Many businesses are still unsure about the value of social media and remain reluctant to look into the possibilities, assuming that social media is not relevant for their type of business. Some business owners are not well informed about social media, assuming that social media is ‘just Facebook’ and therefore just for a certain audience.
For some businesses, it will not be appropriate to engage in social media. But before deciding that your business doesn’t need social media, consider social media in the context of your overall business planning.
Regardless of whether you think your business is suited to social media, business owners should consider:
Social media’s influence on search results – finding your website is likely to become easier due to the influence of social media on the search engines.
Your customers and prospects might be talking about your business in social media, positively or negatively – you won’t know this until you listen. You could be missing out on insights and business opportunities by limiting your awareness of this activity.
Your competitors may already be influencing conversations, and influential customers (or prospects) through the use of social media.
Rather than assuming that all businesses have to use social media in the same way, or assuming that your type of business doesn’t need social media at all, be sure to think through the various social media options.
Overall business planning for social media should consider the objectives and goals of the business and whether social media can support these – then the appropriate activities might range from blogging, creating an expert group on LinkedIn, to using Twitter for customer service or alerting customers to daily special offers through a simple Facebook page.
Social media can be used extensively or simply. There is no standard formula for success. The only certainty is that social media’s influence will continue to grow. Ignoring social media or treating it as a fad that will go away is not a sound business decision. Ensuring that social media is considered as an option is important, even if ultimately a business decides not to participate in social media, this decision should only be made once the influence of social media is understood and the options are evaluated.