"Do I need Social Media for my business?"

At a recent network meeting, a small business owner and friend asked me the above straightforward question.  The reply “of course you do, have you been living on Planet Zog?” flashed into my head for a nanosecond, and I was of course too polite to reply in this vain, so I gave my friend a more considered reply in terms of how he could and should be using Social Media, especially Twitter, to publicise and promote his products and services.

Driving home from the meeting, I posed myself a perhaps more ponderous question, ‘why did my friend ask me this?’ and that got me thinking (which is always dangerous, my co-director Fiona will verify this!).  If he is asking me, he is doing so for a valid reason, and from that I concluded that, based on this non-scientific sample of one, there must be thousands of other business owners up and down the country who are thinking the same thing.  Facts prove that Social Media has exploded in popularity in recent years; and engaging with social networks is now an important activity for any business or organisation wishing to promote itself, but to what extent should we be using it?

Broadly there are two categories for social media ‘platforms’ on the Internet; those that are primarily concerned with Social Networking such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and those that are primarily concerned with sharing photos, videos etc., such as Instagram and Flickr. As time goes by, the distinction between these categories becomes increasingly blurred, many of the media sharing services now offer social networking type functionality and vice versa.

My thoughts here are that Twitter should be the number one Social Media marketing tool used to promote your business.  If you are B2C (Business to Consumer) then you should have a Facebook presence, if you are B2B (Business to Business) then you should have a LinkedIn presence. Twitter will serve you well whatever type of business you are.

It’s also essential that you keep personal and business separate, and having that distinction is a must in terms of how much time you could spend accessing Social Media.  The danger is that Twitter and Facebook can be very addictive, so using the tools wisely and restricting yourself to almost having distinct timeslots for accessing Social Media is solid advice.  I would encourage you to also be wary of what you are trying to achieve. OK, so you have 5000 followers on Twitter and 3000 Facebook friends, but take a step back and ask yourself what ‘real’ value are they bringing to your business.

If you want to know more about how Social Media could work for you, please Contact Us, or call 0114 4040 160 or you even could send us a 'Direct Message' on Twitter.

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