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Social media for businesses: Do you need it?

By Narayan Sapkota

Social Media in NepalSocial media isn’t a fad  nor is it something people do  because they’ve nothing else to do. The biggest growing social reality is social media outlets. 50% of all the people who use the internet are on Facebook and if the people on Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. 93% of all business own Facebook pages. Every second 2 LinkedIn profiles are created and 53% of people recommend products on twitter. More links are made, more businesses are founded and more deals made online than in person. And if you are someone who’s missing out on this, you have been missing out on a world of opportunities presented by social media.

People who follow your activities on social media are people who will always be in the loop for anything you have to offer through your business website and business as well. Not just short term benefits, you even get recognition that would last years and would promote brand influence. People tend to overlook the indirect benefits that they could derive if they use social media to promote their business alongside interacting with their audience. Facebook and other social media are a great means through which traffic can be generated to your website. Most news and media sites generate a lot of online traffic on their websites through exporting articles and news to their Facebook posts and tweets. Social media is free, easy and largely effective to get any information across.

You’ve set up your business’ Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn profile. Now what? Setting up an online social media profile that links with your website is the first step into the immense social media realm, but getting yourself noticed as a knight in shining armor, you have to slay the metaphorical social media dragon. Sounds far-fetched yes, but ask anyone who manages a popular Facebook page what it was like in the beginning. The new Facebook policy for business pages doesn’t make it easier either. Business pages unlike entertainment, news or celebrity pages don’t necessarily attract a lot of people, its upto the content and the post to generate likes and engagements.
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A business page would need to get audience first. If you’ve got decent four or five figure audiences, that’s fine. But for those just starting out, friends and family and business associates would form the backbone of your audience, paid advertisements help in expanding your audience and would also bring back business conversions. Targeting a certain type of homogeneous demographic would get you likes and help you analyze trends and conversions. Once you’ve got a few people following your posts, good posts will start breeding out new audience. If content is king, good content is definitely the emperor

Small businesses and even bigger businesses suffer from the problem of time management for social media engagement. One would think,” Naah it’s easy, I’ll just post something I find funny once in a while.” Both the approaches would be wrong—you want to post something that would engage your audience, and not something you find funny (insider jokes or personal wit may not be interesting to your audience) and “once in a while” is definitely not the way to go. A business page that posts once in two months is worse off than no business page at all. Facebook filters out inactive pages and non-interactive pages from people’s news feeds, so a constant connection needs to be maintained. Sound easy but unless you devote a certain amount of time everyday to create content, it can get hectic, unmanaged and unresponsive all at the same time. You wouldn’t want that, would you? Although it does sound dry, a strategy for Social Media Campaign is a must!

A post on a social media platform should come off as natural and organic; not something that gives the feel that it was done by a robot. Posts that appeal to the audience and would in turn engage them make for successful campaigns. Blatant business promotions and advertisements don’t work unless they are squeezed in between fun posts. If your company website has a blog, all the better as you could quote small and curious texts from the blog and link back to the original post. It’s important to know what would catch a reader’s eye and what would idly pass by through the news feed with a halfhearted mouse scroll. Studies have shown that visual content connect better to people rather than textual posts, so images and videos are better processed than lines and lines of text. Posting alone won’t suffice either, replying comments and any kind of messages would promote a healthy relationship between you and your page likers.

An excellent way to make frequent posts on some or all of the social media platforms would be to schedule posts to different times of the day. If you only get a small amount of time for social media in between replying emails and business activities, schedule posts and your stock images to different times during the day. Also peak hour posts should be made to ensure more people would view your posts. Twin posts on various social media platforms are a nice idea that would expand your horizon for a target audience. Also if you think you are running out of content; repost something that you had done a few months earlier but make it a habit of posting original and fresh content rather than pilfering stuff from others.

So get your businesses social media campaigns running, make people laugh, make them think, make them disagree with you, get them engaged, just don’t bore them!

The author is a Business Development Officer at SoftNEP. 

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