How Social Media Can Help Your Business
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Social media adds an enormous amount of value in terms of business networking, establishing expert credibility and sharing industry content nowadays. Before social media, you were pressured to pack a year’s worth of networking, business ideas and proposals into conferences that only occurred a few times a year. With social media, you can easily promote yourself and your business every day to business colleagues less stress. Social media gives you the opportunity to share your portfolio in creative ways, it gives you a chance to be an industry expert in online discussions and it helps you become easily approachable to people who want to learn more about how you can help their business.
The top four social media sites you should focus your time on first are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The reason for this is because they each add unique value for your online followers. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social networking site and has an incredible amount of features that make it easy for you to show off your work history and expertise. It has the ability to do this by being able to sync up your business blog, Twitter feed, and your E-Mail’s Calendar. This is a huge help to people with busy schedules because as soon as you update your blog, Twitter or calendar, LinkedIn automatically updates those features on your LinkedIn profile. You can also share past Powerpoint presentations with their Slideshare application, and LinkedIn makes it easy for you to find any business contact you may have come in contact with via E-Mail or mutual contacts.
Facebook and Twitter are fantastic sites to share links, articles, pictures, videos, and much more with all of your followers. Facebook now has options to build Personal and Group pages for yourself and your business, so there are plenty of options to choose from depending on how you would like to utilize the site. Twitter is more of an informational-sharing tool where you can post or re-tweet tweets. If what you are posting can be categorized at all, such as it is a topic for the business industry, you can add a hashtag to it, such as “#business” or “#B2B”. This way, Twitter can be used as an informational search engine, where people can type in hashtags of a specified subject, and all tweets with that hashtag attached would come up in their search.
Finally, YouTube is perfect for the creative side of your business. If you have a FlipCam or Digital Camera with video features hanging around, use it to make a 30-second to 2-minute video clip. Company announcements, product promotions, or welcoming a new team member to the company are all great examples of how you could use this site. YouTube is a great way to humanize your brand and to step out of the box when it comes to promoting your business.
For a concrete example of how social media can help your business, the Marketing Management Software company, InterlinkONE, began tracking their social media sites since the end of 2008. Here are their results from using social media thus far:
- Twitter followers increased from 0 to 10,000+, consisting of corporate and individual accounts.
- From social media sites alone, 20,000+ have clicked on InterlinkONE’s links, downloaded their e-Book, and Whitepaper.
- 50+ inquiries/prospects in the lead generation pipeline directly from social media efforts
- $100,000+ revenue directly associated to online marketing.
- One of their products, QReate & Track, has gained more than 115 customers since being created in December, 2009. This product has been promoted almost entirely through social media.
- 50+ inquiries/prospects in the lead generation pipeline directly from social media efforts for ilinkONE Version 8 software
Another successful case study comes from Paul Strack, President of the award-winning printing company, CustomXM. Strack announced that in 2009, the revenue generated from Twitter, for CustomXM, was “in excess of $25,000 over the past 12 months”. For 2010, he said that “revenues directly attributed to Twitter have more than doubled during the second year of “tweeting”. Strack also pointed out that “some client relationships that have been established during this time are now into their second year of engagement with us.”
Additionally, involvement in social media has created several related opportunities for Strack, including speaking engagements, seminar presentations, and participating as a panelist on several national webinars.
Overall, as long as you focus on engaging and nurturing ongoing conversations that form in social media, you will begin to gain the reputation of an industry expert and a quality informational resource for colleagues. Focus on consistently building and engaging your network, and follow up with tracking and analyzing your social media activity. If you follow this advice, your business brand will expand and the benefits of social media will begin to flood in.