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I was recently asked to give a talk on the importance of social media in business at the University of Gloucestershire, the talk was well received so I wanted to share the same information with the world, I hope you find it of use.

In this modern world the web has become the new high street and it is no longer enough for your company to simply just have a website… Your online presence must extend to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even blogging, and its time to start taking advantage of them. If your company or small business still doesn’t have a Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instragram feed or an informative useful blog , it’s time to get started and bring yourself up to speed.

  1. Getting up close and personal. One of the best things about marketing with social media is the one on one interaction you get with your customers. You can have a sneak peak at their tweets, status updates and pictures giving you valuable insights in to their day to day life allowing you to direct your marketing as a result.
  2. Problem Solving. If there is an issue with any of your goods or services, you will want to know about it as a matter of urgency. Social media allows you to gain rapid feedback and take steps to resolve them. Many times it has been proven that consumers respond more to companies that handle complaints in a professional and timely manner, social media will give potential new clients the opportunity to gain valuable background knowledge on your company.
  3. Keeping up with the Jones’s. There is an old saying that the early bird catches the worm, the sooner you get started with your social media marketing plan the sooner you can start growing your fan’s, followers, liker’s and bloggers. This isn’t something you want to hang around with. One of the most important steps is to grow your fan base. Naturally you will want to shout about your business, and to do that, you will need an audience. The truth is your competitors have probably been at it for a long time and have built up a loyal following on their many social media profiles; this is a painstaking process and requires time and attention. Growing your fan base and followers is a MUST from day one.
  4. It’s like you have known each other forever. People look at social media, especially twitter and Facebook as exactly that SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS, not marketing machines. With this in mind they’re less likely to see your posts, tweets and blogs as advertisements and more likely to react to your message.
  5. Boost your sales. I have found from personal experience when visiting existing clients they remember a job they wanted doing or a question they had for me, the same applies with social media. The more visible you are on social media sites like Facebook and twitter the more it will jog your customer’s memory to buy from you or enquire about your goods or services. Social media doesn’t just give your company exposure; it gives you the opportunity to constantly give potential and existing customers incentives to buy from you. Good ways to do this are posting discount codes specific to your facebook fans or twitter followers; allowing you to track the people that have taken up your offer. You’ll be surprised how many people make purchases this way.
  6. Finding hidden treasure. If you use keywords specific to your business in twitters search facility, you will find potential new clients for your goods or services. For example, in the past I have done specific searches on twitter for “Business Cards”. I came across many tweets from people looking for referrals for printers, I then tweeted these people directly saying that I was able to provide this service and if they could send details of their requirements I would quote for the work. I have to say this was a very effective marketing strategy gaining me several new jobs and clients.
  7. Customers you never knew you had. In the process of marketing your business on social media you are inadvertently advertising your business to the world. You post on Facebook about a project you have recently completed, or feedback from a happy client or even some information about a new product or service you are looking to offer. It might not get you an instant sale but the more groups you join and fans you have, the wider your net will be cast. It may be that someone searching the web/Facebook/twitter in a months time will come across a post, tweet or blog from you and find their way to your website or social media profile and you may even see sales from it…
  8. Money really does come for free. One of the biggest advantages of social media (if you handle it yourself) is that it is FREE, by free I mean it wont actually cost you any hard earned cash. Running your own social media campaigns is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing, only costing you your time. There are marketing companies out there who will do the work for you and sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate. If you are intimidated by social media or your writing skills aren’t quite what you would like them to be, then drafting in a company to do all of this for you will definitely see a return on investment. Remember there are etiquettes to be followed on many platforms and getting it wrong can have a very negative PR effect on your business.
  9. Its all fair in love and war. Remember, unlike the real world where companies spend thousands of pounds on traditional ad campaigns, all companies utilizing the many types of social media available to them are doing so on a level playing field. The businesses seeing the best results, going viral and mastering the internet, are the ones with the most creative, attention grabbing content that people will like, share and re-tweet. If you want to grow your web traffic and increase your sales you are going to have to outsmart, outwit and outwork your competition whilst making sure you are offering superior products, services and most importantly linkworthy content. But having said that, isn’t that what you’re doing already.

Social media marketing is just one part of developing your business in the new cyber world we live in. Marketing with facebook has been around for a while and made even easier recently allowing you to advertise directly to not just your friends but the whole facebook world. For a relatively low cost you have a potential facebook audience of over 1.44 billion monthly active users. Twitter have recently made many changes to entice the social media marketer and has over 236 million monthly active users.

There are many platforms for social media available to you with Facebook being the biggest followed by LinkedIN, Google+, Instagram and Twitter all offering you a portal for your business to grow its customer base, but don’t forget the humble blog. This can be added to your website and allow you to post relevant content about products and services to the world wide web and then use social media sites like Facebook and twitter to promote this content… This in turn is driving traffic direct to your website.

Remember, the bigger the presence you have on the web in your various social media profiles the more it will help your Google rankings for your site and gain exposure for your company, your name and your standing in the market.

If you have any questions about getting started get in touch with Craig Paul Design Ltd and we’ll help point you in the right direction.

Some facts about social media.

  • There are just over 3 billion active Internet users (45% of the world’s internet users)
  • Nearly 2.1 billion people have social media accounts
  • 3.65 billion mobile users have access to the internet via smartphones and tablets
  • Close to 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts
  • There are 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts globally
  • There are nearly 1.4 billion Facebook users
  • 47% of all Internet users are on Facebook
  • 4.5 billion likes are generated daily
  • Nearly 75% of Facebook’s revenue comes from mobile advertising
  • Direct uploads of user videos to Facebook now exceed YouTube
  • Twitter has 284 million active users at last count
  • 88% of Twitter users are on mobile
  • 500 million tweets per day
  • Google+ cost over half a billion to design and develop
  • Google+ has 363 million users
  • The +1 button is hit 5 billion times per day
  • Instagram has 300 million users
  • 70 million photos and videos are sent daily on Instagram
  • 53% of internet users aged 18-29 use Instagram
  • 80% of Internet users on Pinterest are female
  • 70 million users are on Pinterest
  • 88% purchase a product they pinned
  • LinkedIn has 347 million registered members
  • There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn
  • Viber has over 200 million users
  • 600 million users on Whatsapp
  • Facebook messenger has 500 million users
  • Wechat is close behind with 468 million users (China)
  • Snapchat has 100 million monthly users