Is social media for my business?

Online editor of InstallerOnline.co.uk, Alvin Gunputh, talks about the social media explosion and whether this is something that small businesses need to utilise and how they should operate if they follow the masses.

The ever increasing presence of social media continues to dominate our lifestyle from multinational corporations exposing Hashtags through our television sets, to offers flooding the timeline of our facebook homepage.

The social media bubble continues to encapsulate and pinpoint its targets and for this reason do more small businesses need to hitch a ride on the viral bandwagon.

The low entries to barrier make social media marketing the most cost effective and easiest way for a company to market itself. However, don’t let the lack of obstacles fool you into thinking that it will be plain sailing and that this is a strategy you can attend to from time to time. Due to its popularity and usage social media now demands more time and attention than most other marketing platforms.

Social media marketing is not going to apply to all businesses and others will make the most out of it due to the nature of their service. It has now become imperative that small businesses truly evaluate whether they should endeavour to follow the trends. With millions of users active across a plethora of different social mediums, firms will see this as the perfect opportunity to increase sales and a chance to refresh the customer pool.

If a company feel they want to take the plunge into the viral world they need to remember it’s all about engagement and monitoring. Many businesses use the occasion to bombard consumers with countless promotions which is a major faux pas within the social media realms. Social media should be used to engage with consumers rather than plugging the most recent sales promotion. It’s an open window to informally interact with the key demographic and to find out what they really want and what they think. Businesses need to use this occasion to show consumers that they are humans who have their customer’s best interests at heart and that they are always there to help and to provide support.

Monitoring is just as important as engagement. It can be all well and good to post comments about the next football fixture or recent news story, but it takes just one disgruntled customer leaving a negative comment, which if left unattended can be the downfall of a firm’s social media efforts. It is vital to respond to any consumer comments within 48 hours or less, businesses cannot forget this is not a private operation. Everything social media related is open for the world to see. Best practice is to show acknowledgment and devising a solution to resolve the issue, therefore showing commitment not just to the social media strategy but to the customers as well.

Social media has its pros and cons, but it must be remembered that whichever strategy is going to be employed that it will require just as much time and effort as other marketing services. If done correctly it can be the most powerful of all marketing and engagement tools that a business can come across.

Author Bio: Alvin is a Business Management & Marketing graduate of Winchester University. He has been a social media analyst in previous roles and now occupies the role of Online Editor at InstallerOnline.co.uk, the leading online resource for heating, plumbing and renewables professionals.

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