Why Should Businesses Use Social Media?

Generally speaking, corporate employers without much exposure to social media, tend to critique it as a “juvenile fad” without much professional application. However, as businesses have gradually started to experiment with marketing and networking over social media platforms in the past decade, those with exposure to social media know that these stereotypes are largely unwarranted and can substantially limit a business’s reach in today’s global economy.

Now more than ever, the success of a business is highly contingent on its ability to reach and appeal to a wide audience base. But can this goal really be achieved through local or regional, onsite, hands-on, face-to-face marketing? Possibly, although many businesses will likely find that such efforts will yield high costs with a debatably satisfactory return on investment. In other words, face-to-face marketing is not necessarily the most effective way to market one’s organization in today’s global economy (at least not upfront).

Sure, most businesses realize this and make it a point to establish a website, but for many, the reach ends there. And even if a business only has a website, how can they really hope to drive potential customers to the site without establishing some sort of prior knowledge through direct, face-to-face marketing?

This is where social media needs to intervene.

For those with any sort of rudimentary understanding of business and marketing, there is a common adage that states, “go where your customers are.” With today’s ever-increasing tech-savvy market, there is no doubt that the numbers of social media users are quite high and will only continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Plus (and this is really the catch), these users are readily accessible and are looking to establish connections online!

In today’s market, a website can no longer be an adequate solution to address the needs of a business’s customers. Whereas a website largely functions as a static, one-way venue for businesses to speak with customers, social media is all about conversing with your target market and allowing them to share in the communication process, interact with, and ultimately experience your business. Without a doubt, social media functions as one of the easiest ways to connect with a large number of customers and prospects, and engage in professional branding that is necessary for corporate growth. Not to mention, the advertising is substantially cheaper!

Granted, while the power of social media can be powerful if properly harnessed, often times it is misused. When a business seeks to use social media, it is vital that they understand the importance of establishing a loyal community. Social media cannot be used exclusively as a venue to sell. It must function first and foremost as an environment where other users feel valued and view your business as a trustworthy “friend.”

Employing the same logic that it would be ineffective marketing to walk into a crowded room and shout, “Hello everyone, buy my product,” using social media as a platform to saturate your audience with sales requests, is a guaranteed way to quickly lose your audience’s respect. All businesses SHOULD be utilizing social media, but the marketing needs to be quiet and subtle. Nevertheless, by going to your customers and establishing yourself as a trustworthy source, over time your customers’ sales will come to you, your credibility will increase, people will share their positive experiences with others, and your reach will exponentially grow.

How to Effectively Plan and Promote Your Event

When it comes to promoting your business and reaching out to potential new customers, there are few strategies that are more effective than planning to exhibit your work at trade shows or other promotional events. Every year, a multitude of such events are hosted across the United States, offering businesses an opportunity to meet with buyers, face-to-face.

But what exactly goes into planning for an event? How can a business properly promote itself to ensure that it isn’t spending excessive amounts of money on marketing?

First and foremost, it is of utmost importance for a business to set specific goals for the events that they plan to attend. If you going to a trade show, are you seeking to meet new people, close potential sales, or raise awareness for the services that your business provides? By setting these specific goals, businesses can appropriately select which trade shows or events might offer them the highest return on investment, as well as approach such events with a more refined and confident plan of action.

It is also vital that businesses come to a simple, yet fairly profound conclusion about events: by their very nature, events are social affairs. Since those who attend trade shows or other promotional events tend to consist of like-minded prospects looking to connect and interact with their peers, the advantages of utilizing social media platforms to reach out to such prospects can be enormous. In fact, social media platforms can provide businesses with a complete package for planning and promoting their services at any given event!

To elaborate, in the weeks preceding a specific event, businesses can begin to raise awareness for the event that they plan to attend in a subtle manner (i.e. occasionally posting reminders of when events will be held). As these efforts to raise awareness are made over a range of different social media platforms, businesses can use monitoring tools to listen and respond to their audience, as well as identify who their target audience is and what platforms they are most active on.

Through these efforts made in the days leading up to the event, businesses can ensure that they will have a small following of people who are interested in their services or available products during the event itself. From here, businesses can continue to build upon the conversation with their target audience, consistently generating engagement through interaction over social media platforms and perhaps the creation of a unique event hashtag.

When these steps are taken, businesses will increase their target audience and raise awareness for their services, subsequently yielding a more loyal following with genuine interest in maintaining their relationships with the business. With that said, to keep this network of individuals and continue to build upon it, businesses must consciously make an effort to interact with people after any given event is over. This interaction could take place via blog posts about the event, personal thanks to those who expressed interest, surveys asking for feedback and ideas for future events, or simply continued interaction with individuals on various social media platforms throughout the course of the year.

If these steps are taken, businesses should be able to approach events with a huge sigh of relief. By setting goals and capitalizing on opportunities offered by social media platforms, businesses will unquestionably have a more effective plan for promoting their services at any given event.