How to use social media to benefit your business

Social Media is going to become the key for business survival. It is not unlikely that, in the future, social media may even become more important than a company’s website. Refusal to accept this threatens to result in failure. No matter what your company does, or what sector of business you are in, if you do not have a social media presence then you are simply ignoring an opportunity and risking your future.

Now, it’s all very well saying that social media is important for business and it is undeniable that there have been many thousands of articles published regarding it, but there are still a huge number of executives or heads of companies that just don’t get it.

Of course I understand that people need convincing, so I will give you my personal experience and highlight the way in which social media has benefitted my company. After all, if social media hadn’t been beneficial I probably wouldn’t still have the job!

I am Community Manager for a recruitment agency based in Paris, a company that had absolutely no social media presence until January this year and just a website online. This surprised me, and when I started I asked why they had not thought to implement a social media strategy sooner. The reasons are probably the same reasons as any other company: It’s too time-consuming, people want to speak to people not their computer, social media is just that, “social”, and there’s no place for it in business and don’t get me wrong there are elements of truth in each of these points. However, if you put the benefits against the negatives on a see-saw, it is only going to tip one way.

So let me tell you what I did, and how it benefitted (and continues to benefit) the company. Firstly, I set up a LinkedIn profile. Very simple to do and doesn’t take very long. After growing the connections and developing the profile etc I am now able to connect with our candidates easily and find new top quality candidates for our clients. The “Groups” section allows me to connect with people in the same field (recruitment) as well as job seekers. We are quite a specialized company, recruiting bilingual assistants and secretaries in Paris, and therefore the ability to find specific people in one place has not only made it easier to find the best people, but greatly enlarged our talent pool and therefore benefits our clients, which ultimately benefits us.

Next, I set up a Facebook page. It is fair to say that pretty much everyone is on Facebook nowadays and therefore if you want to connect with people on a large scale that’s where you need to be. Now, I personally use the Facebook page to interact with our candidates on a social level, in terms of giving them advice, starting discussions and most importantly getting feedback. I do believe that Facebook is more important for sales-oriented companies, to widen the customer base and therefore increase potential sales but even for us in the recruiting field it has been beneficial in terms of developing relationships, and social media is above all about relationships.

Our Twitter page was next on my list. I have found Twitter to be particularly useful to connect with people on global scale, people that would be very difficult to find by other means. By posting articles that interest me (and more importantly interest others) as well as promoting the company I have grown the relevant followers by using the “#”. I have also found Twitter to be useful with regard to developing partnerships with people. For example, by re-tweeting and mentioning others you can encourage a situation where they re-tweet you and therefore greatly increase the potential of people seeing what you have said. Twitter is a fantastic promotion tool for your company.

For me, these are the 3 main social media sites to get started with for a social media novice. Of course, after time, you can extend your presence to blogs, YouTube and a number of other social sites which are perhaps more specific to your company. Social media enables you to be seen. It’s free, it’s easy to use and most importantly it is where people are.

So, back to the original reasons why my company didn’t get involved with social media. Yes, at first setting up all your social sites will take a certain time investment and managing it and interacting with customers is an on-going process. However, the returns on your time should be enough to make social media interaction worthwhile.

I agree, people do want to interact with people. But if that person is 3000 miles away, isn’t it much more sensible to speak to them via your computer?

It is now recognized that customer relations are pretty much the most important thing for business, something that social media makes easily manageable.             The barriers between “social” media and business are disappearing and “social business” is upon us.

There are some things to remember though. Social media will benefit your company if:

  • You implement a strategy before acting
  • You recognize that it is not a one-way communication outlet – it is about relationships
  • You regularly use it – just because it’s there doesn’t mean people will come. You have to maintain it and update it

Remember this and you will not regret using social media for your company.

Social Media is the key for survival. Don’t get left behind.

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