Making social media networking business-friendly

These “friends” and contacts may very well vouch for your services down the road and it’s no secret people have a tendency to choose their friends’ recommendations over their own findings.

Keep in mind that social media is not a broadcasting channel where you have one-way conversations, just to let people know what’s on your mind or what’s important. Make it a two-way process; you’ll definitely make real friends along the way.

Irrespective of the type of business you’re in, it’s likely many prospective customers are actively networking on social media and even buying online. Two-way online communication is a great way of making connections fast, and spanning out to prospective buyers on a much wider scale.

To make the most of social media, consider these for a moment:

  • Determine the kind of social media platform your intended customers prefer using – business networking sites like SunZu and LinkedIn are really conducive to building long-term business relationships. Don’t discount other well-known social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You may very well find a solid customer base there;
  • Search engines and search functions work wonders within social media, when you want to zero-in on particular business people, prospective customers or their social media profiles;
  • Look into how your target audience is using social media – whether it’s making contacts, staying up to speed with industry developments or researching products and services. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you know where to begin;
  • Create a profile that complements who you are and what you offer. Remember to add a link to your website; 
  • People trying to find you shouldn’t be a chore – say, when you post in forums or comment on blogs, always include a web link, your blog, social media profiles etc; and
  • It’s a good idea to keep your profile fully up-to-date. Make it regular practice to determine where you target customers “congregate” online.
Businesses using social media to connect with their customers has grown considerably in popularity in recent years. Most successful businesses now engage with their audience through at least one social media platform and those businesses that fail to implement social media into their business plan may be at risk of seeming out of touch with their customers. 

Whilst social media is an important part of business, it is also essential to recognise that it is simply a tool to help engage with your customers and therefore should not distract from your overall business strategy.

Raj Dhonota is a serial entrepreneur and investor in start-up businesses.

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