I recently attended an event that addressed different topics of social media (new media) for business. The event was hosted by a media publisher, and attendees ranged from entrepreneurs from different industries and marketing companies, to large well established businesses.
It was clear from the crowd’s questions, and from speaking to people at my table that everyone engaged social media at a different levels. Although almost everyone personally used atleast one social media platform, the majority of guests were still unsure how this phenomenon could be applied to their business. Two recurring questions were:
– How to use social media to make money?
– How can it be used without taking up too much time and cutting into productivity?
I’d like to offer a few tips and considerations on how to use social media for business:
1) Have a strategy: Just as any other type of marketing, in order for your efforts to work, you must have a clear notion of what you want to achieve: branding? communication with existing clients? generate new business?
2) Choose a combination of platforms that are preferred by your target market, and can facilitate your goals. Review statistics regularly to measure effectiveness of each platform and of your strategy.
3) Use one tone. Unless you are yourself the brand being promoted, it is best to keep the company’s voice separate from your personal voice. Decide what kind of a tone you wish to use and stick to it throughout your posts.
4) Know your clients. It is important to know your clients. Not all companies target markets that are equally knowldgeable of social media platforms. If your audience is younger, your strategy must be able to engage an audience that keeps up and invents new media. If your audience does not fit the cutting-edge criteria, your strategy must be friendly to the user you aim to attract.
5) Acknowledge its importance as well as its limitations. Social media is now as basic as having a website. Businesses need to accept its importance. However, one must have a balanced and comprehensive approach to a marketing strategy. It is unlikely that social media on its own is going to fulfill the needs of any one company. You have to put yourself in the line of vision of your target market- wherever it chooses to look. More often than not, this means taking your company’s message to a combination of outlets.
In conclusion, you can make money from social media, but it depends on the strategy you implement according to the results you expect. That is, you won’t generate business just by setting up a facebook page… but you can certainly make it work to your benefit once you set out a clear plan of action.
On the other hand, in order to keep control of social media so it doesn’t take over your life, be sure to choose a specific combination of social media that will work for your goals and be appreciated by your market. Also, choose a tone and message that you will implement as consistently as possible.