There can be little debate that social media networks have changed the Internet, whether that change is good or bad is a debate that will be answered in coming years. One particular area where social media networking has begun to penetrate quickly is in the realm of the business world. A small business serving a local market or a large corporation that does business across the globe can all benefit from using websites like Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter. These sites allow business to interact directly and instantly with consumers. That interaction is two way, which makes it extremely valuable. Learning habits and tracking trends of customers are a way for business to really figure out what makes their customers tick. In short, these sites can increase sales. However, social media networks need to be used properly and not abused. Here are five tips for business to use social networks:
Be Sure You Are Communicating With The Right People
Being sure a business is “friends with” or “following” the right people is crucial to success of any network. Too many times user id’s and names are similar but not the same. Having a sign up list or handing out a magnet or pen with the business’s social account names is a great way to make sure the company is talking to the right people.
Be Careful Not To Over Communicate
There is a fine line between frequent updates and spam, be sure the business does not cross that line. In short, companies work hard to build their list of contacts, spamming will work against the business fast. Send out enough updates so that folks know about new products, daily specials, or other important knowledge, but keep it short and simple.
Link, Link, Link
Assuming that everyone hates to type universal resource locators (URL’s), using clickable links is best way to drive Internet friends and followers to a specific page. Customers and potential customers are no different. Include an embedded link every often in your updates to the company blog (which may be Adsensed for more revenue) or other relevant sites.
If a business is just updating information by communicating “Open Late Tonight” or “Ham Salad Special For Two Hours”, that’s great. But these are “social” networks that need to be taken advantage of. Ask questions like “Do Think We Should Stay Open Later” or “How Was The Ham Salad” or “Ten Percent Off If You Mention This Tweet.” Getting instant replies to ideas is what the new Internet is all about, and businesses should be taking advantage of that.
Take It Seriously
Many large corporations can dedicate entire departments to social media outlet marketing. While small businesses can not really afford an entire department, but having someone dedicated to the task is not out of the question. That can be one employee, a manager, or even the business owner. Savvy small business owners know the importance of keeping customers, and these outlets allow them to stay in contact after just one sale. Getting folks back into the store or to the right website is the only way to increase sales, and these sites and applications offer that possibility.
One often overlooked factor of social media networks for businesses is the “Free Advertising” aspect. Because there is no direct cost to use the services, all the communication and feedback is receive totally one hundred percent without cost (of course time is money, and time goes into building a network). These services may well be the wave of the future. The problem with waves is a business either rides them, or gets wiped out.