With all the talk about social media for business, there is one question we should really ask ourselves: where's the money in going social?
Do either of these scenarios seem familiar to you?
"We don’t like change, We do just fine without an online presence. Social media is for big brands and celebrities."
"We gave Twitter/Facebook a go for a few weeks because everybody's using it, but we're not sure what to do with it."
If they do, you should change something. When we talk about social media, what we really talk about is marketing: using your business personality to implement a digital profile that will help new and existing customers reach out to you. It means do what you're already doing - just do it online, too.
In my last article on Real Business I explained the difference between social networks and social activity. Social activity means implementing your offline marketing activities in social networks. They can still be used in the offline world, but they will also allow you measurable results to develop further in every aspect of your business.
These results come with the necessary question: How can social activity save the business money? This brings me back to the old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Social networks provide us with massive audiences and great platforms of communication for very responsive research and development - for free. This will save you money in phone calls, staff time, flyers, print costs, hiring marketing agencies, and more.
Try to turn your customer reviews system from quality report cards to social messages. This will save you stationary costs, add to your business profile online, and allow you to broadcast the latest comments immediately, keeping reviews up-to-date.
Think of ways you can use social processes to organise and manage customer relations, present products and services, take sales leads, and share news. All of these will help build your business profile online.
The second question you might ask yourself is: What is the real cost of not having a social presence? This is a big question, but I can answer it with two obvious points right away:
Search engines are integrating and ranking social activity more each day. Understanding the value of content is key to helping you use search engines to your advantage. The second reason - competitors - is a very simple one. If you don’t start to think about your social activity, you can bet your leading competitors are.
Gain a competitive edge by showing the world everything you have for your business; its personality, its products/services and its customer relationships.