How can entrepreneurs use social media sites to their business advantage?

by Ashvini on March 27, 2011 · 5 comments

in Entrepreneurship

When you think of social media, what comes to our mind ? Facebook would be the choice of majority. New age entrepreneurs and businesses should take notice

Social media entrepreneur

This recall also happens to thousands of potential customers of your business that have been interacting on social media sites for days and nights. Facebook which till now used for chatting with friends and sharing photos is now becoming a place where serious business happens. The advent of social media has not only transformed the way we conduct business but also the way we look at designing our business strategies.

Twitter has grown 1444% as per this statistics in year 2009.

The valuations of Facebook has reached around 82 billion dollars. Maybe this kind of valuations leads us to think of them as another dotcom bubble.

It is however important to understand, bubble or not , if these social media sites can help us to drive traffic to our website and bring in more people, we need to take a serious look at them as one of our prime advertising and marketing channel.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter can be a great cost effective tool to handle your business functions . You can do advertising, brand promotion, contests, product launches , complaint redressal, CSR (Corporate social responsibility)showcase and everything else under the sun using social media. The enormous reach of the social media means that you will not need to spend your hard earned dollars on print ads, television commercials or anything else that puts a hole in your budget. In addition, you can even track much more effectively, if your advertising campaign is having a great success.

Let us take a look at a few ways how various companies are using social media sites to their advantage.

  1. Amazon.com is selling diapers through facebook store. That the company was able to generate huge amount of traffic to its site tells a lot about the growing power of social media.
  2. NBA has also opened a Facebook store where you can shop for the NBA merchandise.

You will find plenty of such examples where social media is being used to increase revenue and build brands.Hence it is very clear that you will have to use them at one point or the other in your business activities. But how to do that?

Here are some of the ways you can use social media to not only bolster your ad campaigns but also to bring in those yummy dollars in revenue. Let us take a look at a few of them.

  1. Find out groups that have common interest as yours

  2. Social media is all about forming a community. In good old days, people used to visit markets with families and discuss their likes and dislike with shopkeepers. It was like a big community.

    Times have changed and technology has taken over our communication. However the communication between humans is still defined by relating, sharing and forming groups. Finding the right group takes its own time, however once done can provide great rewards for telling your story.

    For e.g. if your company sells music equipment, it is a good idea to search for groups that comprise of artistes and people with musical tastes. That would help to generate the right kind of traffic to your business.

  3. Be active on the social media sites

  4. It is quite important to interact with the members of your group. That mean sharing the stories that you have found and commenting on stories shared by others . You need to provide your point of view while being polite and respectful to other. Interacting well and often will help you to create a positive image with others.

  5. Respond to comments and queries

  6. In the due course of time, your popularity within these groups will rise. That means more people will know what your business is all about and how much competent you are. Once you reach that stage, there is quite a possibility that you would start getting business queries and questions. Be prepared for them because they are like leads for your business and some of them would eventually become orders for your business .

  7. Do a press release about your product on social media site

  8. Previously, press release was all about calling a bunch of reporters and then reading to them. This kind of press release had much lesser range

    Today many companies do press release on social media sites. Also , a number of companies specialize in managing such press releases.

    While a release on the Facebook may help your company in reaching out to potential customers and fans, a release on career oriented sites such as LinkedIn help to attract employees and partners to your company

  9. Look for funding opportunities

  10. There are a number of groups especially on LinkedIn.com where you can find people discussing ideas and venture funding. It is a great place to showcase your ideas and look for potential funding partners as well.

  11. Connect with the experts in the industry

  12. With timely PR releases on the social media, it is quite possible that experts in industry start noticing you or that you find them. It is very easy now to get in touch with such experts and to know their views on industry in general and products in particular.

  13. Look for potential hires for your company

  14. Sites such as linked in are a great source of talented individuals who have the right set of skills. Building your brand and advertising your products here not only gives your company a good image but also help you to attract the right talent as well.

  15. Advertise, create a page and promote your product

    1. Your own product page
    2. Press releases
    3. Twitter posts
    4. And many others
  16. A statement from the site Facebook.com states that Over 12 months, CM Photographics generated nearly $40,000 in revenue directly from a $600 advertising investment. Social media sites are very useful when it comes to targeting a large user base with least amount of ad-spend.

    The form of such advertising can be one of these

  17. Get reviews for your products suggestions for future

  18. The best example of how to use reviews to the advantage is Amazon.com. A review of a product on Amazon.com gives a buyer sufficient information in advance, if to purchase the product. It is also possible to provide ratings so as to enable a consumer to make the decision.
    Recently Facebook introduced a polling system which can be used to create quizzes and share them. Now its very easy to create attractive questions on your product and ask users to answer them. You can also create these questions as contests leading to higher participation and publicity for your product.

  19. Create a blog and advertise it

  20. If your product is new or addresses a problem in a new way, blog is the best way to connect with your product users . A lot of companies use blog as a medium to talk about their products A blog that is informative will add to publicity of your product. Further, you can use social media to advertise your blog .

  21. Connect to affiliate partners

  22. Internet is a great place to meet people who are willing to sell your product for a commission. There are thousands of affiliates that command great influences on their community. It is a good idea to build a relationship with them so that you can sell your products to those areas and audience that you will find difficult or costly to reach physically.

    Here is one such example

  23. Create buzz around your product

  24. Understand customer needs and wants

  25. A best way to understand customer needs and wants is to interact with them on social media. Using the features such as polls, contents, reviews and others, you can understand what customers look for in a product. Once you know it, you can redesign or fine tune your products.

  26. Understand the customer satisfaction

  27. Social media can be a great source of customer reviews and feedback for your products.

  28. Look for partnership in product development , marketing

  29. There are hundreds of companies with innovative ideas about how to promote your brand and products. They have deep understanding impact of social media. Partner with such companies and watch them apply their ideas to grow your business.

  30. Create RSS feeds of all your releases

  31. A lot of people use RSS feeds to keep track of changes to a blog/site. If you have a corporate blog, publish an RSS feed to keep blog subscribers updated.

  32. Let your smart employees speak for you

  33. The best example here is Google. Google allows its top employees to speak about the changes that happen from time to time in company products and policies. Google thus lands a voice of authority to whatever it does.

    Allowing your best performing employees interacting with customers and other entities on corporate blogs gives your company an image that it knows what it is doing.

  34. Let your customers speak for you

  35. Call up your customers and ask them to like your product page on Facebook . A customer who has used your product and liked it will shower it with a great review. That is the best thing you can ask for. Also more likes means increased fan base and popularity

  36. Renew your old brands with social media

  37. It is possible that your product was once very popular. However with time, it was forgotten. However, many of the same product’s users who have grown older, still feel nostalgic about it .

    One product that I can recall is Amul. In my childhood days, Amul was one of the most famous brands in India. I still remember I won some gifts from Amul and I kept them for years. Seeing these ads again bring up all the sweet childhood memories.

    It is quite possible that your long forgotten brand can evoke such a nostalgia. You can always use social media to reach out to them . Once you advertise, you will be surprised to see how many people want to see comeback of your old brand.

    These are a just few ways you can use social media to your advantage. You may use your imagination to find more ways to find right customers and fans. Social media is a great tool to help you do that.

About The Author

{ 4 comments }

Veronica Cervera November 9, 2011 at 10:18 am

Without a doubt, social media is going to be how advertisement and promotion campaigns, big or small, are going to be done in the years ahead. And this is going to be a BIG industry. There’s no surprise why companies like Google, with their Google plus, are desperately trying to catch up.

Nicola Deiana April 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

I just recently learned the importance to be active on the social media sites, reply to any question I receive, and help other through my experience. It a good move because you boost trust to people and create a lot of followers around you.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

Hi Nicola.
The essential thing is to create a community. That is what I learned when I started visiting social media sites.

Thanks for your comment.
Ashvini

Aswani March 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Brilliant stuff…Ashvini. I really appreciate these points and I have no doubt whatsoever regarding the power the social media possess. I think finally it is up to the businesses to makes use of these social media marketing strategies to a greater effect. Also, businesses must remember that it is not always the same as expected. People may vent out frustration over your products or services but finally, it should all be handled calmly and professionally. Businesses must hope for the best but be always prepared for the worst.

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