Social media is one of the most powerful new marketing tools for business. In fact it is safe to say that if your business has not taken advantage of social media, then your business may get left behind in the dust. The proliferation of social media into our daily lives has exploded in 2009. Every day reveals a new form of social media from our phones to new social networks appearing on the Internet.
Some may argue social media today is chaotic with so many apps, widgets, countless features, and tools all fighting for a piece of the social media pie. However, like almost everything in business, there are key fundamentals that you’d need to address to give yourself a competitive edge in business.
The truth is the social media is continuously evolving. While many others try to keep up with these ever-changing factors, the savvy business owner should be creating a powerful social media presence that covers the essential areas of social media and creates a solid foundation for future growth.
1. It’s All About the People and Communications
Social media is just that, social. Just as social media is creeping into business it is a much more rapid accepted by your target market that is continuously bombarded by this new media. As such, you need to make sure you have a solid presence on such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter. Ideally, these starting networks will provide time to adjust and grow your social media exposure and provide a solid starting point to grow from. Social media is about connection and communication. The true globalization and amalgamation of social media behavior has opened up a large door of opportunity for businesses that are forward thinking enough to take advantage of the situation.
2. The Perception of Value and Trust
One of the key advantages of social media is that it breaks down the barriers that separate business from customer While many businesses hide behind this war as some sort of protection. Smart entrepreneurs take down that war and allow the target market to see behind the value. By doing so they create a warm rapport and build trust with their target market. Essentially, they are putting on a human face to their company and by developing closer connections to their customer base, they can increase sales and ultimately grow their profits using this medium.
3. Connectivity, Convergence and Productivity
One of the major problems for businesses starting to social media is the fact that everything is so disconnected. For example, if you release a new article or blog post, it can take a while to manually post these two-faced book, twitter, or wherever else you are aggregating your information to. Thankfully, there are many ways to integrate and connect all the social media services into one funnel. Using services like Ping.fm you can post to one service, which then feeds your post to your many other social networks. Ping.fm for example supports over 40 different social media platforms. Believe me, this can be a major timesaver and can still help you get your message out to every single social network you may be involved with.
4. The True Application of Social Media
If you know anything about Facebook, you will know that Facebook apps are one of the primary ways that Facebook uses interact and get hooked on using the service. If you have a Facebook presence for your business, one area of social media you should consider is getting your own application built. You don’t have to have any programming or technical knowledge, as you can outsource this very easily. However, this can take some out of pocket startup capital to get going, but once it does it’s incredibly viral and powerful marketing tool for your business. Ideally, think of something to related to your business or target market that is fun and entertaining. Creating these apps is actually very simple to do and for some larger businesses that have taken this route, it has been incredibly lucrative.
5. Creating a True Network and Community
As mentioned earlier, some business is high time the wall that separates the business from the customers. This wall really does create a barrier to communication and customer involvement as well as loyalty to your business. By taking advantage of social media and creating an actual network between all of the social networks that you are involved with, you can actually create a viral community that actually helps to promote your business. So make sure that in each social network you promote your other networks and openly invite your customers to join the other networks to stay informed.
6. The Evolution of Social Media Advertising
One thing you’ll find in social media is a lot of people advertising incorrectly. Twitter at is a great example of this. I see too many people sending out nothing but links trying to sell their products or services. However, any marketing expert will tell you that this is business suicide. In social media, direct advertising is often frowned upon because of the nature of social behavior. The savvy social media enhanced business owner will quickly realize that the soft sell approach works infinitely better than trying to communicate a powerful sales message in only 140 characters. By building a reputation of value and trust, as well as creating a solid rapport with your target market, you’ll have a much greater chance to convert the website visitors you will generate for your social media activities into an actual paying customers. That is not to say that cannot to use “Hooks” to draw interest into your promotions, that is just common sense. However, blatant hard sells will ultimately tarnish your reputation and damage any long-term prospects.
7. Making Money – The Main Reason for your Social Media Presence
For most people, social media is about being social and connecting with other like-minded people. For a business, our goal is to make money. It is our sole reason for existing. Often times it is hard for a business to break the social media bubble and resistance to business efforts. Unfortunately, among many social media purists, there is a common perception that all business should be banned from social media.
Of course, that is not only unrealistic but impractical. However, by taking the correct approach to social media by being personable and putting a human face on your business you have a much greater chance of creating a solid and profitable traffic and revenue stream in the long-term. Most businesses do this by branding the person rather than the business. For example, a lot of top CEOs and executives of companies are the “front man” for their businesses in terms of social media.
Again, by breaking down these barriers that separate business from social media and your target market, your business will gain credibility, trust, increased reputation and build a solid rapport with an audience that directly relates to your business. Ultimately, the application of social media in your business is up to you. There are many ways to streamline your social media presence and in investing a small amount of time with these fundamentals will ultimately help you make money in the long run. If you are an industry that is slow to adapt to social media, you will have the evocative of your competition and ultimately secure more market share. If you’re in a fast paced industry and have not adapted too social media, it is more than likely that you’re losing money and market share to those that have. If that’s the case, I highly suggest you act now and get started as soon as possible to protect her long-term interests.