What is Social Media?
Social media can be defined as a vast array of virtual communities, where members network and share amongst one another. Each individual social media site serves as a personal information exchange, where networked users create and digest information that they find interesting. The “social” nature of social media as conduits to connect and share in a timely and relevant way has made them an area where many now spend the majority of their online time.
Now, why should we consider a social media strategy for our business?
You’re pressed for time, and while you’re aware of the ever-increasing popularity of social media, you do not see an immediate value in having your small business posting on these channels.
Here are a few reasons why you should reconsider:
1. 60% of the Customer’s Buying process is often completed before you actually speak with them:
A recent study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed on average more than 60% of a typical purchasing decision (researching solutions, ranking options etc.) before having one conversation with a supplier. In this environment, you need to have a presence that will legitimize your business prior to the Customer engaging you (or responding to your engagement).
An active social media strategy is one of the strongest assets at your disposal in this regard. This is because the Internet has become the first place we go to find about more about something we are interested in. If you have successfully leveraged social media platforms to create content relevant to your product or service offering, this content is likely one of the first things someone interested in your firm will discover. This is important because ultimately, people do business with the company that knows what it is doing and can prove it.
Acting as a thought leader by remaining active on social media is one of the easiest ways to display your business’ value-add to potential customers/clients. Your content on social media acts as proof-positive of your expertise, and is therefore a way make people comfortable to approach your business; which is an opportunity that should be embraced. If 60% of a purchasing decision is made before an in-person conversation is even started, providing all the evidence your customer needs through an active social media presence makes bottom-line sense.
2. It allows you to learn about your Customers
Toronto area sales consulting firmHow customers act on social media is almost as important as how we as a business act. This is because social media allows insights into customers or potential customers in a way not possible —or, at the very least, not as easily accomplished— without an open forum to ask, answer, express or share thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
Customers require a value-add from the time they contact suppliers. In order to provide them with this value, you need to understand their vision, values and challenges as a business. A strong social network will allow you to do the proper research and education in advance of that critical first point of contact. Social media allows us to seek out, or be sought by, relevant consumers based on what we need our business fulfills. For example, communities appear on social media sites around particular interests. Tapping into these networks and engaging them effectively can provide immense insights on how to approach their needs.
3. You can leverage your network and their network
Many of us have developed a bank of personal connections throughout the years. However, the majority of these networks lie dormant as simple “connections” or “friends” on LinkedIn and Facebook. Many of our connections could be potential reference points to increase business, but don’t advocate for us because they have fallen out of touch.
However, if our business deploys content that is valuable and relevant to our personal network, their advocation on social media can help our business by extending reach to our network’s network. Finding new business is not that different than finding a new job, where leveraging personal networks can dramatically increase your chances of success.
In order to truly maximize the network effect of social media, it is important to add value with the content you provide and not simply “add to the noise” of social media. Nobody cares what you had for lunch or where you were last Friday. They care about leaning about their business and industry and how to succeed.