Unless you've been living under a rock for the last several years you know that social media has exploded onto the digital landscape. According to Alexa, a company who ranks web traffic, three of the top ten most globally visited sites are social. Topping the list are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with the social video-sharing platform YouTube in the mix as well. The rest of the list is comprised of search engines and Wikipedia (another site considered social). Until recently, the trend has been that these companies were mostly B2C, but as of late B2B companies have jumped on the bandwagon as well. Social media is great for marketers, but why should you and your employees be using social media? Here are a few reasons why.
Building Your Personal Brand
One of the top reasons to start getting involved with social media is a selfish one. Just like the company you own or work for, you have a brand of your own: a personal brand.
Building your personal brand is additive to your current company's brand and demonstrates your knowledge and strength to future companies, not to mention the opportunities that can be created by developing your network. Creating a dialog around topics you're interested in and sharing content related to those topics can help you to gain a following as a thought leader. Additionally, employers are increasingly looking to social media as part of the vetting process for potential new hires. Developing a strong personal brand can add credibility to your experience. StaffingIndustry.com reports that in 2013, 19% of hiring managers surveyed found something positive via social media that influenced their decision in hiring a candidate.
SEO and Organic Impact For Your Company
As the search engine landscape constantly changes and engine algorithms are continuously refined, one signal is clear: user engagement is of the highest value. Sharing more of your company's content means more visits, engagement, and link-sharing from others in your network. As you share more, the domino effect ensues. You share more, then your network will share more, assuming you are spreading relevant content. If you can get your network's network to share, that's how content goes viral- the gold medal of content sharing. Think of it like a chain letter, one letter forwarded on to ten people and the numbers start to grow exponentially. Sharing creates links, clicks, visits, brand impressions and engagement, all of which lead to a positive impact for your company.
Ice Breaker For Sales
If you're in the sales business (and aren't we all really?) social sharing and network building can also bring some unexpected surprises your way. Social channels are a great way to connect with your prospects and research their needs. If they're asking their networks for recommendations on a product or service, you can send them a link to help in their search and begin to build that trust and rapport. Once you've engaged with them, they may see something you post or share, reminding them to reach back out to you or start up an ice breaking dialog that will lead to you a closing sale.
Some Tips To Get Started
Hopefully by now you've realized it's time to get involved with social media beyond the marketing you're doing through a business branded account. Now you need a few tips to focus your efforts:
First, don't try to be everywhere. LinkedIn is the best place for business connections, followed by Twitter. Facebook is often more about friends than business contacts, but I'll bet your Facebook friends are involved in some level of business and are interested in related topics too. Start with those top three and later you can move on to others.
Second, don't just spam out link after link. You need to establish yourself as an authority on a topic of interest and bring a human element to your posts. One of the best things about Twitter is that you can send an "@" message to anyone. Start up a conversation with someone else of influence. Retweet and share the posts of those you follow, and respond back to them.
Finally, make social media a habit. You don't need to invest a ton of time, so start with 15 minutes a day. Mark it on your calendar and choose a time when people are more active on social channels. On LinkedIn, people are most active at the start and end of the workday. Conversely, on Twitter, the best time to create reach is between 1:00 to 3:00 PM. It's also important to account for time zone, and tools like Hoot Suite or Social Bro can optimize time-zone analytics by allowing you to schedule your posts for a future time.
Remember, social media shouldn't feel like a chore. It's a great opportunity to gain knowledge and perspective as well as share it. Happy posting!
(image via freedigitalphotos.net)