Many successful business entrepreneurs will earnestly inform you that social media marketing and blogging should be an integral part of your business growth strategy. But how does that translate to your business? Many of us are left wondering why is it necessary to have a social media presence? What exactly should we post about, and how can we find our target audience?

I’m not a fan of social media but after many years of non-participation I finally relented and signed up for a Facebook account. Here’s what I discovered:

  • Social media marketing is largely free advertising. You can post ads, run promotions and be a friendly resource to future clients.
  • Potential opportunities are online. Once you belong to a social media group or two you will notice that there’s lots of information online that simply isn’t available anywhere else. Unlike posting a job ad in the newspaper, sharing information via social media is quick, easy and rarely cost prohibitive.
  • Keep an eye on your competition. You don’t want to miss out on potential business that your competitor is finding online, so you need to be in the market place as well. Even having the opportunity to see what your competitors or other businesses are posting is beneficial to you.
  • Create connections with your audience. Social media encourages interaction, comments and feedback. It also gives you the opportunity to follow up on leads and reply to all comments.
  • Tell the world about your product or services. This can be achieved through a direct approach, like writing about the products or services you offer. Alternatively, try an indirect method where you could post about a trade event you will be attending. If you’re unsure what type of content to post, you can follow, watch and learn from other businesses who have big budgets for social media marketing.
  • You’re able to measure your results and gain insight into your audience. Digital marketing analytics allow you to track readers, popular topics, shares and comments.
  • You have increased chances of showing up in an organic web search. Every time you blog on your website you create one more indexed page. The more content you have the greater the chances that your business will show up in a search.
  • Establish yourself as an expert. Publishing information which is genuinely helpful or interesting to others can establish you as an expert. You can be a resource to others which provides you with an opportunity to show what you know.
  • Access your target audience. Your post can include a call to action such as asking followers to sign up for a free brochure, webinar, trial etc. Your content may include an asset which someone would be willing to exchange their contact information for.
  • Create resources. During the course of my work I find that there are topics which I frequently need to explain to clients, such as what does high resolution mean? Or, what is vector art? Blogging is an opportunity to create resources and provide information which you can refer to, ultimately saving yourself time.
  • Make your business more visible. Clients are more comfortable with businesses that they are familiar with. By being visible online it gives your potential clients a chance to see that you are an established, trustworthy, business professional.
  • The benefits will accumulate. Initially it may seem like you are creating unnecessary work for yourself but the reality is, once you have created the material you can re-use and re-purpose it wherever you like. Well-thought-out content will continue to be of value for months and years to come, think of your work as a long term asset.

Using social media for business is entirely different to having your own personal page. You don’t need to share your entire life online just because you have a Facebook account. The content you create can be entirely business related. I’ve had my Facebook account for over two years now and have learned that even if you don’t fully embrace the whole concept of it, there are certain aspects of social media marketing and blogging that are undoubtedly a good idea.