Use Social Media to Do the Things You Already DoSocial media is no longer the new shiny penny but many businesses are still thinking about it that way.

Even more, some businesses still have yet to embrace it because they think it doesn’t deliver results.

Andy Sernovitz wrote an interesting article about the fact that 3M approaches social media as if it is nothing new.

What social media does is provide new tools to facilitate things they’ve always been doing: Collaborate, communicate, and research.

Three Things 3M Does With Social Media

  • Customer research: They use technology to conduct virtual customer focus groups. They’ve found their smaller groups’ feedback to trends, products, and design is compatible with those of their larger more widespread customer feedback techniques.
  • Communicate: By listening to the online conversation about their brand and their products, 3M is able to speak in the language of the customer. The way they describe their products provides invaluable communication lessons to their in-house marketing.
  • Collaborate: 3M can use these tools to ask questions and get feedback early on in the product development stage by asking them pointed questions.

Taking on social media doesn’t mean we have to revolutionize the way we do business; it simply means we now have the tools at our disposal to be faster, better, and in some cases, save a lot of money.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

If you are brand new to social media, don’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting on the social networks. More than likely, you can do a lot of what you are already doing, but now you can use these tools to facilitate the process.

It’s important to have goals in mind before you do so. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish and then take it from there.

Use social media to help you achieve those goals. Depending on what those are, here some ideas for sharing content on social networks:

  • Pictures: Photos and videos get the highest level of engagement. Share photos of your product being made, installation of a new piece of equipment, employees brainstorming, getting ready for a big event.
  • Offer an exclusive deal: The immediacy of social media is such that if you have sudden inventory you want to dispose of, or a slow day you want to boost, offer some type of last-minute deal to the members of your social community.
  • Establish thought leadership: Share other industry news or items of interest to your customers. This is a great way to connect with not only your customers but also other leaders in your industry.
  • Schedule posts: This is a great way to manage your time on social networks. Since many of us are probably doing this early in the morning or late at night, you can schedule your content to be shared throughout the day and then check in regularly to respond to anyone. Use tools such as Bufferapp or Hootsuite. (There are many more.)

Always keep your goals in mind, and track your efforts. Too often, business owners give up on social media because they don’t think they are getting results; it’s a waste of time.

When you create your goals, and the tactics to reach those goals, you can monitor and refine your efforts over time.

What is your experience with social media? Have you found it helps grow your business?

Thank you to Inforrm for the graphic.