In a relatively short span of time, social media has completely changed the way businesses interact with the public. In the past, information about an organisation was only unidirectional—it flowed outward from the organisation to the public. Businesses controlled how they were perceived and thus had all the leverage.
Now, sharing information by or about a business is characterised by interactive conversation rather than unidirectional information transmission. A single entity no longer has all the leverage. You cannot completely control your business’ message; you can only guide it. The best tool for guiding that message is social media.
Social media comes with a slew of general benefits, including the following:
• Endless possibilities for spreading content or ideas—word of mouth knows no bounds
• Creation of influence and buzz that traditional media simply cannot produce, for a fraction of the cost
• Opportunities to help shape the conversation, because people are probably already talking about your business on social media
• Interaction with prospects and customers, providing an opportunity to monitor the competition’s message
All social media sites come with these benefits, but not all of them are suited for the same purpose. Use the following social media sites according to what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to interact with customers.
• Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world. Think of your Facebook page as a second website. Customise your page to reflect your company’s culture. Diligently monitor your presence and respond to all comments with a professional, conversational tone.
• Twitter is best for sharing up-to-the-minute updates with your followers. Follow clients, competitors and industry insiders to stay ahead of the curve and help guide the conversation.
• LinkedIn is exclusively for professional networking. Add as many industry connections as you can to guide the best candidates to your company and establish your business as an industry front-runner.
By boosting your business’ social media presence, you will generate a buzz that provides tangible returns.