The value of social media for business cannot be overstated.
The value of social media for business
cannot be overstated.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram . . . social media is everywhere these days. It helps us connect to each other and to the things we like as well as to the products, services, and companies we want to follow and support. For businesses both big and small, having an online presence is a necessary part of any online marketing strategy. The main reason for this is that it increases brand awareness while simultaneously building customer loyalty.

Social media for business gives your customers a way to connect with you and keep current with what you're doing. It allows you to engage with your customers and build relationships with them. By interacting with them through social media, you get to know them better by seeing what they like and what they want—as well as what they don't like and don't want. It also gives you an additional outlet through which to offer them deals and special promotions they may not have been aware of otherwise.

As important as social media for business is, it is not enough to stand on its own. Having only a Facebook page or only a Twitter account won't get you very far in terms of building your online presence or getting your brand name out there. In fact, social media for business works best when it's used in conjunction with an existing marketing strategy or as part of a larger, more comprehensive marketing plan. One of the easiest ways to promote your social media presence is through your emails. Simply including a link to your social media pages at the bottom of your emails is an easy way to promote your business's social media sites.

In terms of targeting specific customers with your social media pages, keep the following in mind when merging social media and business:

Facebook tends to be the most personal of all social media platforms, so if your product or service is exciting and consumer-oriented, focus on Facebook for your social media presence, and try to gain as many likes and followers as possible.

Twitter is great for public and business searches, so use this social media platform to connect with other businesses or specific people you'd like to reach. Twitter also allows you to see what your competitors are doing so that you can spark relevant conversations to keep your customers engaged.

Google+ is good for engaging with those who are a larger part of the overall tech community.

LinkedIn is geared more toward business and career information, so it's great for those wanting to connect with your business on a more professional level or those who want to learn more about the professional side of your company.

Pinterest and Instagram are great for sharing photos and giving your audience an inside look into your company's world.

However, you must keep in mind that a focused social media and content marketing strategy has a better chance of success than one that is more broadly implemented. When you use social media for business, your goal should be to build a strong brand first before making all things available to all people.

An unspoken rule of using social media for business is that as others follow you and like or share your content, you should do the same for them. Call it good karma! After all, you can't expect others to share your content if you don't share theirs. Take some time to share the content of those you find to be great influencers and who would benefit from your sharing their content. Doing this makes optimal use of social media for business.

Tips to enhance your social media strategy

When it comes to social media for business, be sure to optimize keywords within your posts for searching—enlisting a social media editing service can help with this. Connect with your customers via social media and ask them what they think about your product or service. Don't be afraid to incorporate customer reviews into your website. Link your existing website content to your various social media platforms to share important information that you may not have been able to share previously. Your best bet is to integrate your social media campaigns with your existing social media strategy to create something that is stronger than either one on its own. You can even use a social media management program to make this somewhat daunting task a bit more, well, manageable.

Since content is king, especially when it comes to marketing and social media for business, read your target audience's online content and join discussions to put your name out there and find out what's most important to them. Remember that your goal is to create conversations that will add value and not clutter to their lives. The proper use of social media for business means not bombarding your audience with useless information.

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