It’s impossible to deny the power of social media. There was a time when it was considered a niche part of the Internet, and sites rose to prominence and then fell back to obscurity quickly. Then Facebook came onto the scene, and everything changed. Social media was no longer on the margins of the Internet; it took the Internet by storm. Other sites quickly followed–Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more–and the Internet changed forever.
As a business owner, being open and adaptive to these changes is the key to success. Not only is social media a billion dollar business in its own right, but it can be used for things like online marketing and SEO to help rake in profits for any company. To do so successfully, though, it has to be approached with professionalism and care. These tips can help, regardless of industry or target demographic.
1. Utilize key times.
Did you know that studying the times when items are posted has led researchers to pinpoint certain times when things are best received by the audience? For instance, in many industries, posting at four in the afternoon on a Friday is more successful than noon on a Wednesday. Make sure that you know the optimal time for any post so that you can maximize its effectiveness.
2. Make sure that you have the perfect platform.
Different social media sites do different things well, and you need to make sure that you use the right ones for your business. For example, many people in industries involving the arts have found that Pinterest is more impactful than Facebook, seeing as how people are far more prone to search for one perfect image with the use of hashtags than to read an entire profile page. Pinterest allows for ultra-fast sharing of work over a huge audience.
3. Start small and build.
There are many social media sites out there, but having a presence on every site means that not one of them gets the attention that it deserves. Instead of focusing on everything, choose a few and really work to make them perfect before spreading out.
4. Use a professional focus.
The site is an extension of your business, not a personal space. You have to treat it as such, always using it in a professional and courteous manner, assuming that the customer is always right. On top of that, it is wise to make it an official side of your business by bringing on a social media manager who can focus on nothing but your web presence.
5. Connect with other businesses.
Your customer base is out there, but that’s not all you have. There are also plenty of other business professionals. Do not be afraid to use social media to build business partnerships from which you both can benefit.
6. Remember that everything you post is out there forever.
There is no taking a post back from the Internet. Once you post it, it’s out there for good. People will share it, take screen shots, and look it up on web histories. Even deleting a post does not mean it’s gone, not by a long shot. Make sure that everything you post is something that deserves to be out there for good.
7. It is always about relationships.
It does not get bigger than this. If you only take one thing away from these tips, make sure that you remember that social media started because of personal relationships, and it will always be about those relationships. That is how you want to connect with your customer base. This involves interaction–answering questions, holding contests, and the like–more than simply providing information. You can use social media to share with your audience, but make sure that you never neglect them and that you always focus on creating a relationship with each person.
Social media is huge. It is driving the Internet into new territory. If you want to be on the forefront of that exploration, or that change, do not hesitate to use social media to its full advantage.