Social media can be a great way to get your brand out in front of hundreds and even thousands of potential customers. It is an incredible marketing tool that has never existed before the last decade or so. According to a 2010 survey conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, 63 percent of companies indicated that using social media has improved their marketing strategies, reduced marketing and support costs, as well as increased revenue and customer satisfaction.
You can take advantage of these social sites and let the world know about your business. The catch is knowing which social networking sites to invest time and/or money into. Although Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can generate a lot of business to your company, it can take quite a bit of time and strategy to make these sites work for you. Choosing the best social media platform or platforms to invest time in is critical to the success of your marketing campaign.
There are a few key factors in determining a social networking site's success in generating customers. These factors include customer communication, brand exposure and generating traffic to your site. Facebook scores among the top performers in most of these factors. This site's biggest feature is allowing companies to create fan pages for their business.
These fan pages allow companies to communicate directly to existing and potential customers, which show up in their fans' news feeds. The fan pages are also great for brand exposure. Each time a new person "likes" your fan page, every one of his or her friends sees that status update.
It is sort of an extension of word of mouth referrals, except that it is much easier and faster than your brand naturally coming up in conversation. Facebook is great for generating traffic to your main website, by simply including a link on the fan page where it's easy for users to find. Also, periodically including a link in status updates is another great way to generate interest to your website.
Like Facebook, Twitter is also a top contender in generating customers for businesses. The biggest advantage of Twitter is that it allows easy and instant communication with your customers. It is also a great way to initiate more brand exposure.
Retweeting is a huge part of the social components of Twitter. By retweeting your messages, anyone following the person who retweeted you, will be able to see your company's information and whatever message you posted. The retweet feature is also a great way to direct traffic to your website, by including links in your tweets.
LinkedIn is another useful social media website, aimed at helping businesses network and find new clients. This site falls a bit short in terms of the vast exposure available with Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is better suited for businesses with a narrow customer base.
The user profile page is quite useful in providing information about your company to potential clients, and it also tends to have a more professional feel than your average Facebook fan page. Another great feature of LinkedIn, is that it allows users to solicit reviews and referrals from other users. The reviews can be posted right on the profile page for all your potential clients to read.
All three websites can be used to improve your business and marketing strategies. In general, Facebook and Twitter, either individually or together are the superior platforms for social media. The main reason is that these sites allow more direct communication to existing and potential clients. However, LinkedIn does have a more professional feel to it. If your business stands to lose clients that think Facebook is unprofessional, then your best bet is a profile at LinkedIn.