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by: Rich Ursini

Whilst many people thought that the world of social media may merely be a fad, its importance and relevance in society today is undeniable. A day does not pass without hearing some mention of Facebook or Twitter, whether it is on the news or from a friend or colleague. In only six years the site has gained more than 500 million active users worldwide. Twitter receives on average 90 millions tweets per day. And the popularity of these sites is far from dissipating; in March 2010 Facebook overtook Google in winning top place for time spent on the website by users. However, the question remains are these sites nothing more than ‘social’, or are they a viable form of ‘business’ media?

Social Media And Your Business

A recent national survey conducted by Optus found that only 28 per cent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) are currently active in social media. In the same survey Optus found that over 50 per cent of SMBs not involved in social media believe that social networking is not appropriate for their industry. The survey highlighted that SMBs owners were ‘yet to be convinced’ that social media was worth the time and investment.go to top of bag.

Let’s cut to the chase, it would be unrealistic to say that social media marketing was right for every single business but it would also be wrong to dismiss it without proper thought. Social media is developing at an exceedingly fast pace, each week there is a new announcement or development: this week Facebook’s Zuckerberg announced a new modern messaging system, in the last month there was the big news about the partnership between Facebook and Bing that will return search results based on the Facebook “Likes” of the searcher’s friends and networks. This fast pace of development should not deter businesses from getting involved with social media, but rather view it as a challenge or adventure and get on board now whilst the majority of businesses are also still learning.

Social Media Is Not An Instant Revenue Booster

For any business it is vital to work out the return on investment when committing time, energy and money for marketing. However social media does not have a straightforward quantifiable return on investment, it is a tool that will promote your business, place it on people’s radars and build a larger client base. Thus the direct return on investment is much harder to calculate and will span a larger time period. You can however measure popularity for example by re-tweets, likes, followers and number of bookmarks. These are all indications of brand popularity that are then likely to convert to sales in the future.

Social Media Is Free Promotion For Your Brand

Social media provides your business with a platform to perform to potential customers or consumers. Your business can provide industry updates, links to relevant news articles or showcase new products, designs, releases. Whilst updates and content should not focus on selling, sharing information about sales, free coupons or more interactive challenges can work if used sparingly. For example: Are you in the area? The next ten customers who mention this update will receive a free coffee/25% discount/ etc.

Social Media Is A Relationship-Building Tool

This is a business to client relationship that does not centre around money, it is interactive and provides businesses with the opportunity to become ‘liked’ by customers or clients. You are able to increase your client base through visibility of being ‘liked’ by fellow friends, family and colleagues. Social media transforms your business into a live entity that can engage and communicate with its clients. You are able to test the market, gain feedback and engage your clients in ways much more complex than simply one-way sales or marketing.

Social Media Increases your SEO Progression

Social media link building increases your SEO rankings by creating fresh content and by building the number of links to your website. Both of these elements are valued highly by Google and are important contributors that help achieve top rankings. Search engines are increasingly giving weight to social media profiles in their rankings, search now shows the latest ‘twitter’ feeds and news articles are now being listed showing how many people ‘like’ or have shared the article.

How Will You Use Social Media In Your Business?

Social media is the future; its presence is far more than ‘social’ it pervades every aspect of our daily lives – on the news, on the T.V, on the radio, it pops up in conversations with friends, neighbours, colleagues, it is now part of work within business plans and strategies. This may appear overwhelming or daunting, but do not let this put you off: it is exciting, new and fast-paced.

If you want your business to grow and to evolve and to exhibit dynamism and innovation then embracing social media is a must. It should be viewed as simply one more component of your marketing and business strategy. Treat it like any other part of your business: with thoughtful time and planning, bestow care and attention to detail, handle responsibly and maintain focus and brand consistency in all your efforts. Social media is new and mysterious; herein lies the excitement, the opportunity to learn, and most importantly the chance be part of the social media revolution.

5 Tips To Growing Your Social Media Presence On Facebook, Twitter Engage and Respond.

Post regularly and always respond to answers or comments.

– Offer value.
Provide interesting and informative information and tips that are of interest to your clientele.

– Link Link Link.
All your social media accounts should be linked to leverage your presence on all of them, install sharing tools.

– Join discussions.
Get involved by reading and commenting on other people or companies blog in your industry, establish an online presence and reputation.

– Be creative.
Enjoy the potential of social media, experiment and play with its possibilities. If you don’t think it’s of value or interesting then don’t post it.

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