company, 53% of adults who use social networks follow a brand online. Coupled with the fact that nearly four out of five users visit social networking websites and blogs every time they log on, this shows that harnessing the power of social media could have potential for growing your business in the following ways:
Increase brand awareness. Customers can like your page on Facebook. This generates a link they can share with the hundred or more friends they have on Facebook. Twitter fans can tweet about how they love your product or your service, giving your business another online platform. If your company has 500 online followers, that is 500 loyal people waiting to receive your marketing messages at the click of button.
Improve your search engine optimisation and natural search ranking. This means that when someone searches a keyword to do with your business, having the right words on your website, blog or Twitter will contribute to your company featuring more prominently in results from search engines like Google, so you'll have a better chance of someone clicking onto your site
Improve customer service. Offering a platform for customers to communicate directly with the brand can help them feel more valued. It also gives them the opportunity to raise concerns, offer feedback or ask questions on a transparent forum
Boost sales. With more and more people making more purchases online, an internet presence is crucial.
So everyone's doing it, right?
When small to medium enterprises were asked about their current digital budget, in a survey commissioned by Booz and Company & Buddy Media, 67% of the businesses taking part said they spent less than five per cent of it purely on social media.
Research commissioned by business insurance provider Hiscox of small to medium businesses also revealed that 27% of SMEs use social media to increase brand awareness. Only 6 % of the small businesses surveyed use social media platforms to generate sales, while medium companies use it a little more with 21 % using social media to try to boost their profits.
How to stop being the missing web-link
Use your experience. On twitter you can start by offering tips to give relevant information to potential customers. Join LinkedIn and take part in the forums to raise your professional profile, but only comment on areas that you understand. Speaking on a topic where you are not an expert can wind up damaging your reputation
More than words. Internet surfers today are more likely to click on videos and look at pictures than other word-based links so think about how you can generate this type of content for your business
Ask the experts. You don't know what you don't know and seeking professional advice can help to inform a successful digital strategy. For example an SEO consultant can offer you professional advice on how to get the most out of your website and social media activity when looking to improve your natural search ranking
This content was supplied by Hiscox