Social media – do you or don’t you?

I’ve been working this morning creating a couple of new social media pages for the businesswomen’s network that I Chair: Women Ahead.

Have a look at the twitter page @womenaheadgroup and join the Women Ahead facebook page

I am finding more and more when I am advising my clients on their marketing strategy that people are still very unclear on how or why they should use social media. I always say that using social media MUST be done as part of your overall strategy – after all its just another piece of your marketing toolkit.

So first of all, what are some of the options?

These are just some of the sites which will appeal to a large cross-section of people who are active in social media. There are others which can be of specific interest, depending on your business & customer type.

The other consideration is of course your time – you need to be putting in a little bit of regular time to keep the communication going, otherwise your ‘connections’ will lose interest and all the hard work you put into attracting them will be lost.

Here are a few examples of how businesses can use social media to reach audiences.

If you are a customer facing business like a hairdresser, using a Facebook page & Twitter to tell people in your local area about any offers you have on, or new products that they can try, should work well. You should also be sending out hints and tips to showcase your expertise and give a bit of extra added value to those people who connect with you. You can also use competitions to encourage people to become connected and recommend your page to their friends.

If you are a photographer, having a Flickr photostream lets you display your shots, tell people what projects you have been working on, and link to your website to raise your profile.

YouTube is a good way to either give people an insight into you and your service, by recording a short video telling them what you do, or to show your premises, highlight an event you ran etc. Again, linking to your website will drive inbound traffic, and will improve your Google rankings. And you can publicise the video via other pages like facebook and twitter too.

LinkedIn is an online network mostly used by people in business to allow them to connect to business contacts, take part in group discussions and ask for online recommendations of their product or service by their peers. It is also used for recruitment. I recommend LinkedIn for firms who are selling a product or service to other businesses – its less relevant for consumer facing targetting.

The social media arena is a bit like shifting sand, as the popularity of sites rises and falls – for example, Bebo.com, which was heavily used by a younger audience and has now been left behind as people shift to Facebook.

Not so long ago, it was unusual for businesses to have much of a website, now you need not only a good website, but you should be using social media to interact and have conversations with your audiences. You need to take the news about your products and services out to people – your competitors will definitely be doing it!

I run several pages for my clients, who find that this is the best way to tackle social media – its easy for me to do it. Their audiences aren’t aware of any difference, and the business owner can get on with what they do best – delivering their product or service.

If you are interested in finding out more about how I can help your business communicate through social media, or want some help to get the ball rolling, get in touch!

Have a good week,

Alison x

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