Are you keeping up?

Over the last few years social media has grown and grown, with Facebook and Twitter dominating the space. The popularity has not only grown among consumers it is slowly taking over all aspects of business life too, with marketers ensuring that social media is implemented into marketing strategies – according to recent research two thirds of companies say that social media provides tremendous opportunities for their business.

The key long term purpose of social media marketing is to build brand awareness, increase engagement with customers and suppliers and increase traffic to your website which subsequently raises the probability of converting those visitors into customers.

The social media leader

In July 2010 the number of people using Facebook reached to an almighty 500 billion users, making Facebook the clear leader of the global social networking phenomenon. According to recent research, Facebook is the second most visited website in the UK ? 1 in 6 internet pages viewed in the UK was a Facebook page. Therefore, as Facebook continues to evolve the benefits for businesses to get involved are endless. Businesses can create their own company ?page? on Facebook and customers and suppliers can share their experiences, post reviews and the company can promote special offers, news and more importantly, link back to their own website.

Tweet tweet

As of June 2010, close to 125 million people use Twitter, an online based service that lets people ? and organisations ? send frequent and short updates to their followers. Twitter is extremely valuable to organisations large and small because it is much more instant and interactive than any other online channel available.

Customer service/reputation management

Social media marketing doesn?t just provide another platform to promote your business and website, it also creates an opportunity to gauge what people are saying about your brand. Negative comments can be dealt with effectively and responded to in a quick and efficient manner which helps to generate a positive brand message and a feeling of good will to the unhappy respondent. Positive posts are also very useful for a company to see ? these can be kept for future testimonials and used to praise staff for their hard work. What?s more, social media sites can also be monitored with a variety of online tools which track what is being said about your brand and services.

Getting started

It?s important to have a clear social media strategy for your business before rushing into anything drastic. This can be done by your internal marketing department or by an external marketing/ search engine optimisation company who specialise in social media marketing. The company will create your page or profile to reflect the branding of your website, as with any form of marketing, it is essential to keep your branding consistent. Posts or tweets will then be created in conjunction with your business, however it is essential that you interact ?socially? rather than using your business profile as a sales platform ? the last thing you want to do is upset potential and existing customers.