Social Media has become near-essential for businesses the most important, of course, is to increase sales but there are also many other benefits. Potential customers are out there and they are talking about what they like and what they don’t like, you need to be listening to and talking with them to really reap the benefits of social media.

Here are some reasons as to why you need to get your business out there and be more active in the online social media world:

Increase Website Visibility

On every social media website there will be an about you section, this is where you fill it up with as much information about you, your business and links back to your website, this will drive more traffic to your site and also help your business ranking in the search engines.

Businesses that fail to realise what impact social media has on search engine rankings will be left behind. To compete you will need not only great content, which includes your updated blog, but also be using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Technorati, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and other types of social media. You only need to look at the partnerships that are springing up all the time between search engines and social media companies to realise the impact that one has on the other.

If you regularly update your social media outlets with good content then people will read it and then go to your site for more information. Also be aware of people talking about the products that you sell, if someone asks on Twitter- ‘Where can I get some good Business Training in Brighton?’ I would then respond saying- ‘@SBTTraining offer great Business Training, ring or email them if you want anymore information.’

See what people are saying about you or your product

To find out what people are saying, whether it’s good or bad, you can set up a few things to monitor what is going on online, try the following:

  • Google Alerts – You enter your own search terms and then Google will send you an email with information on where your search terms have appeared in news, other websites and people blogs.
  • Social Mention – You can use Social Mention to monitor over 100 different social media platforms, these include; Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Digg etc. Plus you can have updates directly sent to your email once a day.
  • Twitter Search – For instant access to what people are talking about then I suggest you download and use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite for your twitter accounts. You can use either of these programs to set up a search for certain keywords or phrases, you’ll then be able to see what people are saying and it is constantly updated.

Constant Industry/ World Updates

If something major is going on in your industry then you need to know about and then react accordingly. You can use your blog to tell your customers what they need to know.You should be aware of the local/ national/ worldwide news and current events as these things can change your strategy or even affect your business. For example if a news story comes out explaining that the last toy is spontaneously combusting, then you can reassure customers that your product is safe or, if its true, apologise and recall the product and ask your customers to send it to a certain address.

Answer questions and answer customer feedback

Having a Facebook Page can encourage people to ask questions, you can then respond and maybe start a conversation with someone. The same applies to someone giving feedback on your product, you can say thank you if it’s positive, or help rectify anything that has gone wrong for them. It is very important you handle yourself fittingly and professionally here as others can read what you are saying and can also comment. It also shows that you’re are active within the community and easily available to contact people’s queries or questions.

Updates in an Emergency

With Twitter being so instant you can almost guarantee that if something has gone wrong for you, it will have gone wrong for lots of other people and they will all be talking about. For example, this Monday morning, after the clocks had gone back, my iPhone alarm didn’t go off until an hour later. I was then late for work, and I certainly wasn’t the only one judging by the amount of twitter updates proclaiming the same thing! Apple is now desperately trying to rectify this before the Americans clocks go back next weekend.

Worldwide Reach

When has there been an easier way to reach people all over the world within seconds? This is the easiest way to get you and your product out there to the masses. You are no longer restricted to advertising locally or even nationally, social media allows you to publicize your products and news to the world, and the best thing is that the world can talk back to you. You can still advertise locally, but you can now tie it in with your online presence. If you made a short advert for local TV, you can now upload it to YouTube for the rest of the world to see too.

The best thing about Social Media – It’s FREE!

You can sign up to any number of these sites completely for free and get going on you own social media adventure. You obviously need to invest a lot of time and effort to learn the ropes and find out what you can do with it, but there are many tutorials and others who can help you with that. Once you find your target and start to carve out a niche for yourself, your return on investment will be fantastic!