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Social media: for sales or for show?

Sept13

Businesses seem to see the value in social media usage. The numbers for new business profiles on big-time platforms like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter continue to rise. Business owners seem to know that social media is the place to be but not many know how to set appropriate goals when it comes to these digital forums.  Understanding the basic strengths of social media can help guide realistic and impactful business expectations.

Social media for businesses…

IS: an opportunity to build your brand identity. Everything you post, from reader prompts to video content, reflects on who you are as an individual or business owner.

IS NOT:  a direct selling tool. Yes, people may click on a product link via Twitter and purchase it but if all you focus on when it comes to social media is immediate sales, you are missing the point.

IS: a smart way to market your business. If you have shied away from having “too many” social media accounts, or have ever described yourself as an “old fashioned” businessperson with no need for an online presence, you are just being silly. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and so many other social media sites are completely free. Free! So why not take advantage of the marketing potential?

IS NOT: a platform for negativity. The only types of statuses or visuals a business should post on social media should be ones that shine a positive spotlight on your business. Leave customer or competitor feuds and any political leanings for other forums.

IS: an interactive way to engage customers. Social media is not a digital billboard but rather an online coffee house built for conversations. It is not enough to send your own messages out into cyberspace. You must follow up and see what feedback you receive. From there, a meaningful connection with customers is possible. It’s even a great way to resolve customer complaints.

IS NOT: a passing trend. If you are still holding out, waiting for everyone to finally get bored with Facebook, you could be waiting a long time (try forever). The amount of mobile interactions alone on Facebook jumped 10 percent in just one year, not to mention the people logging in from their computers. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are evolving to meet the demands of users – meaning that they have some staying power. The social media “trend” looks more like a movement at this point so don’t get left behind.

What misguided expectations do you think business owners have when it comes to social media?

Image via Flickr on Creative Commons

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Megan Totka

Megan Totka is a freelance writer, business expert and consultant. She was the marketing & editorial director at ChamberofCommerce.com for over a decade. As a business expert, she specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources, as well as providing business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of business marketing, and has spent several years exploring topics like copywriting, content marketing, list building, social media and any hot topics to help businesses run their business successfully. When she's not writing articles to educate businesses on the vast importance of building up their web presence, she likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the latest small business products, services, apps and other reviews. With a strong suit for managing business partnerships and developing partner relations, she often cultivates topics around the partnerships she's established by reviewing and highlighting what makes each business unique. She prides herself on keeping up with the diverse variety of services each business specializes in to spotlight new offerings.

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