Celebrating social media

Written by Monica McInnes.

Happy World Social Media Day!!

Yes, can you believe it? There is a day set aside each year to celebrate the social media machine!

But should it really be celebrated? Sure, it has certainly helped rekindle relationships, help stay in touch with distant relatives, a place to share stories, opinions and happy snaps, but does social media actually help businesses grow?

Social media is certainly a powerful tool to stay connected socially. And, businesses are also getting involved with social media. Setting up a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest all seem par for the cause when building your online presence. It is a fabulous way for businesses to stay connected with current client and connect with potential clients. You can also connect with your suppliers, see what your competitors are up to and keep up to date with all the local community news.

Connecting with all these people and groups is a terrific extension of your customer service and identity of your business, but your presence on social media should aim to create connections that matter.

Businesses using social media should have creating connections that matter at the forefront of their social media strategy. Here is a Top 5 list of what all businesses should think about when developing their very own social media strategy:

1. Go for quality not quantity
Having hundreds of likers or followers doesn't mean they are all customers or even potential customers. It is far more advantageous to have genuine likers or followers. This comes with time and will grow organically the more your post and engage online.

2. Give people something for nothing
Your social media outlets can be used as an extension of your business. Share your knowledge online and expect nothing in return. Eventually people will learn about your business and see how you can help them. And, the more valuable your knowledge sharing the more likely your likers or follows will share with their network, and this is invaluable to your business on social media.

3. Be social
When people are on social media they are looking for social and interesting things to view and engage with. Generally people don't like to be bombarded with messages about how fabulous your business is and all the benefits of your products. Instead, share your social moments. A team morning tea, your support of a local sporting team, at a local charity event, the team participating in a fundraiser. All of these fun social things can really help lift your business profile and a business that cares.

4. You don't need to be everywhere
You don't need to have every social media account to be successful. The trick is to really understand your customers. Know where they are online and that's where you should be! If your main target market is men, they are unlikely to be on Pinterest for example. You should also get to know what all the social media outlets are all about and how they work. Twitter is for short micro-blogging of only 160 characters or less per tweet, but on Facebook you have the ability to write as much as like. Instagram is for photo sharing and LinkedIn is a professional and career social media outlet.

5. Be engaging
So you are posting regularly on your social media accounts, sharing photos, links to interesting videos and other online content, but are you also engaging with your likers and followers and other businesses in your community? By engaging with your online community you are being involved and creating relationships and connections with these people and businesses. Over time this can prove invaluable for your business.

So, in light of all this, social media does have a place in any business marketing strategy. If used properly it can harness great results for a business. And, at the very least it is a place for you to say "Happy World Social Media Day" each year.

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