How Social Media Has Changed Communication
The way people interact and communicate has changed over the years. We've seen social media take over and people connect in a whole new way. Networking has literally taken on a new meaning. Companies and people have become much more visible. We now have access to CEOs and hiring managers, we search for jobs online, we shop online and we even acquire more "friends" online.
Still, today, people are reluctant to use social media. There is a fear of total transparency as well as a misunderstanding on how to use it. Even though these concerns are warranted, social media offers the opportunity to reach viewers in a completely different way.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are some of the most popular sites out there, growing each day. They provide an optimal way to connect with viewers and potential buyers. All these tools are available to grow your business, you just need to tap into their capabilities.
It seems like a lot and some may not know where to start, so how do you keep up and utilize all these social media channels?
Know Your Audience
First, answer the question "who is the target audience?" You have to make sure your message is being received and heard. If you sell furniture but are posting ads in travel groups on LinkedIn, chances are your discussions are being ignored. Make sure you are joining appropriate groups on LinkedIn and providing relevant content to your customers.
Join the Conversation
Building rapport in the real world is just as important as building rapport in the cyber world. People buy from who they like. If potential customers feel like they are being "pitched" or "sold" on a service it is very likely you will not be able to close them. Don't just blast ads out, make sure you are actually engaging your audience. A few ways to do so are to encourage discussions. Ask a question, promote a contest with a prize, offer a "limited-time only special" that is unique to those who 'follow' you on Twitter or 'like' you on Facebook. You not only make your consumers feel unique but you in return build brand awareness and credibility.
Social media platforms allow you to have your ear to the ground. Listen to what the community is saying about you. Is it positive, is it negative, is it something they would like to see more of from you? In essence, you are actually a fly on the wall obtaining useful information about how your customers are responding to you. See it as positive feedback and a way to improve upon your business and message.
Remember social media platforms are another way to connect within a virtual community. You need to be consistent. Don't only tweet once a month or post a discussion and never follow up. Just like in an everyday conversation, people expect consistency. You are building trust and credibility so make sure you are proactive in your efforts.
No longer do traditional marketing strategies rule the air. Your social media channels provide you the opportunity to connect with potential buyers on a human level. Your Facebook page may display some company culture by having photo albums of events your company has participated in or your Pinterest account may offer visual descriptions about your company and its services. You can even share your own professional insights in a blog or discussion. The more creative, the better.
Social media has caused us to rethink how we communicate and in effect change the way we engage our audiences. Don't be afraid to embrace social media. It's important to be proactive but remember a little can go a long way. Make sure you are providing valuable content and not just blasting ads for the sake of it. Remember to join conversation but to also listen. It may seem overwhelming but don't be afraid to get out there and be social!