WHAT HAS SOCIAL MEDIA DONE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

by helen on February 3, 2011

You’re not using social media yet? Why not? You don’t think it could boost your sales? You don’t know how to use it?

Lots of people are talking to me about social media. They are watching from the sidelines, wanting to join in, but not sure how to get on the team.

Business owners are hearing that if they don’t enhance their online presence, they will be left behind, and what’s worse, out of business in a matter of years.

But many Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn virgins just don’t see the point of social media marketing.

After all, how can using social media boost your sales?

Well, it can’t in the short term.

What it can do is drive people to your website, increase awareness of your business and its products/services, encourage brand loyalty, and create advocates for your company.

It can help companies find people who are interested in what they are selling, so they can connect with them and cultivate a relationship.

And everyone knows it’s easier to sell to someone if they know, like and trust you, don’t they? ;-)

Engaging with customers using social media will make your other marketing activities more effective. And it will encourage your customers to recommend you.

Here’s how social media activity has helped a business – mine!

Blogging

As a freelance PR consultant I didn’t have a website until last year, when I decided I needed to raise my profile and get my name “out there”. I invested in a logo and a WordPress blog. I now have a simple website where people can find out more about me and my services, and read testimonials from clients. Most importantly, I can provide visitors with interesting and helpful information (like this!) to build our relationship, by making it easier for them to know, like and trust me – even before we meet!

Since it went live at the end of October 2010, I have written 15 posts and received 11 comments from visitors (yes, people are reading my blog and are sufficiently engaged to leave comments!). My blog has been viewed 272 times, with 31 views on my busiest day, 20 January 2011 – this coincided with a post about writing a Twitter bio to attract the right followers.

I can tell where my visitors are coming from (search engines, Twitter, Linked In etc) and where they live (some in the US and Brazil!), how long they stay, and which pages they read the most. All useful stats to help me develop content and activity in the future.

Twitter

I love Twitter! I use it to monitor conversations and follow people I can learn from or help. It’s a sort of chatroom and door opener! I do a lot of listening, and a bit of engaging – I have found some amazing people and had online conversations with them. I am also building my followers manually – I want to build a community of people who I am interested in, and who are interested in me. It’s time consuming, but I think people expect and want a personal touch, rather than automated messages.

The key to using Twitter effectively is building an engaged community – quality rather than quantity counts.

My aim is to populate my community with people I can learn from – improve my PR and social media marketing knowledge and skills, improve my business knowledge and skills, improve my knowledge of business issues in Yorkshire – and ultimately, people who I can help.

As a direct result of following Yorkshire tweeters, I have been invited by a group of web and graphic designers to give a talk on promoting a business using social media. I know this would not have happened without Twitter.

On a personal level, I have reconnected with a former work colleague – a nice surprise – and found a fantastic fitness coach who is motivating me to adopt a healthier lifestyle (thanks @Creating-Chaos).

LinkedIn

My Linked In profile (check out the link to the right) is working hard for me – it’s amazing what a bit of tweaking can do. I joined LinkedIn a while ago, probably like many other people, but hadn’t bothered to complete all the stages eg photo, recommendations, connections (checked to make sure I was connected to everyone in my email address book), description of what I can do etc.

As a result of improvements to my profile – and a new company page – I have had face-to-face meetings with several people I met online, and enquiries from companies keen to make use of my professional services to enhance their own offering.

I currently have 79 connections, linking me to 730,843+ professionals – how’s that for a database! In just one day, my LinkedIn network grew by 1,085 people – without me even doing anything!

As for boosting sales? Money hasn’t changed hands yet, but in terms of leads, I have received enquiries from agencies, companies and organisations interested in how I can help them. I didn’t ring them to offer my services, they contacted me – as a result of my improved profile and reputation.

Still not convinced? Here’s a great case study about how B2B brand Powwownow, a conference call company, made the most of social media. It’s from the social media knowledge bank at B2B marketing online (www.b2bm.biz) – and there’s plenty more where this one came from!

Ready to get started now? Watch out for my next post on taking your first steps. Can’t wait that long? Give me a ring on 07870 213974 and I’ll email it to you today!

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