Home Social Media What is social media? Policy, plan and profitability

What is social media? Policy, plan and profitability


Key areas:
✓ social media explained
✓ growing your business with social media
✓ making an effective social media plan
✓ what makes people share?
If you think social media is a fad for the young ones and that you are too old to even contemplate it, never mind finding the time or having the resources to do it, then you should read on.

What is social media and is it a fad?

I have heard people say, ‘I have no time for social media’, to which I respond, ‘You have no time for marketing your business and building relationships with prospects and customers?’ Think about that for a moment. Yes it takes effort, but so does every aspect of running a successful business, and there are tools available to help you pull it all together. You may also think that your customers and prospects are not on social media, and so social media can’t help your business.

Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is females over 55, or that LinkedIn’s most popular sector is ‘service’, with personal profiles for everyone from cheese-makers to the President of the United States? There will be a group of people, however large or small, on these channels just waiting for you to put yourself or your brand on their radar.

How cool would it be to get your customers’ feedback in real time, as it is happening? You’ll get both good and not-so-good comments, but the not-so-good comments are as valuable to your business as the good. If the comments show you have an issue in your business that needs fixing, it’s better that you know about it, isn’t it? You can then apologise, react to the issue and make it good, for everyone to see. Social media is way past the ‘it’s a fad’ stage, and is definitely at the ‘getting results’ stage. Sharing your life and finding new friends online is the norm for the younger generation. But while I don’t want to share my private life with the masses, I am okay about sharing my business life with anyone who is willing to listen.

Your details are not safe online. Or are they?

The more nervous among us are concerned that all of our details are out there for anyone to steal. But your details can be secured on the vast majority of social media sites, and controlled by yourself (although you do need to double-check your settings occasionally as sites make updates). Remember, too, that your business details — your mobile phone number, your landline and email address — are likely already available for all to see on your website, because you want it to be easy for a prospective client or customer to get in touch with you. Of course I wouldn’t suggest you post your address if you work from home, or other sensitive information, but my point is the choice is yours as to how much to share, and you want your business details out there, so it’s a bit of a non-issue.

How are you marketing at the moment?

What do you have in your current marketing toolkit? I suspect it contains things like newsletters, your website, news media articles, internal communications, surveys, TV and radio, events, referrals and the good old telephone business directory. Most if not all of these tools will have a price tag attached to them, with some being out of a lot of companies’ reach. It is not every company that can afford to advertise on TV, and certainly not enough to be effective with an advert over time.

Not only can these tools be cost-prohibitive, they can also be a little out of date. Now consider the social media and online sites that are becoming more and more commonplace. You might not even class some of them as social media, but they are online communication channels nonetheless. The beauty of social media from a cost point of view is that there really doesn’t need to be any costs involved, apart from your time, so if you are still hanging on to your business directory ad as the most secure way of generating new enquiries, it could be time to think again and move on to something new.