Social Media is so much more than setting up a Facebook page or opening a Twitter account.  It has a strong business case for use in business communications and the use of different social networking platforms is growing on a daily basis.

But what is social media?

Wikipedia
Media for social interaction;

Using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue

Think of Amazon or eBay, one of the strongest elements of their offering is the community feedback angle.  We all now base our purchasing decisions on other people’s feedback, it’s Reeds Law, the Law of the pack, we are influenced by those that we do not know.

This is the power of social media, not just connecting with people but finding out information about then and doing something about it.

Think about LinkedIn, if I communicate with someone new prior to meeting them I will always establish how, if at all, we are connected on LinkedIn, why? When I walk into the meeting I’ll know what they look like from their picture so no embarrassing moments walking around Starbucks asking “are you Steve Jones?” I will also know some of their background so will be able to ask emotion based questions to put them at their ease and finally I’ll know who they are connected to, again, I will use emotional reasoning to create a bond by discussing common people.

All of this is possible due to social networking.

But why use it for business?

As with any marketing campaign their are key reasons to use social media within your business, you can boil them down to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase customer base
  • Increase customer spend
  • Increase frequency of customer spend
  • Enhance level of customer service
  • Develop internal or external feedback process

Fundamentally social media is a communication tool to reach out to stakeholders in your business, be they new or old customers, colleagues, managers or event parents from a school.

A great example of internal social networking is Yammer.  As a tool it is a cross between Twitter, a forum and a blog it is a closed network accessed by invitation only and is being successfully deployed in a lot of large organisations who want to break down the barrier between those at the coal face and the senior team.

Key to Success?

As with anything, plan it, do it, evaluate it and then do something again.

If you would like some help understanding how social media could really work for your business or you want to look at your plan and work out what should be next then please get in touch by clicking here.