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Social media for business – A necessary evil?

Better Business: Social Networking

Lorelei Gibb, marketing director at Dolphin Computer Upgrades, talks about the value of social media in driving your business.

Love it or loathe it, social media is here – and your clients are using it – yes, your customers!

Have you, as a business, embraced it? Do you understand and utilise the power of this online platform? Or is it lurking, just to the periphery of your vision, snarling like an over grown monster, demanding you take notice?

At this year’s PCR Boot Camp the first panel session revolved around whether independent retailers could ever compete with multi-nationals. Two points stuck out – firstly, that as an independent you need to build a more personal relationship with customers; and secondly, that you can no longer ignore social media.

And yet, rather surprisingly, very few IT firms have taken the plunge.

Where independent retailers have an edge is in customer service, in accountability, and in trust. There is no greater advocate for your company than positive word of mouth and social media provides you with the platform to stand out from the crowd.

Social media campaigns are an excellent way to show your customers that you’re human. They also give you the platform to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, and to keep your brand fresh in people’s minds over and above some of the ‘big boys’.

Okay, so signing up for a Twitter account, or launching your Facebook Business page won’t grant you a place on the world stage overnight. Nor will maximising your Linkedin profile and posting regular updates to Google+ create an increase in sales that you never dreamt possible – overnight. You need to commit to this for the long-haul.

If you utilise social media to its full potential, it will enable you to exhibit your prowess as an independent, as an expert in your field, as a company who cares not just about the immediate sale but about your customers in the long term. It also gives you the ability to ‘listen’, to discover what people want, and to keep up with the very latest developments in this rapidly changing market.

So can you continue to ignore the snarling monster? Yes you can – there is no law to say that you should be utilising social media. However, you need to remember that not only are your customers completely fluent with Twitter, Facebook and Google, but the chances are that your competitors are beginning to use it to chat with, and to lure away, your client base.

And whilst anybody can sign up online for free, we would recommend that you get some expert tuition in how to utilise social media in the best way for your company – if used to its full, glorious potential it will help elevate your brand to a new level – but if used badly it will expose you in a way that no company would ever want.

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