I had a really fun conversation with a client yesterday. He runs a successful telecom agency and we have been working with his company for six months or so on various marketing initiatives. When we were first contracted, we naturally discussed social media, but at the time, he did not see the value.
So the conversation yesterday went like this: "Angela, I didn't think our customers and prospects were using social media, but they ARE. And I thought social media was just for touring yourself, but it's NOT. It's all about building relationships. And it's about reaching them in whatever medium they are most comfortable using. I finally GET IT!"
I smiled and congratulated him, welcoming him to the "dark side" of people and companies who are starting to "get it" when it comes to social media for businesses.
We frequently hear statements like, "social media is for personal use, not for businesses," or "that only works for consumer brands, like Coke or McDonald's." But the truth is more and more businesses are not only using social media, but finding tremendous value in using it. Here are a few reasons why:
Reason #1: You can meet them where they are – Your customers and prospects are already "hanging out" on social media. You don't have to distract them from what they're doing to pay attention to you, like other forms of "interruption" marketing. It's like they're already in the pool having a great time, and you're just jumping in to join them.
Reason #2: Interaction is supercharged - Gone are the days of the nameless, faceless corporation. People are craving more intimate interactions with brands, and social media gives you the perfect opportunity to offer that to your customers and prospects.
Reason #3: SEO rankings will soon be dominated by social media - Google is constantly changing its algorithm for how rankings are determined, and the word is out, social WILL become increasingly important. That means that companies to jump on social media now will have better rankings on keywords as this shift occurs, while those who ignore it will suffer with lower rankings.
Reason #4: Your customers are already talking about you - People use social media to talk about what they are doing and how they feel about it. And chances are, they are talking about your brand or will be very soon. When you're an active participant on social media, you can respond to and guide the conversations about your brand. This becomes most critical when someone becomes upset with your company and chooses to "vent" via social media. Your quick and appropriate response can prevent a small leak from turning into a waterfall.
Reason #5: You cast a wider net and establish yourself as a thought leader - By sharing blog posts, industry news and other tidbits, you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Stay consistent and over time people will associate your brand with whatever your specialty is. Word of caution here: DO NOT talk about your company all the time, but DO talk about your advancements in your industry. When it comes time for your friends and followers to buy, they will naturally think of you first.
If you're one of those who has watched the social media party from a distance, it's definitely time to jump in the pool. Can you think of any other compelling reasons businesses should jump on the social media bandwagon? Please share in the comments below.