Social media has taken over the web. It is safe to say that the web is now a social media tool, and nearly all major websites are either social media sites themselves or integrated with social media components.
All of the web’s top sites, excluding search engines, are social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, and blogging sites like WordPress and Blogger top the list, while sites like Amazon include multiple social media components. Furthermore, Facebook in particular has become an integral part of most websites with its “Like” buttons and integrated comment and “check-in” systems.
Some businesses were early adopters, while others are now wishing they had been. Even if you are just getting started with social media, it is not too late, but like any major decision you make for your business or personal brand, you should set clear goals and have a plan. That plan should begin with a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve, and end with an evaluation of the results.
There are many things you should consider when setting your goals. Among them are:
Many people make the mistake of relying solely on the number of followers, likes, or friends they can acquire. While it is important to have a social media following, this should be a means rather than an end. It is your website, not your social media page, that is the nexus of your business operations. Use your social media sites to drive traffic to your website. You can attract them with links to relevant and interesting content.
You should create specific lead links to your content so that you can keep track of where referrers to your site originated. This will help you evaluate how effective your social media campaign is.
Once you have social media widgets and tools integrated into your website, make use of them. Count the number of likes, shares, favourites, and +1s each article, blog post, and page accumulates. You can then evaluate that data and use it to expand your audience with relevant content.
Social media is all about interaction with others. Communication is key, and you must make an effort to communicate with your website’s visitors and your social media circles. Respond to comments on your site and follow up on any questions. Interact with your social media friends, and occasionally take the time to refer them to content on your website that may apply to their statuses, tweets, or posts. Building a relationship with them is the best way to keep them coming back to your website, which is the ultimate goal.
After reading this, you may start to realize that actually making social media work for your business is a lot of work. It is only a tool like other technology, and if you do not make an effort to make it work, it will remain just a novelty. Think of it as a big dinner party with employers, potential clients, colleagues, and potential strategic partners. Simply showing up for the food does not benefit your business. Once you understand how social media works and get into a regular routine, it will feel natural and maybe even enjoyable.
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant who works for a web hosting company that lists the best web hosting companies available online. Lior also consults for an online company that specializes in a personal task management application for businesses.