Social Media: A Powerful Tool

May 24, 2016
Samantha WheelerBy Samantha Brensen, Systems Account Executive, Integrated Protection Service and member of the PSA Sales & Marketing Committee

Sending letters or “snail mail” is a thing of the past. In today’s techno-filled world, social media is a great way to stay in front of both current customers and potential clients. We mostly think about social media from the perspective of pushing content out to our followers to keep them informed about our products or thinking about our business, but did you know it can also help create leads and pull business in? And just think, all this with the simple click of a button!

Let’s talk about five benefits of social media for YOUR business:

Learn About Your Audience
The more relevant your posts are to your target audience, the more likely they are to interact with your page and begin to trickle through the buying process.

As you know, one of the many keys to success in the business world is knowing your audience. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter allow you to connect with a variety of audiences. You can send general content out to all of your followers, but you can also see the makeup of your company’s fan base on these platforms and recognize trends that will help you deliver content that is relevant to the people engaging with your page. The more relevant your posts are to your target audience, the more likely they are to interact with your page and begin to trickle through the buying process.

Expand & Grow Your AudienceBusiness typically boils down to one question: Who needs or wants to buy what we have to sell? In the old days, many sales reps would spend countless hours making cold call after cold call, only to get a few responses for an entire day’s work, (if they were lucky). Instead of all that wasted dialing, why not put social media to work for you? Things like Facebook ads or suggested posts allow you to target specific groups of people based on classifiers such as their activity on facebook, age, geographic location, and gender. By pushing content out to these targeted groups, you are getting your product or message in front the people who you know make up your key audience. Adding a call to action for these types of posts makes it even easier for a potential buyer to make their way to your product and soon become a solid customer.
Increase Website TrafficLike many businesses, yours probably spent a pretty penny on the company website. Whether it be infographics, informational tutorials, or interactive videos, creation of websites and their contents can be expensive.   Don’t just let that be wasted money that sits out in cyberspace! Make sure your website and social media accounts are linked so customers or potential clients can easily get from one to the other. If you’re seeing a lot of interaction on your social platforms but your website traffic has plateaued, add a call to action button on your page to ensure your followers know about your website. Also consider landing pages or links to your website from a social post, guiding your audience to your website for more information
Increase Brand Awareness with Content
Think outside the box and post things are relevant to your audience but also communicate your brand attributes and company culture.

The most recognizable social media platforms out there are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube, but there are a slew of other options, with their relevancy depending on the type of market you are in. Use of these networks will create brand and company awareness at little to no monetary cost.  Most platforms have free account setup, and then it just becomes a matter of content, content, content! Think outside the box and post things are relevant to your audience but also communicate your brand attributes and company culture. Do you tout knowledgeable employees? Then consider posting short bios of the experts on your staff, highlighting their qualifications. Did you just bring on a new line? Write a quick post and link to your website for further details on the product. Did your company get together for a special event? Snap a pic and post it with a fun but appropriate caption. You’d be surprised at the amount of interaction you will get with your followers, even on the stuff that is more playful and shows off your company culture.  A post with a photo or image of some sort garners more attention than one that just includes words, so make use of any stock imagery you may have on hand if you need a visual. Also be sure to link your accounts together, allowing your posts to affect multiple platforms. If you start to think in terms of “How can I turn this meeting, article, photo, infographic, blog, testimonial, trade show, etc. into social media content?” ideas will start to form. Still scared of the social media Big C? Tools such as Hootsuite or other social media management software can help you track and plan your posts if the task seems daunting to you.

Improve Market KnowledgeIf you are using social media as part of your business plan, chances are your competitors are as well. By seeing what the competition is doing, or sometimes better yet what the competition is not doing, you can take the pulse of your industry.  This allows for a measuring point of where your business is situated in the market place. One platform that makes this pretty simple is Facebook. Did you know you can set your account to keep an eye out for your competitor’s pages? All you have to do is flag the pages you want to watch in your “Insights” tab. Not only can you keep in touch with the industry, but you can also see how your social media efforts stack up against other market participants. You may even pick up some ideas that you could apply to your own page!

Put simply, social media is an excellent tool for any business to have in its toolbox. With just a little bit of time, technical know-how, and creativity, you will soon be on your way to learning about your current audience, finding new audience members, increasing traffic to your website, bolstering your brand awareness and image, and improving your overall knowledge of the market. Don’t have any social media accounts? Sign up today! Already have an account? Keep those creative juices flowing and always look for ways to improve your efforts. All it takes a bit of dedication and you will soon be on your way to a good return on your investment!