In the rapidly changing modern era, where the vast majority of marketers would agree that effective digital communication is essential in showing off your brand to the world, it’s surprising how many businesses both big and small are neglecting the chance to utilise one of the most exciting of these tools; social media.
Between 40% and 60% of businesses in the UK (depending which survey you believe) don’t actually use social media at all, whether that be due to anything from a lack of knowledge of what tools are on offer to an unease about delving into a quick-moving, fast-paced environment.
However, if used in the right manner, social media offers huge potential to assist businesses across the spectrum, ranging from the humble local corner shop all the way up to the biggest multinationals and conglomerates in the world.
Although the way in which social media can be used varies across sectors, there are four key principles that businesses should stick to when using social media:
Carefully select and focus the majority of your efforts
Are your customers young, hip and engaging in all sorts of exciting and trendy social media? Maybe you’re in a B2B market where you’re looking to interact with business owners and decision makers? Or are you in an industry where you’d love to showcase your cutting-edge, aesthetically-pleasing products in front of prospective customers?
You’ll need to ask yourself all these sorts of questions to determine which social networks are most suitable to your business. Do your research and you’ve got every chance of hitting the ground running.
Be proactive and engage with social communities
There’s no point in just using social media to repeatedly hammer followers, connections and friends with the same old tired marketing messages. Try and interact with communities and encourage two-way communication...
One effective way to do this is through Twitter’s #hashtag function, enabling you to search for tweets relating to any topic. Search for your field of expertise (eg. #factoring, #invoicediscounting or #invoicefinance), find questions asked by other users and answer them!
Ensure you are responsive to all questions and queries
... even if you are subject to abuse from an unhappy customer!
One of the best ways to counteract potentially damaging comments from customers is to respond in a humble manner, making it clear you will go the extra mile to resolve their complaint.
If other clients, customers or prospects see that you handle criticism well and in a proactive manner, it can turn a tricky situation into one which really shows off your company in the best light.
Adapt your strategies as social networking evolves
Keep your ears to the ground and monitor trends in the social media world. As one networking site expands its user base rapidly (e.g. Pinterest), another may be showing signs of decline and decreasing relevance. After all, it was only a few years ago that Myspace was the market leader in social media, before Facebook then took a hold and offered a cleaner, more intuitive system to prise users away in their millions.
This is demonstrated alone in Myspace’s turnover in online advertising. It used to generate revenues of almost $500 million a year in advertising at its peak. That’s now fallen by more than 50% in the last few years!
Social networking, increasingly in both B2B and B2C markets, offer companies the chance to build brand image, increase sales and develop effective interactions with customers, clients and prospects to levels never seen before in completely new and wonderful ways. Just make sure your business is quick to adapt to social networking and isn’t left lagging behind the competitors!
Knowledge for Small Business and Large Enterprises
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