The Best Ways To Use Social Media For Your Business

Someday, history books might divide the history of American business into three eras — B.I. (Before Internet), B.S.M. (Before Social Media), and A.S.M. (After Social Media). If they do, the A.S.M. era might be regarded as the period when small and medium-sized businesses fared the best. 
“Social Media can level the playing field,” notes theCustomer Thinkarticle “Seven Ways to Engage Your Customers Using Social Media.” ”It’s the equalizer between small and big businesses. Even solo entrepreneurial businesses can create a global presence using social media. With a strong website, optimized with the right words and phrases, a small business can make a big presence.” 
After the small business makes a big presence with social media it can utilize other services such as virtual offices to convince prospective customers and clients it’s the right company for them. A virtual office likeServcorp, for example, has meeting rooms and executive suites that small businesses which can’t afford their own offices use. 
First things first though. You might  not be able to get those crucial face-to-face meetings unless you utilize social media correctly. The best ways to use social media for your business include: 
1. Networking: 
In the B.S.M. days, you had to spend an awful lot of time going to local Chamber of Commerce meetings and other business functions as well as lots of time on the phone to meet enough prospective customers for your business to have a decent chance of succeeding. In the A.S.M. era finding prospective customers can be much easier. Social media websites such as LinkedIn have groups whose members are interested in what you — and/or your company — are interested in. Joining these groups can be a de-facto way of targeting your marketing to your most likely customers. 
Inc.magazine’s article“How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales”calls networking via social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn andPlaxoa “21st Century twist on the Internet.” “Many businesses find that this type of networking, making contacts through friends or former colleagues, can lead to new customers,” the article says. Social media networking can also lead to previously complete strangers who share your interests becoming new customers. 
2. Announcing News: 
Once you have enough “friends” on your LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media websites, you can use social media to announce company news. In the B.I. or even B.S.M. eras you often had to persuade local newspapers or, well any other media, to publish your news. You were competing against dozens of other local businesses for limited space. 
Now, YOU are in charge. In the A.S.M. era you get to decide what’s news. Do you have a new product? A new service? A new office? A new client? A new business partner? In the B.S.M. era you hoped that a prospective client would see these news items by reading newspapers or your website. What were the odds on that? In the A.S.M. era, the news is targeted to those prospective clients — and they’re much more likely to read items on their own social media pages than others’ newspapers and websites. 
3. Produce Videos AndAudios: 
Just like you had to rely on newspapers in the B.S.M. era to announce your news, you had to rely on television stations and radio stations to advertise your products and services. In the A.S.M. era, you don’t have to pay other companies to air your ads. You are in charge so you can air them yourself. 
A picture is worth 1,000 words so posting videos on your social media pages is invaluable. Words can tell people what your company does. Videos can show them. TheInc.magazine article“30 Tips for Using Social Media in Your Business”details how videos can boost a company’s business. It reports that a small company’s videos had 100 million views and spurred a 700 percent increase in sales. 
4. Interact With Customers: 
Could you communicate with people who read articles about your company in newspapers in the B.S.M. era? Did you regularly communicate with customers and clients? In the A.S.M. era you can communicate with customers and prospective customers because social media is very interactive. 
You can post surveys on your social media pages. You can solicit advice. You can ask people for feedback on your business. What’s crucial is that you respond to people ASAP. Interacting can turn a negative into a positive — customers who were unhappy about one bad experience with your business into customers who are very appreciative that you have addressed their concerns ASAP. 
The bottom line about social media is that it can dramatically improve your bottom line. In short, it can — and should — reduce your advertising costs. “You don’t need to hire a media company to buy airtime on radio and television,” theCustomerThinkarticle reports. “No, you just need to exploit the free or low cost opportunities that social media provides.”