Be more social

Networking sites offer a way of reaching thousands of customers

Published:  06 May, 2014

The world is much more digital today than it was even a decade ago. The invention of the smartphone has meant that individuals always have an online presence and are able to write and interact with many more people than ever before.

The social media revolution continues apace, becoming more than just communication but a powerful marketing tool. The phrases 'find us on Twitter' and 'like us on Facebook' are now commonplace, while LinkedIn is the popular networking site for business. It is hard to imagine how companies coped without at least some social media interaction in the past, as it offers them a global communication tool.

Adam Petford, owner of social media trainer The Bizlinks, presented at the recent IAAF networking morning on the benefits of LinkedIn to business. He stated: "Using LinkedIn gives you access to hundreds, if not thousands, of business leads, something that was not possible without a lot of time, effort and investment before. If you find a contact you would like to talk to, it is also possible to see if you each know someone, which breaks down barriers by asking to be introduced. This makes it a strong sales tool."

Twitter offers simple sound bites, allowing business to give uncomplicated updates that are quick and simple to read and are available to thousands of people. Much like website RSS feeds allow desktop access to the latest news, the social network allows short comments with detail that can then be referenced back to source, using links to websites, images and photographs, drawing traffic to your business, all in 140 characters.

Andy Savva, Managing Director at Brunswick Garage in London, adds: "The digital revolution, rather than destroying an independent, is offering solutions that are simplifying the complicated tasks of running a business and allowing us to offer a service and engage with customers that a franchised dealer could only dream of. Social media has become an amazing tool to communicate and engage with customers on a level never possible before. Rather than fighting against the digital revolution, Brunswick Garage has found that it's offering unrivalled benefits that are helping to improve the efficiency of offline businesses electronically."

However, when it comes to Twitter, care needs to be taken as to how things are presented, while ensuring that you continue to use your account, rather than leaving it idle for weeks or months, is also vital. Not tweeting will lead customers to believe that you may not be trading anymore and this will mean potential customers will not contact you. Social media marketing is a simple tool but one that requires dedication.

Facebook is known more as a personal network, yet businesses still have pages and can use these to offer promotions and marketing opportunities. When a page is 'liked,' any updates you make will automatically appear on a person's newsfeed. You can post video, news, images or even offers and these come through to your potential customers, all of this on a platform that is free to use.

If done correctly, social media is an ideal marketing tool. However, it is also one that requires commitment and knowledge. For a chance to reach thousands of potential customers directly it is a chance worth taking if you are confident you can do it correctly.

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