Article By: Naomi Johnson
Social media is big news – in fact massive news. It’s like the early days of the boom in internet use around 1995-97, only more so. Back then, any business that didn’t get their website up and running was considered old-fashioned and would certainly have been left behind when it came to promoting themselves.
Nowadays, businesses really need to get to grips with social media or risk getting left behind for a second time. But lots of businesses don’t really know what to do, or they simply do nothing. More importantly, they probably don’t have time to “do” social media properly because there’s a lot more to it than simply putting out a few status updates and tweets each day on Facebook and Twitter!
So, what exactly do we mean by social media??
Social media is a new way to use the web – it’s a 2 way conversation if you like – involving both listening and talking. If you thought Facebook and Twitter were just for teenagers, think again!
Any business that sells a product or service can be absolutely certain that a good proportion of their customers are chatting about them on Facebook and Twitter right now – today. And these businesses need to know what their customers are saying – they need to be able to respond to both positive and negative comments - to be able to engage their current customers and develop strategies to gain new ones. It’s all about building a community around your customers – absolutely NOT about trying to sell your product or service in every status update or tweet. Nothing is guaranteed to drive away potential customers quicker than that! Yet that’s exactly what I see so many businesses doing on social media platforms, day after day.
Facebook has over 600 million users worldwide - around 30 million in the UK alone. Twitter is catching up. People watch over 2 billion YouTube videos each day (you did know YouTube was a social media platform, didn’t you?) If Facebook was a country it’d be the 3rd largest in the world. These statistics are nothing short of phenomenal. And a new one I just read: 150 years of video are watched each year on Facebook…….
Your business needs to take note of these facts, I think you’d agree?
Social media is also important for SEO (search engine optimization) - Google now recognizes tweets in their organic results (that’s the non-paid for section below the featured sites at the top of the search page). It also recognizes Facebook profiles and fan pages. The bottom line is that Google loves fresh content, so tweets and Facebook status updates are ideal for SEO. And I haven’t even mentioned blogs yet - does your business have a blog, and is it regularly updated with interesting posts, optimized for SEO?
The take-home message here is that social media is changing the way the world does business - this is happening right now, in your town, this week, today. It’s vital to get involved, and one huge bonus is that social media can benefit small businesses just as much as large multi-nationals – possibly even more so. It’s also vital to do things properly, or miss out – the window of opportunity won’t remain open indefinitely – just as with the internet boom of the late 90s. You wouldn’t find a business nowadays without a computer or a website……
To coin a phrase, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
© Naomi Johnson – April 2011
Tel. 01777 249075
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