If youâ€™re a business looking to market yourself online and tap into a whole new customer base, then social media is definitely a tool you donâ€™t want to be avoiding. While itâ€™s not always the easiest platform to get working, once up and running, thereâ€™s huge potential to having an active online customer base.
The benefit to your business may not be entirely clear, so weâ€™re going to cover how to grow your network and how to use your network to get customers through your doors.
There are literally hundreds of different social networks about. Some of them, like Facebook and Twitter, have massive market penetration and account for the majority of online social interactions. Others will have merely a fraction of this user base, but will more likely be far more specific to a certain topic.
If you like this article, you might be interested in some of our older articles on Social Media Icons, Deals Dollars And Social Media, The Story Behind 10 Social Networks, and How Should A Web Designer Use The Services Of Social Media?
Twitter and Facebook
For the purposes of this article, the focus is going to be on Twitter and Facebook. The sheer size of the user base makes these two the most worthwhile networks to get involved in, unless there is a specific network around your target niche. The last thing you want to do is prevent potential customers from being included in your network because they use a different platform; so generally speaking, Facebook and Twitter are going to provide you with maximum exposure and therefore maximum ROI.
To briefly cover how these networks work on a very basic level for those of you who do not already know.
Allows users to create an online profile, and use this profile to upload images and videos, communicate with other â€œfriendsâ€ and interact with other people via various functions such as writing on peopleâ€™s walls, commenting on photos and â€œlikingâ€ things. The like function provides the bridge between Facebook and the outside world, allowing recommendations of content on the web inside of Facebook.
Facebook also offers businesses the ability to create â€œfan pagesâ€ to promote the business. This is the equivalent of a profile for businesses.
Is slightly different. Users on Twitter follow other users they are interested in, and see updates in their stream of the users that they follow. These updates, often referred to as â€œtweetsâ€, are up to 140 characters in length and are displayed to every person who is following the tweeter.
So How Do You Grow Your Network?
Growing your network through these sites is done mainly by your followers or fans. One of the best ways to get fans / followers in the first place is to put on some sort of promotion rewarding people for signing up.
By providing incentives that encourage users to get involved and also spread your message to their networks you quickly build up your own network of followers who are all potential customers. Competitions are generally spread quite quickly as the effort required to enter them (such as a retweet) is very little, and the users donâ€™t have to go out of their way to do so.
As your social network builds, your updates, offers and promotions will get in front of an ever increasing amount of followers. Building your network should be an ongoing process, and itâ€™s important to make sure that you offer your followers real value in terms of updates and offers. Itâ€™s a lot easier to lose followers than it is to gain them, and lack of any value is a sure-fire way to lose them.
Measuring ROI From Your Social Media Campaigns
When planning your social media campaign, youâ€™ll need to consider the benefits it will have to your business, and also how you will measure these. Without knowing how many customers the campaign has driven, you canâ€™t determine the ROI and make informed decisions. So keep this in mind and make sure you track any promotions you have on at the time.
So you can see how, with a bit of thought, social media can help you target a relevant audience and get your promotions in front of them, helping to drive more customers for a much lower cost than traditional advertising. So get involved now and start tapping into a whole new audience you may have never know existed.