Why Social Media? What on earth is this social media generation going on about? Glued to their smartphones, talking about tweeting, liking and gramming. And what is still social about sitting on a table opposite your friend and checking your notifications? If you are unsure if you should join the league of social media devotees, this post is for you. And if you indeed want to jump on board, let me give you a short introduction into the main channels and how to rock them! I have created a special series showing you how and some insider tips. Read on or scroll down to sign up and get it for free!
But first things first, what is the point of social media? Why Social Media? It is true that our obsession with the internet has decreased our everyday interaction and sociability, which doesn’t mean that we have become antisocial. Just look at how well you are now connected to people across the world! Without facebook I would have lost touch with all the amazing people I met during my study exchange long ago. Twitter has introduced me to so many amazing people that send me great advice all the way from New York City or Cape Town. With instagram I can share my latest travel photos with my family without having to bore them with endless gallery posts.
Ok, but why is it for you? Here’s a test. Which can you say yes to?
- I love meeting new people.
- I love sharing and hearing stories that I am passionate about.
- I want to market myself or sell a product (be it privately or as a business).
- I love wasting time and am a major procrastinator.
- I want to stay on top of things.
- I want to get freebies/a job/vouchers/… information in general
- I want to be inspired.
- I am curious.
If you agree with at least one of these, then social media is for you. That, however, doesn’t mean that you should or need to get active on each and every channel. Each is different and doesn’t necessarily suit your needs or personality. And depending on how you want to make it work for you, you can get into detail with analysing the engagement, clicks and traffic. But you can also opt to use it with the primary goal in mind: being social and staying in touch. So here are great benefits of social media to get you started:
This one is unbeatable. Join up to any social media channel and that’s it. You are good to go. No sign up fees. There are rules of web conduct, such as you shouldn’t abuse anyone, troll, post pornographic or violent content, etc… but that goes without saying. Absolutely anyone can start an account. There are only a few rules here. With facebook you should only sign up as yourself, including your full name and photo and not do it for your cat, for instance, otherwise you could get deleted. But I say, if your cat can’t open her own account, don’t do it for the lazy bum!
You get to talk to your target audience directly.
This is interaction as it should be, not through sample analysis of what the ‘customer’ wants but by asking them head-on. Knowing there are actual people that care and answer improves customer-business communication incredibly and this way you get honest feedback, which you might otherwise miss out on. Who wants to talk to an answering machine or wait in line? Just put yourself in the shoes of your customer. It’s called customer service. Also, it hows appreciation and that is always welcomed.
Not only are you approachable, you are immediately approachable, which gives you the chance to shine. You reply within the same day or even the hour? People will love you for it! They become much more open, feel more confident about sharing their thoughts and if they like you, are more willing to talk about you and share your content. And that is what you should strive for. Also, you can get real-time feedback and have no delays. A delivery has a missing piece? No problem, will send you the part right away. This deserves a like!
Find and be Found by New Customers
Ever heard of the snowball principle or virality? On social media you get the chance to connect with millions of people and even though only a few hundred might follow you, it doesn’t mean that those are the only people you will reach. On the contrary, the connections of your followers see what they do and so do you. This way you learn more about them and you reach more people than you imagined! Also, new people will find you without you knowing they would be interested in you. This way you can not only actively increase your reach but also organically grow it. Content is king and if you deliver, people will seek you out. Be on social media to put yourself out there to be found.
Stay Competitive and Gain an Edge
It is very unlikely that your competition is not on at least on one social media platform. So if you are not following suit, you are already behind. Of course, that shouldn’t entail you copying their strategy. If you pick the platform that you feel comfortable with or that matches your customer profile, you already have taken the first step. The main secret with social media is this: be unique, be interesting and live your brand! In other words, don’t be stuffy or boring. The people out there are not looking for a broadcaster. Interact, ask questions, share other people’s comments and ideas if they are in line with your ideals and message. Be authentic!
Tailor better to audience and find our their preferences
So you’ve just found out your audience also likes to listen to heavy metal? That might be surprising but can you not find a shared passion in that? It doesn’t mean that you now post the latest festival pictures and show off your epic e guitar skills. Maybe share some lyrics that rock and that match your product. Or just don’t post cutesy and pink things. But be sure to also spice it up every now and then. Some ardently believe in cat videos. Whatever it is, check out your individual stats and try to make sense of your follower’s behaviour. Adapt your strategy accordingly if you are serious about doing business online, but never let go of your essence. After all, that’s why people follower you in the first place.
No need to create an ad, contact a newspaper and have it published as soon as was possible. In this day and age of social media, al lyou need is internet an electronic device and a working finger. Hit send and you are good. The thought process stays the same, don’t just post randomly, be consistent, valuable and interesting. At the same time that it makes it easier for you to get word out there, it makes it so much harder as well. If you can do it, so can everyone else. This means you have to stay on top of this landslide of information and make sure to be seen and remain relevant. Speed is of essence.
Develop Real Fans and Relationships
The people you meet on social media are real people. (Yes, even the trolls, but never mind them.) If you keep on interacting with your followers in that way, they will see the personality behind the brand and connect in a whole new different way. Brand with a “face” or even specific person as a contact person suddenly appear much more ‘human’ and likeable. And that’s what you want to be actually liked and not collect likes. This is not a silly show off, this is real life networking. Creating ties with people that matter to you and to whom you matter as well. Make it count!
I could go on and on but essentially this is what you will get from social media: real contact, real insights and all this in real time. You can chat with people in New York all the way from Sydney, see what topics are on people’s minds at the moment and become more visible. What of this would be the most important incentive in participating on social media? Are you already on it?