Social Media for Business by Robert L. Foreman, Jr. (guest blogger)

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Social Media

The use of social media is becoming more of an invaluable tool for businesses with each passing day. It is no longer just a luxury to have a social media footprint, but a necessity. Some people may think that their business does not need to jump into the social media pool, but those people are wrong. Simply put, if you are not taking full advantage of social media then you are putting your company at a huge disadvantage.

Thinkmonsters did a great breakdown of some of the advantages that utilizing social media can bring to your business. These advantages include, creating connections, increasing exposure, developing partnerships, enhancing SEO and fostering leads. Social media allows you to create connections with the public and show them that you value more than just their money. They will see that you value them as individuals and that their opinions matter. This process strengthens the bonds with your customers and clients, which in turn creates repeat business.

The use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can increase the visibility of your company’s name and brand in a way that television and print advertising cannot accomplish. Television viewership is declining and the print medium is heading the way of the dinosaur, so just relying on either one, or both, to bolster your business is a recipe for disaster. Increasingly, more people are shopping online, so it stands to reason that you would want your business to have a strong social media presence to tap into that vast pool of potential customers and clients.

Another advantage of using social media is that it will help to increase your business ‘search engine optimization (SEO) in a way that your company website by itself cannot do. When a potential customer or client wants to find out more about your company they can see different facets of your brand across multiple social media platforms. If done properly, you can ensure that when someone does a search of your company that all of the top results they find are owned and operated by you. Not only does this allow you to gain new customers, it also allows you to control the branding of your business.

While sales and branding are of key importance to any business, social media also allows you to build and sustain partnerships with other businesses and professionals. With the current state of the economy creating strategic business alliances and connections is a means of survival. The partnerships forged in social media can create new customers and clients, as well as potentially add a new dimension to your existing business.

Another benefit to utilizing social media that is often overlooked is fostering leads. Once you have made people aware of your business, and created a positive impression of your brand, through active social media outreach you can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of new sales leads. If a customer, client or partner has a positive impression of you they will spread the word to their social media network, which will in turn lead to more business. You would be shocked at how much weight someone endorsing a product or company in their social network can have. Source: http://bit.ly/J3lIxX

Social media is also a great tool for non-profit organizations and for fund-raising efforts. While many non-profits are already aware of the benefits of using social media there are some who do not understand ALL of the benefits. The Non Profit Times did a nice breakdown of the 10 benefits of using social media. These include, 1) learning what your supporters are saying and sharing about your organization, 2) driving traffic to your Web properties, 3) improving search engine results with keyword rich content, 4) directing visitors to online donation pages, 5) allowing supporters to distribute messages about your organization through their social media network, 6) empowering your strongest and most influential supporters to promote your organization, 7) enable grassroots movements in real-time and respond to unforseen events, 8) humanize your organization by using non-traditional methods, 9) acquiring new contacts and increasing your email house file and 10) allowing your supporters to voice their thoughts in feedback forums. Source: http://bit.ly/XCoeNq

As you can see, social media is a valuable asset for any business, whether you are a small company, a billion-dollar corporation or a non-profit. Social media makes it easier to connect to people across the country and around the world, which allows you to grow your business and brand in a way that was not possible in the past. So, tap into that opportunity and run with it. Your business, as well as your customers and clients, will thank you for it in the long run.



About the Author
Cathy C. Smith, Founder/CEO at Chameleon Consulting, LLC has a history of strategically transforming traditional organizations into digital businesses. Cathy has a 20 + years in financial services and has held senior management positions in Banking, Insurance, Government, and Non-profit organizations.

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