How to promote your business using social media

How to promote your business using social media

April 2013

Just as quickly as social media went from being a fad to a phenomenon; it has gone from solely being a means for personal updates and photo-sharing to also being a formidable ally for small businesses.
When you stop and think about it, it makes sense. A good chunk of your customers and clients are already online using social media and social networking sites in a variety of ways. Many use social media to keep in touch with friends, but there are plenty who use it as a way of staying informed about their favorite products and businesses too.
While there are no clear-cut rules on how you should promote your business using social media, there are a number of things you need to understand about each of these social media tools before you begin implementing them into your strategy.
If you’re on Facebook, for example, chances are you’ve seen your friends “Like” companies. These are customers who are showing loyalty to a brand and expressing interest in being kept informed about that particular brand. This type of behavior often leads others to “Like” the same companies because, after all, if you’re friends online, you probably share a number of similar interests.
Provide a unique experience

It’s not just about having an online presence, though--it’s about generating a return on your investment. Customers who “Like” your page will only go so far if you don’t engage with them and push the benefits of your products or services. Otherwise, what’s the point in being online at all?
It’s no different than your primary website. You wouldn’t have just an “About us” page and hope visitors to your site become active customers. In addition to telling them about your company, you also want to show them what you can offer and how you’re different from the competition. Maybe you have case studies that highlight some of your success stories, or links to stories about your products. Either way, you’re creating an experience for customers (prospective or current)—an experience that you hope turns into a lasting relationship.
So, why should your social media activities be any different? Your Facebook page should do more than just link to your main website. You want that page to be a completely separate experience—one that the customer can’t get elsewhere. And what feature do social media sites have that most websites don’t? Interactivity.
Make the connection

Social media sites give businesses something they haven’t had before: a direct voice to their customers. If Jane Doe “Likes” your page and has something positive to say about your services, you can now thank her directly. Visitors to your page will not only see the positive feedback, but also your appreciation of their business.
Believe it or not, even negative feedback can help your business. Not because a customer had a bad experience, but because of how you handled the situation. Maybe you apologized and offered them a coupon, or outlined how you were going to make sure issues like this will never happen again. Positive and negative interactions like this can often do more good for businesses than any multi-million dollar commercial can.
Get more bang for your buck

A number of small businesses see social media as a free tool they can use to promote their services. That’s not the case. The platforms themselves–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.–might be free, but in order to use them effectively, social media needs to have a dedicated resource (or resources) managing it. Assuming your employees receive pay checks, those resources cost money, which means that maintaining your business’ online visibility costs money.
Whether it’s to keep an open line of dialogue with C-level executives, or to push your brand out to consumers in a fresh and exciting way, businesses can generate revenue with social media—if it’s used properly.

For the original article from HP click here.