Social media has become interwoven in the fabric of our lives. It’s no longer simply a way we communicate; it’s becoming the way we communicate.
In just over a decade, social media has completely and forever altered the way we communicate, acquire news and information, make purchasing decisions, and interact with the world. It has changed the way in which brands market themselves and conduct business.
In fact, social media is completely inextricable from the online landscape, and practically every single person you have ever known in your life is reachable with a single click of a button. Think about it!
- Social media users now account for two-thirds of all global Internet users.
- There are 2.3 billion active users on social media platforms – that’s 31% of the entire world’s population.
- The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28% of the total time spent on the Internet.
Millennials use social media extensively. The Gen-Zers use it for a mind-boggling 9 hours a day! Mobile devices and the mentality of being constantly connected serve to further enhance this trend.
Despite the evolution and these staggering stats however, smaller brands and businesses still don’t see the value in investing in their social media presence or spending money on social media advertising. Social media is not a novel accessory. It must be embraced as an essential component of an integrated digital marketing strategy to succeed in today’s marketplace. For those who are still pondering over the “why” of social media, here’s a quick reminder as to what can be achieved when using social media for business.
Attach No Strings
Social media is the perfect platform to share tips, facts, resources and your own expertise in a format that will provide value to others. And the best part is you get to share this information, and build new relationships, with no strings attached. If you genuinely want to help others and enhance your credibility at the same time, offer value-added information to your readers, followers and connections that don’t include a link to a product or service.
Break through Boundaries
Many businesses rely on local traffic, or the physical presence of customers to make sales and succeed. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar business or an online entrepreneur, social media helps erase the boundaries of community and borders. If your products or services are something that can be offered or provided online, then the world becomes your potential customer base, and social media helps connect you with them.
Educate and Upgrade
Long gone are the days of enrolling in a class and losing an entire day of work in order to gain knowledge and education that will help grow your business. Today’s online world offers up a plethora of online learning, classes, courses and eBooks that allow education and growth within a few keystrokes. The Internet affords business professionals all over the world the luxury of learning at your desk. More education and skills make you a better leader and teacher for those around you. With educational programs being promoted through social media and often conducted on online platforms, it’s easier than ever to keep up-to-date with our skills and business education.
Connect with Peers
It’s easier than ever to connect with like-minded business owners thanks to social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Competition is a healthy thing, and like it or not, many of us could learn a thing or two from our business peers and direct competitors. Social media allows growing businesses to observe other businesses and learn what works for them, and what doesn’t.
Embrace the Visual
Now that you’ve found them, you need to attract them. Brand your accounts clearly – you’re fighting to get noticed among millions, so to avoid getting lost in the abyss you need to stand out. Use appealing header images and profile photos, and write an informative and engaging bio that not only explains who you are and what you do, but also gives an idea of what they can expect from your channel. Three of the “newest” social networks, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, are based entirely on images. So why aren’t you leveraging the visual when promoting your content? Create not only a branded “featured image” to share with your post, but also create separate images for each of the main points in your content so they can be shared when you repeatedly post them to social media.
The important giveaway about social media is that there are many tools out there today – blogging, Twitter, Wikis, smart media releases, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name just a few. You don’t have to utilize them all – start small, keep going and you won’t be left behind.
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media