Using Social Media For Your Business

Just 20 years ago, targeting new customers required businesses to spend thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns. Since the advent of the internet, reaching out to your customers has never been easier. Of the estimated 3 billion users of the internet, 2/3 have at least one social media account. Research has also found that nearly ¾ of potential customers are more likely to buy from a business which responds to them via social media.

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Using social media as a marketing tool especially makes sense for smaller start-ups as they can:

  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Increase sales.
  • Engage with their customer base and improve their service/aftercare.

You might already have taken out a business loan from a High Street lender like Sainsburys Bank to finance your company, so you don’t want to get further into debt. One of the main benefits of social media is that it has an unbeatable ROI. For a very small initial outlay, you can reach thousands of would-be customers. Apart from boosting awareness without spending big money, you can also target your clientele much better.

Another advantage is that comments on social media can help to shape your business. You get immediate feedback so you nip any problems in the bud before they start adversely affecting your sales.

Social media is beneficial, but it must be used wisely.

Good Planning

You don’t have to open accounts with all types of social media. It’s much better to concentrate on one or two rather than trying to do too much and then not posting or engaging with your clients in a timely manner. Think about your customer base and compare the different types before deciding which one(s) would be beneficial for your company.

Like any marketing tool, you should plan how your social media platform will be used. Even if your business isn’t seasonal, plan ahead and think about upcoming holidays and celebrations and how they could be used to boost sales. Special offers or competitions on social media always work better if there’s a reason behind them.

Your Contributions

Think of the challenges facing your industry in general and make sure that your contributions are relevant to any ongoing debate. Share and comment on other posts and show your willingness to engage. Also, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing so that you continue to follow, and react to, any changes in the marketplace.

Check up on your social media accounts a couple of times a day and have a schedule to reply to customer concerns as soon as possible. On the other hand, resist the temptation to post every minute and swamp your account with comments, etc. A well-considered and well-thought-out comment is better than posting anything and everything which comes into your head. You’re also less likely to make a gaffe as well.

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About the Author

Ankur Shah
Ankur Shah is the founder of the Value Investing India Report, a leading independent, value oriented journal of the Indian financial markets. Ankur has more than eight years of equity research experience covering emerging markets, with a focus on India and South East Asia. He has worked as both a buy-side investment analyst for a global long/short equity hedge fund and a sell-side analyst for an emerging markets investment bank. Ankur is a graduate of Harvard Business School. You can learn more about his latest views on global markets at the Value Investing India Report. -- He can be emailed at AnkurShah47@gmail.com