Walking briskly down the path of online communication channels before it, social media is an ambiguous ambler – a tool with a variety of use cases that’s rich with opportunity. Broken down, it’s also a form of electronically stored information (ESI), capable of being archived, organized and discovered like email. But our focus in the past isn’t to explore how to manage this form of ESI, but rather to explore the social atmosphere and how Sherpa Software utilizes its many tools.
As a small business, it can be difficult to garner a top-level understanding of how to best take advantage of your social channels. In this post, we’ll talk about four ways that we use social media to reach our online audience, purvey product information and grow our following. Our hope is that other small businesses might pick up a few helpful tips, and that we’ll learn about something that’s worked for your business in the comments below. Let’s do this!
1. Share Content with Followers
We’ve found social media to be an appropriate channel to share the content we create. Pretty obvious, right? Maybe, but it’s worth noting, nonetheless. Presenting your content – be it a blog post, press release, video, etc. – where people are, rather than just where you want them to be, is essential to building your online brand. In the past, we might have missed out on reaching a number of individuals who didn’t regularly visit our blog. Now, we can reach those same individuals via our Facebook page, Twitter, and the like.
2. Engage with Followers
Engagement is one of the most important aspects of a business-customer relationship, even in a B2B setting. It comes in many forms, including, but not limited to:
- Responses to questions about products and services
- Discussions around content you’ve published
- Friendly banter (about how rough Monday was, the office coffee, etc.)
- Appreciation for reviews and friendly critiques
- Exchanges with other businesses in your sector
- Feedback from a recent interaction (tradeshows, support calls, etc.)
The list goes on and on, really. Engagement is key to building real relationships via social media, which is something that every business should strive to do.
3. Bring Company Culture Online
Being aware of compliance regulations that pertain to what your company publishes online is a must. That said, there are certain things that you might be encouraged to share with your following. Sharing funny pictures from company events (using fun, outgoing language) or posting the occasional kitten to spice up your Facebook page can go a long way in bringing your company culture to folks that might not otherwise be exposed to it. Your customers appreciate this sort of thing.
Don’t get too carried away, now. There’s a fine line between fostering culture and becoming a repository for funny photos. Utilizing these types of posts intermittently can be great for both your business and current/potential customers.
4. Reach New Audiences
One of the great attributes of the internet is that it’s incredibly open. People are searching for information on a wide variety of topics, and each person prefers to digest that information in a different manner. We’ve found that – through the use of our YouTube channel, Slideshare account, RSS Feed, and, most recently, iTunes podcast – we can provide valuable information for a number of different audiences.
Learning to use these social interfaces does take time, and the content takes time to develop, of course. However, if making this information available to your audiences helps to open new doors and establish new relationships, it’s well worth it!
It’s important to remember that social media is ever-evolving. As a business or individual, you don’t just learn it; you keep learning it. We learn something new every day! These four use cases should give you a general idea of how your business can best utilize the social space. If you have anything to add, we’d love to hear it! Leave your comments below.