If you’re like most people, you’re probably already on Facebook; have a Twitter account, even if you’ve not tweeted; and maybe even maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn. Are you using them though to help you grow your business?
There are now 845 million active Facebook users1, 100 million active Twitter users2 and 147 million LinkedIn users3. Facebook accounts for 1 in every 5 page views on the Internet worldwide1 and more than 3.5 billion pieces of content are shared via Facebook each week1. There is no doubting the scale of social media but what about business users? Is social media use among business users a valid communication channel or just a fad?
65% of the world’s top 100 companies (Fortune 100) have a Twitter account and 54% have a Facebook account. 82% use their Twitter accounts per week with an average of 27 tweets per week. Similarly 59% update their Facebook page weekly with an average of 3.6 posts per week. These companies are obviously seeing a benefit to using these new communication channels and are proceeding to do so on a very regular basis. On average a Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages1 with 56% of consumers stating that they are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan1. Similarly, 34% of marketers say they have generated leads via Twitter2.
So what’s holding you back from social media? Despite the impressive figures and the arguments for social media, there still remains a huge number of companies that haven’t ventured into using social media to grow their business and in our view they are missing a valuable opportunity.
We think reluctance to use social media for your business usually comes down to three key things. The first is a fear of the unknown. It’s all very well and good creating your own personal page but when you put your business out there who knows what response you will get? If you’ve ever read the posts on an online public forum or comparison/rating site, you’ll have seen that its anonymity can be a catalyst for negative messages that can be difficult to manage, but that’s a defeatist attitude. Social media is an excellent way to get close to your customers, tell them what you’d like them to know and invite them to share their ideas about how you might improve to make them even more loyal. If you receive any negative comments deal with them efficiently, acknowledging the issue and attempting to take it offline for resolution e.g. ask them to email you the details or call the customer to discuss the problem.
Secondly, there’s the question of resources. Social networks thrive on constantly updated, relevant and recent content and that can take a lot of time and energy. Staff resources are often already stretched and so it can be difficult to allocate the required manpower to something like this especially when, for many companies, social media marketing is focused more on long term profile raising than a direct selling or lead generation tool.
Finally, we have the non-believers. Believe it or not, there remain some who think social networking is all just hype that will fade away in a year or two when we all get bored of it. They don’t see the point in wasting time and effort maintaining Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and prefer instead to stick to more traditional methods of communication such as email and even the letter.
The fact of the matter is, more and more businesses are developing social media marketing strategies and creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter et al. If you’ve not yet considered the potential power of social media, you can bet that several of your competitors will have and they’re probably already using these new platforms to communicate with your target market. Why not run a simple search across each of the social networks for each of your key competitors. They may or may not be doing things well but if they’re there and you’re not, they’re one step ahead nonetheless.
Don’t tell others to do what you’re not doing yourself is a good ethos to have – Entanet has joined the realms of the social marketers and has a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/entanet), twitter feed (@entanet), a LinkedIn company page (http://www.linkedin.com/company/entanet-international-ltd) and also a group page. Why not follow/like us to stay informed!