If one was to ask themselves where everyone is today, the answer would probably be “online”. The world of business has changed tremendously in the last decade. Before the age of technology boomed, advertising your business was easily done via newspaper or print advertisements. Looking around now, there are hardly any print copies of newspapers or magazines for people to purchase and read. Nowadays, most people opt to subscribe to a news or magazine channel where a fixed fee is paid and the document is sent straight via email. Ten years ago, it was normal to text one another as a means of communication but with the introduction of instant messaging applications, this has changed. With almost no cost to communicate with one another, most people have moved to this new way of communication.
Our lives have moved online, with a recorded 59% of the world’s population being active internet users as of April 2020 (Statista, 2020). According to Ciprian (2013), businesses should look at social media sites that have allowed them to grow, either in sales or visibility.
Why use social media for your business
Below are some major reasons, according to Ciprian (2013), why using social media is a good idea for your business.
- Cheaper with more exposure – going the online route to expose your business is a faster and cheaper way to reach thousands of people in a shorter space of time than using print advertisements. In 2010, Forbes reported that 94% of corporates were on social media and 85% said this increased their exposure (Forbes, 2010). How often have you posted some business content with almost instant responses from online users? This is incomparable with using a newspaper, for example, to market your business or advertise a job. For clarification, this does not mean that using print advertisements is not useful anymore, it is! Not everyone is on social media so using both forms will reach the maximum amount of people possible.
- Effective branding – Social media is a great tool for small businesses. Perhaps, they have not been around for as long as large corporations so marketing the brand is crucial for its growth and exposure. In a survey conducted by Ciprian (2013), 50% of customers purchased goods and services based on the reviews they saw online. this explains why it is crucial to have a role in the organisation for someone who engages with people online. the more personal and responsive a business is, the more people may want to carry on interacting with that business. Each positive interaction may push a customer to recommend others to use the services or purchase the goods.
- Social media enables director customer interaction – As mentioned above, direct customer interaction is important. In 2013, 53% of marketers were using a two-way marketing approach with customers online and in that year, there were over 1,27 billion social media users. Seven years later, that number has only increased significantly.
What can you do to increase your visibility?
Trier (2018), provides some useful and practical ways that businesses can take advantage of to be seen on social media. They are provided below:
- Ensure that every social media platform that the organisation has signed up with is visible on the company’s website. When traffic is driven to the websites, some people may decide to go through the different products or services offered. It is important to have the icons readily accessible on each page they land on.
- Have all employees include the company’s social media handles in their email signatures. The most common way of interacting with clients and suppliers is via email. Whenever someone opens an email from your business, they must be able to see the social media handles. Although they may not be inclined to open them in the beginning, a constant reminder every time they open emails from your business may nudge them to go and have a look. Now think of how many people open emails from your business daily. The opportunities for growth are high.
- Fully utilise social media platforms. Whenever there is an opportunity to interact or market the brand, it should be taken.
- All employees should have a LinkedIn profile which is strategically structured to represent the brand well through its employees.
- Include your Twitter or other social site handles on your business cards. Twitter is a quick way to see what is happening in the world of work and with your business. It is easy to create polls and surveys that people can respond to. With this simple task, the business can use the data collected to improve its functioning.
- Use hashtags in your posts. Most social media platforms use an algorithm that picks up on the most used words on the site. When using hashtags that are in line with those words, your search appearances increase and the chance of being recognised and reached out to increase as well.
It is never too late to go online
Statista (2020) has recorded an estimate of 3.08 billion social media users in the world for the year 2020. It has projected a growth of 350 million users by the year 2023. This is an average growth of one million users each year. It is never too late to go online because the community is only growing and every business has a market of people who will positively respond to the type of business conducted.
Sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have become a major player in the world of business. Each platform should be fully utilised to grow the business. According to Statista (2020), has an incredible number of nearly 2.5 billion active users this year. Imagine the number of people you can reach without having to pay much. LinkedIn is a fast-growing platform that has connected business and job seekers globally. To date, the site has an estimated 500 million users which are growing every day.
A major point to take away is, the importance of the handling of your business’ social media accounts. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation but a simple mistake can tarnish the image of the organisation. Ensure that the accounts are managed by a user(s) who know how to professionally navigate the field. Also, train employees on how their personal social media accounts can positively or negatively affect the organisation if their accounts are linked to those of the business.
It is never too late to start a page for your business on social media. A large number of people are joining every day. Many people are sharing captivating content that they come across. Let your business be caught in it. There are endless opportunities on the internet and many ways to get to your target market.
Thandeka Madziwanyika is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 (242) 481946-48/481950 or cell number +263 78 318 0936 or email: [email protected] or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
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