The Business Benefits of Social Media: Platform Basics
Alex Murray | @AlexIsntOnFire If you’re reading this then I'm sure you are well aware that social media can impact your business. What you may not know is how large that impact can be and how it can benefit your business. Social media is a powerful tool that people use to share and connect with one another anywhere in the world at any time. Companies have the unique opportunity to join in this conversation by connecting with customers through their own social media accounts. Here are a few of the biggest social media sites on the web and how each of them can benefit your company differently.
Twitter is a micro blogging platform that allows users to post short messages about their day, clever blurbs, or photos and videos. The beauty of Twitter is that each "tweet" is limited to 140 characters, everything you say must be short, sweet, and to the point. Twitter is a great tool for engaging your customers. Customers may tweet about your product using "#Hashtags" or even tweet you directly using your companies specific Twitter handle. This allows for quick feedback from your customer base and an easy place to build relationships with your customers.
Facebook is a social networking service that allows users to connect with one other all over the world. Facebook is very supportive of business and offers several tools to make things easier. Users can choose to connect with a business by liking the company's "fan page” and can even share the fan page with their friends. A company’s fan page is the place to post photos, questions, and news for your fans to comment on. Users can interact and talk directly to the business through their fan page and post comments or concerns, this is incredibly helpful in solving customer disputes in a timely fashion. Facebook also offers it’s own analytics tools that allow page admins to see what posts and what days receive the most likes. Companies are able to measure their “Social ROI” on Facebook and how that relates to real time conversion rates.
Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing site that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Pinterest is a great tool for business because within minutes a post can go viral, not only are your followers seeing your post but they are “repinning” your posts and sharing them with all their followers. Pinterest's interface makes it easy for your company to post a picture of a new product and include a link to your online store. Whether your posts are about your products or just industry-related pictures, consumers are seeing and remembering you.
I have written about the importance of company blogs before and why no business should be without one. Blogs are incredibly useful tools for businesses, when it comes to social media the blog is the face of the company. The company blog is a place for your company to have free range to talk about what they want without the restrictions of Twitter’s 140 character limit. Your company can introduce new products and services using your blog or just use it a place to write about things that deserve more than a paragraph.
Social media is one of the most useful marketing tools available today and if you aren't utilizing social media for your business, you're falling behind. Web 2.0 has abolished the old passive consumer model and opened up the ability for companies to build relationships with customers, and trust me, they have a lot to say.