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Jun 8, 2013

Social Media in Business: How It's Helpful and How It's Harmful

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Social Media in Business: How It's Helpful and How It's Harmful : image

Business marketing is changing. It's time to start profiting from social media resources, which are mostly free, and can get people excited about the goods or services you provide.


A January 2013 survey from the Social Media Examiner found that almost 90 percent of small-and medium-sized businesses report increased exposure is one of the top benefits from social media — which encompasses any website or mobile fun function used to communicate and exchange content.

Is your business getting exposure?

As you begin utilizing new communication platforms — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs — follow these guidelines that define the ways your business can be helped or harmed by social media.

Speaking Out

Begin this journey by establishing a company website, blog and Facebook page. These three pillars will be the foundation that other social media outlets will point to. Your website can go into great detail, defining the products and services you offer. Your blog can comment on industry trends and allow people to share what it's like to use your services. On Facebook people can ask questions or participate in contests; whatever it takes to establish regular interactions.

Throughout all three platforms, use images to let the public get an inside look at the faces working at the company. You should have an "About Us" section that identifies your employees with descriptions and images. If visitors think they can relate to the people who represent your business, they will want to come back.

Once you these three pillars are in place, experiment with other platforms to see which ones best meet your business needs. Analyzing which platforms get results and rule out the sites which aren't helping you grow.

Staying Consistent

As you jump into using social media, make sure your efforts are rewarded. Misusing these marketing tools can backfire, and end up wasting your time, rather than building your business.

Many people who want to incorporate social media into their business strategy don't put in enough time to make a difference. You have to take the time to make webpages attractive and easy to maneuver, along with posting relevant content — even if it's a short status update here and there. It's not enough to simply check on the site every so often. Schedule a regular time in the work day for someone to post industry news, special promotions, and questions that interact with your viewers.

Another error that results from not committing enough time is leaving users with an inconsistent picture of your business and what it represents. Your brand and what you value should be clear. Leaving a haphazard impression of what your brand is will not make users want to come back. It should be like a relationship, where users what to return to get to know you better.

In the same vein of putting time in and identifying the business clearly, you want to make sure that the way you respond to visitors in consistent. When you ask for feedback, you need to respond to criticisms. When there are complaints, address users and make changes if possible. Show users your brand is reliable and trustworthy by the whole experience of interacting with your business pleasant.

About author:
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Debt.org, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.

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