Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why Social Media is a Benefit for Your Business!

Facebook is the largest social media site in the world at this point. However, just about any social network site can be used in the same way as Facebook can. So if you are a member of just about any other network out there, you can take and tailor this information to fit...  I am, for the most part though, going to focus this article on Facebook itself.

For those of you who follow me or keep up with my business, you know I have quite a few Facebook pages. But why do I have all these pages set up? What is the benefit of having multiple pages? And how do I keep everything flowing?

Okay, so first, lets tackle the "WHY." It's really a fairly simple answer! If you have a business, you want people to know about it! With Facebook being as big as it is, it's nearly impossible to do any type of promotion on there without having people who will be interested see it. It's also a wonderful was to keep current customers up to date on specials, sales, new products, events, recipes and so on. If you do trade shows or something Facebook is without a doubt the best way to let people know where you will be and when! Plus, when your friends, family and customers "Like" you on facebook it will show on their activity and gain you more people who are interested in your business... And as we all know - More Eyes = More Sales!

One common question is why not just promote my business on my personal Facebook? Why do I need to set up an actual Page for my business? Well, again, it's simple. IF you are going to use your own personal page for anything other than business you don't want your unrelated posts to confuse or "turn off" your potential customers. If you have a food based business, simply mentioning that you own a dog could be enough for customers to stop following you.

Also, in order to "Friend" someone on facebook takes time, while a Page can be kept 100% about your business and related information and it's easier for someone to follow. Simply by clicking "Like" they will be updated on everything you say and do! If they "Friend" you, you need to both monitor everything you say and others say to you AND make sure you are logging on several times a day or week to approve all the friend requests.

Also, because facebook is a social site, people talk, lots of people! And you don't want to have to worry about some crazy memory or dream that a friend had about you coming up in on of their posts being seen by your potential customers... No one needs to know about that guy at the mall when you were in Highschool when you're trying to sell them lipstick!

So simply put, creating a "Business Page" is going to be healthier for your business image, easier for your customers to find and easier to keep monitored. Plus business pages get options that regular personal pages do not - like store hours and mission statements!

It's also worth stating that if you have more than one venture you should set up more than one page. Why? Well because if you're selling Avon & Ameriplan you will have those who are only interested in ONE of the two. You would HOPE that if you kept them both on one page that those people would ignore the posts made for the other business so that they can see the ones for the one they want. But unfortunately it doesn't happen that way.

I'll use myself as an example. I follow lots of pages! And some of them overlap. So when I see a page that's posting on things I'm not interested in, I simply stop following it. Do I assume that I'm going to miss out on something from time to time? Yep. But if it means my wall isn't clogged up with fish recipes when I want to read about cloth diapers, I'm happy to miss the good so I don't have to see the bad. And I know many people are like that! So having separate pages is definitely a benefit!

But who has the time? I know I don't have hours a day to sit here and create post after post every hour of the day to keep my readers interested... Do you? Well, not if you're properly running your business you don't! But there is good news out there! You don't need to sit for hours or even log on every day to keep the posts coming!

I have started using a program called HootSuite.  There are quite a few options with the program. I use the free one. It allows me to schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook pages, Linkedin and more... So rather than sitting and making posts every hour or so for all my pages, I take an hour in the evening and schedule posts throughout the next day... Then, even when I can't be on, I'm on... It's a great way to keep people visiting, chatting, and most importantly buying!

So lets break it down. First, using social media is a great asset to any business, blog, cause or group! Second, social media is the best and cheapest way to keep customers informed of everything you, your business, cause or group are doing, as well as sales & specials. And Third, with programs like Hootsuite using social media couldn't be easier!

What do you say in your updates though? Everything and Anything! Let people know where you're going to be, what events you have, when orders are due, what you're working on, featured products, recipes, product reviews, sales, specials, coupon codes, articles on related subjects and anything else you think fits. Doing things like a "featured products" or simply making a point to say "good morning" and "good night" or "Hey, breaking for lunch, what are you all having" is enough to get people on your page, and from there on your site... Which of course, is the goal!

So now there is only one question left to cover... 
   Why are you still reading and not setting up your pages?

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