There was a time when there was no social media. And people survived! I mean, its more like a question, how did we survive?
In fact, it is not that long ago that we didn’t even have computers? Really?
Can you believe that? By the way, when was the first computer invented?
According to this site, the first really functional modern computer came into existence somewhere between 1936 & 1938. And we really have come a long way in such a short duration of time.
It has impacted people’s lives in so many ways, that it is nothing short of a paradigm shift.
Look at the ways people used to communicate in much earlier times. People would send messengers and it would take many days for the message to be sent depending on the distance. Then consider the time it would take for the reply to be sent back!
Some people also used (messenger pigeons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_post) to send messages over long distances. The homing pigeons have the ability to find and travel back to their home over very long distances. Usually people would carry the pigeon with them when they travelled. When they needed to send a message back home, they would attach the message to the pigeon and let it go.
Then there was the postal service. Which was of course a lot more efficient then the messenger pigeons. Then there was the Telegraph, the Telephone, the Radio. And all those inventions that revolutionized the way we communicate.
The Internet Came Into Being
Then towards the start of 1940s the first of the super computers began to take shape. I wonder if anyone realized at that point of time, how this invention would revolutionize our entire lives and its surrounding.
Scientists and engineers began to look for ways to connect the computers together. With rapid technological progress, the size of the computers became smaller and their prices fell considerably. Thus, making it portable, and available at a cheaper price to the general public at large.
The ability of computers to connect with each other gave rise to what we call the internet today.
Fast forward a couple of decades. And now it answers your questions, it entertains you, it allows you to communicate with your loved ones instantly. You can use emails, images, voice, and video to make the communication more meaningful.
The internet also gave rise to something more powerful, the social media.
Which lets you interact and stay in touch with friends & family like you never could before.
Rise of social media
Social media are digital platforms where you can register and be a part of a global community. Social media sites began to come into existence from the early 2000s. I would call the rise of Social Media a natural outcome of the advances made in the field of the internet and its allied technologies.
Humans are social animals and they like to communicate and stay in touch with friends and families. Internet provided the perfect environment for this idea to flourish.
(LinkedIn linkedin.com) started to gain prominence towards the start of this century. It is a platform for working professionals. One can create an account on the site and get endorsed by other co-works & friends. It gives legitimacy to your knowledge and skill sets. It also helps potential employers to find you, giving you global exposure & opportunity.
You can reach out to other professionals on the platform to connect with them. And they
can reach out to you in a similar fashion. The more meaningful connections you have, the more potential opportunities that may knock on your door.
Facebook & Twitter came soon after, followed by YouTube.
There are so many social networking sites today that it is difficult to count them all on your fingertips. Some have more users than others.
Facebook is undoubtedly the number one social media platform out there with over 2 billion active registered users as of 2017. Closely followed by YouTube, Instagram & Twitter.
Their growth over the years have proved beyond doubt that they are here to stay. And they are here for good.
What It Means To Your Business
Business would flock where their potential customers are. And, why shouldn’t they? It is the perfect platform to find new customers and to stay connected with your existing ones.
Businesses should use it to listen to what their customers are saying. What their needs are. And what their feedback are. It would help them to improve their services and adjust their products and offerings.
Since most social media have so many active users, it makes sense to create a business account on as many as possible.
Of course, just creating a business profile doesn’t do much. You must make your presence felt. And that involves posting regularly. You can post business updates, company news, articles that you publish to your company site blog.
Blogging is another important aspect to attracting potential customers to your business. Read my article here on why you should blog regularly.
Blogging For Business: Generate Long Lasting Traffic & Sales
Make your social profile presentable
And of course, when your potential customers are viewing your business profile, it is important to maintain a professional appearance. Like using professionally taken photographs for the cover shot and profile pic.
You want to come across as a professional company. If you are doing personal branding, it becomes all the more important.
You want to differentiate yourself from the competition. Therefore, make sure that you have a profile picture and header image that represents you & your business. If you have an incomplete profile it would be less likely that people would follow you.
So, first step, once you have created your account, is to make it presentable.
How Your Business Can Use Social Media to its Advantage
Ok. Let’s discuss a few of the ways your business can leverage social media to its advantage.
Provide Legitimacy to Your Business Entity
Today we live in a globally connected world. Internet has no physical boundaries and this has helped businesses easily reach customers from all over the world.
If I talk about our business, I must tell you that most of our clients are from overseas. So, it is true that we work globally. We have leveraged the power of the internet and invested in Inbound marketing over the years. This has helped potential customers find us on the internet.
Once they do, many of them research us on the internet and try to find out as much as they can about us.
At this stage, if you don’t have a social media presence validating your presence, your customers may decide against working with you.
On the contrary, if your business exists on most of the social media profiles. And you have a reasonable number of people following your business page. Its provides social proof and gives them a reason to trust you. This article on HubSpot has nice examples of what I mean by social proof.
This is most important today than it ever was before. As I stated above, internet and social media has the potential to connect businesses & people from across the globe. And when they do, especially when they are thousands of miles apart separated by physical borders, it is your trustworthiness that would decide whether you work together or not.
And how do you create trust? By showing social proof of your existence & legitimacy.
Provide Support On Social Media
Many businesses use Twitter to provide support to their existing customers. One can simply tweet to the business twitter handle with their query or concern. And the customer service can quickly respond to such requests making your business super accessible and social media friendly.
Here is an article on SocialMediaExmainer explaining how the process can be streamlined for providing better customer support on Twitter.
Other platforms can also be used in a similar way to make connecting with your business easier for the customer.
A Pool of Potential Audience Ready to Buy
For businesses, it means a ready audience that it can market to. It is a vast pool of customers ready to be tapped into.
People have needs and business provide them with solutions, products & services. So whatever it is you are offering, there are people in need of what you offer. It is only a matter of getting connected with the right audience. Though it is easier said than done.
Traditional marketing has always meant paying to reach out to the user base. The same technique can be used here also. A business can advertise on any social media to quickly reach its targeted audience. You can quickly setup a campaign on Facebook or Twitter and reach a global audience that you seek.
You can fine tune demographics, age groups, their interest, profession, income bracket etc. to target your advertisements to a potential customer base that is just the right fit for your products & services. That way, they are more likely to buy and you will get a more higher return on investment.
Paying for Exposure is Not Always the Best Option
While paying lets you quickly get in front of your audience, but it may not always be the best option for you. Most social media platforms let you create Business pages & Public figure profiles. If you create interesting content, you can amass a big following in the long run.
So, when you share a status update or post, many of your followers would be able to see it. It helps your audience stay connected with your brand. This could be a better alternative as you build up an audience that is actually interested in what you have to offer.
Why You Should Never Buy Followers
The more following a business or a brand has, the more eyeballs it can get on its status updates & posts. This prompts many to advertise their page so more potential customers can discover and connect with them.
This, in my opinion, is usually a bad move. Because even though more people will find you and connect with you. But not all of them will be interested in your offerings. This leaves you with little to no engagement at all.
So, in general you will notice that followers who connected with your business through a paid advertisement campaign are generally not interested in your business. So, there is no long-term benefit from those followers.
They are more like vanity numbers, and are useless really.
Moreover, social media platforms like Facebook will only show your social media updates to about 16% of your social followers only.
See this Facebook thread, the user poses the question, why his page posts are not showing up on fans timeline?
Facebook help team says, it is because of the page post’s decline in the organic search. The argument is because so much user content is being generated, your content will have to fight with others content for visibility.
To keep a better user experience for the end user, they only want to show your content to users that interact with your page intensively.
I actually think the logic is quite flawed, because why be the judge? Show the post to the user and then let them decide whether they like the post or not. If they don’t like the page’s post any more, then can always unlike to stop receiving updates.
Facebook wants you to boost your posts so that it reaches all fans. It all about generating more money & revenue.
So, if you paid to acquire all the fan following. It has been a total waste. Better option would be to create engaging content and let real followers gravitate to your page. They will engage with your page on a higher level. And therefore, more chances that Facebook with show your posts to them.
Build Up a Global audience
Building up a dedicated fan following on any social media is not a child’s play. One needs great dedication and hard work. But the rewards make it all worthwhile.
Social media marketing only works when you have a dedicated fan following. To build up your audience you need certain strategies in place.
A few strategies that works wonders are consistency, & original content.
Being consistent is perhaps the single most important factor in your endeavour to amass a great fan following. If you can keep up with posting regularly, then it is just a matter of time when you build up an engaging audience for yourself.
But creating original content that your followers are interested in will speed your success rate.
Research what your users are most interested in, and create content tailored to your target audience.
The number of social media users are rising each day. Social media is big and it will grow bigger by the day. If you are ignoring social media and not utilizing it to your advantage, then your business is surely missing out.
If you do not have enough resources to manage multiple social media accounts. Then find out where your potential customers are spending their time. Decide on a single or a couple of platforms that you can manage efficiently, and then stay consistent with it.
Suppose you decide you are going to work with videos. Then YouTube would be a great platform to start building your audience on. Create videos as often as you can and stay consistent.
Not only can you direct customers to your website for sales from within your videos. But you can also monetize your videos and get direct payment for views. And that incredible.
The strategy stays more or less the same with all social platforms.
So go ahead and start up your audience building process from today itself. The sooner you start the better.
Let me know what you thought of the article. I look forward to your suggestions, input and feedback in the comments below.