Wayne Texeira Marketing Director, CFMP, AINS, AIS, API
Are you a small business owner? Do you personally use social media such Facebook®, Twitter®, LinkedIn®, Pinterest®, Yelp®, Youtube®, etc? More importantly, do you use it for business purposes?
Social media is a cost effective “tool” for business sales and marketing as a way to build or maintain a reputation and communicate with customers. While social media will continue to evolve and change, there is no going back. It's here to stay in one form or another, so you can't afford to be left standing on the sidelines.
reasons social media is important for businesses
Be part of the conversation. Consumers are constantly talking about products and services online. These discussions define how others perceive a business, so it’s important for businesses and their employees to be involved in the discussion and use what they learn to improve and grow their business. If you’re not there participating, you’re out of the loop.
Socialize with customers. Stay in touch with your customers and let them know what’s going on with your business. Advertising by itself isn't sufficient.
Build rapport with existing and potential customers. In business, networking isn’t a new concept. However, social media has created new places where interactions take place and can be highly influential given the ability to reach larger groups and even the world with a few clicks.
Develop a credible voice. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. People do business with people and companies they trust. Keep in mind the importance of authenticity and humility as you communicate because there’s nothing people dislike more than a phony or braggart.
Look into competitor activity. Social media is a great way to learn what your competitors are up to. Are they online? Are they using social media? Stay on top of what’s going on locally, nationally and globally.
Know what’s being said in social media circles about your company/brand. It’s likely that your customers, your employees and others are involved, even if you aren’t. People often share positive and negative experiences with others. Being involved lets you respond appropriately when needed and allows you to protect your brand.
If you or your business still haven’t yet made the jump into social media, here are a few tips on how to get started. Don't try to do it all at once and get overwhelmed. Set aside a few minutes each day. Social media doesn't have to be an overwhelming time commitment if you take it in small pieces.
Set up personal and business profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media sites. It’s good to claim your identity even if you’re not very active. “Help” tutorials will assist you in learning how to use them. Be sure to set your privacy settings and fill in your profile. Start with the basics and build from there.
Find people or businesses you know. “Friend”, “follow”, or “connect” to start building your network. See who is out there and start being “social”.
Get a feel for conversations. Start watching posts and listening to what’s going on to get a feel for it. Check out the profiles of businesses you patronize and topics you care about to learn what others are doing to get ideas.
Jump in. Follow etiquette. Think of conversations you have in your daily life. What’s interesting and genuine vs. boring and overbearing? It’s called “social” media, so be social…have fun with it.
Add Value. When using social media for business, be yourself, have a personality and talk like you do in “real life”. People want to know about your products and services, and what’s going on, but you don’t have to beat them over the head. Share your observations on trends or news that people might not know about.
If you haven't seen how Murphy Insurance is involved with social media, get social with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.