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Posted by Amy Brewster Online PR and social media

Social media and business

Social media has become a huge part of the marketing world.

According social media today there are over 500 million twitter users and 51% of those twitter users follow companies, brand or products. Social media has become a huge part of the marketing world.  According social media today there are over 500 million twitter users and 51% of those twitter users follow companies, brand or products.  They don’t just follow their favourite brands, 67% of twitter users are far more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter rather than the ones they don’t.  In short, if you’re a business, or have a product, blog or service you NEED to make the most out of social networking.

We asked some of the top consultants, local and bigger businesses about how it is important to businesses of all sizes to utilise social media.

The numbers say it all

According to Yahoo Facebook is the most visited website in the world.  More than half of Facebook users log in everyday – that’s 400 million people! Businesses, bloggers and individuals have the opportunity to connect with these people for free. But why bother?

People subconsciously make decisions based on what they have seen or read through a social media network.  Half of shoppers made a purchase based on a recommendation seen on a social media site.  Offline sales of retailers increased by 29% when using a promoted tweet.

In short, social media is a huge influence on society.  Use this to promote your services, skills, blog or products.

Blogs and small businesses

Social media allows companies and people to have an online presence.  It promotes brand awareness and reaches people who may not have previously come across it.

Social media also increases trust in the blog or the company. If they have a high numbers of like’s or followers visitors to their sites are more likely to have faith in the company as opposed to a company who has no online presence.

For blogs and small businesses social media allows posts and products to be shared and reach a wider audience.  It creates a buzz around the post thus creating a buzz around the product, blog or brand. Retweets reach those who may not have visited the blog or site previously and make it easy for a good piece of content to go viral.

Natsha Ngan

Natasha Ngan, author and blogger and social media consultant, uses social media to interact with her readers, “Social media is a way for me to connect with my readers and peers, and even if I'm not focused on driving visits or sales through my social platforms, I am able to create a personality around my brand and make sure my name is out there.  

I use Twitter more as a way to connect with other bloggers, writers and readers. I've made friends through it and it helps me feel like I'm having a bit of a social life during those busy periods when it's just head down and writing. I've definitely used Twitter to tell promote my blog and books - but it's in a natural, chatty way. I think that helps people connect with you more rather than a pushy, marketing approach, and so I guess it does help play a part in getting the word out there about my blog and books.

Natasha has over 3,000 Twitter followers and regularly tweets new blog posts, outfits and book information.

Social media is just a great way to get your business out there. It's free, so it's got a low barrier to entry, and it's such an ingrained part of modern life that most people are already familiar with the different networks and tools. It's all about connectivity, and hopefully most bloggers and business owners want to connect with their audience anyway.

Natasha believes businesses should make the most of social media:

The one thing I'd say about social media is it's very much a 'you get what you put in' kind of thing. So it's important for businesses and bloggers to balance social media with other aspects of their work and not get too carried away. Finding the balance is difficult, but it's definitely worth investing time into social media. And ultimately - have fun with it!  One of the best things about social media is that a brand can really showcase its personality. Don't be afraid to be more casual and fun with it than you might be with other marketing platforms.

Nichola Whitehead

Nichola is a UK Specialist Registered Dietician and blogger. She uses Twitter and her blog to promote her diet and nutrition tips as well as her website, Nic’s Nutrition. She has nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter and uses social media to reach more people:

Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram) has been the way that I have increased my blog readership, which means I am able to reach more people, all over the world. Social media has also allowed me to network with other like-minded dieticians as well as keep up to date easily with the latest changes within the food and nutrition industry. Twitter is one of the main sources of blog traffic for posts that I promote, and it is a great way of interacting with my followers and readers. I love seeing tweets with pictures of my recipes and regularly upload them to my blog. Twitter is also a great way of finding out what blog posts people want more of, such as what type of healthy recipe they want me to blog next!

Nichola points out that there are some downfalls when it comes to social media:

Anybody who puts themselves online is open to criticism.  Luckily for me this has been minimal however everyone is entitled to their own views and just like receiving a ‘down thumb’ on a YouTube video, some negativity can come from people who remain anonymous and perhaps in real life they wouldn’t be so quick to give a negative view.  You have to take it with a pinch of salt and remember that not everybody is going to love what you do!

Nichola offers advice to those who are starting out in social media:

My advice is to just be yourself and reply to people. I am to reply to everyone who gets in touch and it’s because of this that I am able to show my honest and caring personality. In summary, the key to twitter success is: sharing, caring, listening, retweeting, humour and being you. Nobody gains a thousand followers overnight (unless you’re a celebrity) so just keep at it.

Online retailers

It is not only small businesses and bloggers who use social media to engage with their readers and followers, larger, more established brands have to use social media to ensure their readers and audience are getting what they want.

Online fashion retailer, boohoo, has nearly 2 million Facebook followers and never fails to update their readers with the latest trends, fashion news and offers. Boohoo also feed society's celebrity obsession, showing how to recreate celebrity looks from Miley Cyrus to Made in Chelsea star Lucy Watson with boohoo items. Their Twitter has constant activity including interacting with followers and celebrities, retweeting outfits and regular beauty tips.

Competitions will always keep followers tweeting and boohoo use this to their advantage. They regularly hold competitions on twitter; their latest encourages their followers to RT and tell why they deserve to win a new bag with hashtag #totestuesday. It encourages a friendly interaction and helps the company to build up a dialogue with their customers.

Publications

It is not only online brands that are making the most of social media. Vogue is making sure it stays in the forefront of fashion and has stamped its mark on social media.

Tweeting fashion trends, style news, beauty tips and celebrity gossip as well as keeping their followers in the know with pictures from events, most recently the British Fashion Awards and the London Collections: Men. Followers know they will be kept informed of everything going on in the fashion world.

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