You know how reunions go. There is the “so… what do you do?” question, and instead of sticking with my original plan of just saying I am a tie dye artist with a successful rabbit farming business on the side, I do it again…
“I am a social media strategist.”
…and then I get the dreaded “oh…” in a tone that gives away the degree of confusion rather than the intended element of surprise.
Similarly employees and management are faced with the same bland expression when they embark on introducing social media to their businesses, and this confirms concerns regarding a lack of understanding on how social media channels can be utilised for businesses.
Gone are the days of using social media only for stalking your high school sweet heart on Facebook, only following Barry Bateman for the latest court proceedings on Twitter and pinning images of baby animals to a board called ‘Cute’ on Pinterest.
Social media is another tool to add to the toolbox of communication, marketing, sales, and HR strategies, but not all management teams understand the processes and value of social media business. But the increased use of social media in business will require employees to become social media savvy.
A good place to start is to take a look at some of the recent trends and applications in social media impacting business:
In this age of multimedia consumption, people are using more devices across a common set of platforms. In a recent blog post, Virgin boss Richard Branson highlights that businesses should take their brands to where the conversations are happening — online, on mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
By taking the principles of social media marketing and applying it to your business, social business can be a legitimate business decision enhancing tool.
Content has always been king – but the rise of visual content places a renewed focus on platforms aligned with displaying quality content. Platforms such as Instagram and Vine are adding the visual component to social marketing. It is also evident in our own social media insights that posts containing images on Facebook and Twitter are more popular. Kissmetrics tells us that Facebook posts containing images get an average of 53 percent more “likes,” 104 percent more “shares” and 84 percent more click-throughs than updates containing only text.
Video marketing has emerged as an alternative and more cost effective marking tool. YouTube has experienced explosive growth for a number of years, seeing as more than 1-billion unique visitors visit YouTube each month and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Second screen experiences are the future. More than 75% of the world has access to mobile devices. Tablets and smartphones are becoming TV companion devices, allowing added levels of interactivity, whether on social media or dedicated applications.
The growth of social marketing has introduced a new way of adding value; through “inbound marketing,” a type of marketing where brands create content, conversations and valuable resources that draw customers to their products or websites without paid marketing.
Brands are becoming social influencers: thanks to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, brands now have the opportunity to build an audience of engaged participants and grow the reach of their voice, opinions and products.
There are much more to consider, but the point here is to encourage employees to become more social media savvy and explore the multitude of social media opportunities for your business. Follow the trends and get familiar with the platforms – the chances are that people are already talking about your brand – jump in and engage!