Social media is a hot topic within the business community today, but there are quite a few businesses that haven’t figured out this new “beast” and how to leverage it for business purposes. Many executives still believe social media is a “kid’s playground” or a “waste of time,” but savvy companies are figuring out ways social media can help them increase sales and improve their businesses. In this article, I will share with you five ways social media can help you increase sales.
Build Your Presence as a Go to Expert
Positioning yourself as an obvious expert is a lot easier today than it was ten years ago when traditional media outlets controlled everything in print and on the air. There are numerous content hubs available on-line for content production and syndication by anyone with a willingness to contribute valuable material.
By regularly producing content relative to what you do professionally, you increase the probability of those seeking information about your products and services discovering you as a viable resource. The more quality content associated with you and your company, the more likely someone is to contact you or your firm.
Sites such as EzineArticles, Buzzle, AssociatedContent, Scribed, HubPages, and EvanCarmichael can prove to be wonderful sites for those that like to write, and they can also serve as tremendous free educational resources.
Creating your own blog is another way to leverage your writing skills to increase your online visibility as search engines love blogs.
Mainstays like YouTube and iTunes can pave the way for those well versed in video and audio to produce quality content that paints their company in a positive light.
Expand Your Reach
Connecting with like minded individuals all across the globe has never been easier thanks to social media websites such as LinkedIn, Spoke, Xing, and Ryze serve as business networking hubs to help network you with business people with similar interests. Your potential reach is only limited by your willingness to make new friends. Pick one of these sites and start building your network today-it’s free to join, and you never know who is out there unless you’re involved.
Increase Your Knowledge
Throughout the course of any day, experts in every industry imaginable are sharing their wisdom for free. By monitoring sites like Twitter, Ning, YouTube, iTunes, business blogs, and several e-zines for information relevant to your business, your knowledge will automatically increase, and you’ll be in the know very quickly.
Be a Connector
The exponential impact of social networking can be quite effective in a business setting because it’s human nature to want to help others. Some statistical outlets suggest that the average person knows about 250 people so each person you add to your network adds another 250 to your mix. In order to take advantage of that, offer to connect and help others before “cashing in” to help yourself. The more you give, the more you’ll get out of social media which is no different than relationships off-line.
Educate the Market
Your prospects know much less about your product and service than you do, but they will want to know more about it when it comes time to make a purchase or procure a contract. By educating them through many of the sites outlined in this article, you help set the buying criteria and position your firm as a potential option when it comes time to buy. The firm that educates the market best will be the long term winner.
Disclaimer of Caution
One caveat that bears mentioning strongly: don’t think you can sign-up for any on-line social media services and immediately attempt to sell your products and service. When engaging in social media activities, follow the golden rule: if you wouldn’t do something off-line, don’t do it on-line. Building relationships on or off-line takes time so commit to getting to know your new found friends before you go asking for any favors. Monitor the landscape for a bit then participate in kind.
When evaluating social media’s viability for your business, don’t lose sight of the fact that the underlying goal is to build relationships. Relationships take time to build so go in with an open mind, follow these tips, and positive results will follow.