Using social media to grow your business is no longer an option, but a necessity. The days of asking yourself if social media is for you are gone; you now have to be intimately involved with sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if you hope to grow your business. The integration of social signals into search engine results is deepening with each passing week.
If you are not actively promoting your business with options like Google+ signals and LinkedIn recommendations, you might as well be back in the dark ages. Before you decide to bite the bullet and set up social media accounts for your business though, there is one important factor that you need to be aware of.
Changes to Facebook
With recent changes to sites like Facebook, being socially savvy is not as simple as strictly having a social media presence. For your social efforts to pay off, you are going to need to stay on top of your accounts on a daily basis and you are going to need to focus on the needs of your customers in order to see any return on your investment. Without being aware of the efforts you will need to put in, you might want to think twice before embarking down the social media speedway.
It used to be that all a business needed to do was to set themselves up a Facebook business or fan page and then add business related content on a regular basis. In order for potential customers or existing clients to comment on a company’s Facebook page, the individual would first have to “like” the page before being allowed to post a comment. With the recent redesign of Facebook following the F8 Facebook Developers conference, the need to “like” prior to posting is gone. Now both happy and unhappy customers can instantly post their comments on your business page without “liking” your page first. Not only does this give unhappy customers instant access to your company, but it also removes an opportunity for your content to appear on the Facebook wall of some comment posters. It used to be that if a customer liked your page, then any new posts that you made to your wall would appear on the Facebook pages of your followers. Since customers no longer need to like you first prior to commenting, a business page administrator is going to have to make extra effort to turn “lurkers” into “likers”. Without your comment appearing on Facebook walls and timelines, the chances of your content spreading organically greatly diminish.
Due to this recent change to comment posting policy, Facebook business page administrators that fail to stay on top of daily comments run the risk of not only lost opportunities at sales conversions but also the missed opportunity of turning negative feedback into a winning recovery for their firm. Rather than leaving negative feedback unattended on their page for even one day, it is vital that a company be proactive and turns that negative feedback into an opportunity to do better. By providing exemplary customer service right on their Facebook page, it gives a company the opportunity to not only recover that lost customer but to impress others with their swift response and customer focused attitude.
Another recent change to Facebook pages that will have a significant impact on Facebook business page administrators is the ability of followers to vote your content up or down in their timelines. If all you ever post on your business page is self-serving advertorial type of posts, chances are good that those who have “liked” your page in the past will simply “x” your content out of their timeline. If they vote down your posts on a regular basis, the Facebook algorithm will learn their behaviour and will soon start to not even show your posts in their timeline. There goes yet another opportunity to connect with an existing client. By the same token, if you continually post valuable information that is enlightening, informative, or humorous, chances are good that your followers will comment on your posts or “like” them which will then make your content appear in the timelines of your clients’ followers. Unless you keep your content fresh and engaging on an ongoing basis, you will be losing out on an opportunity to increase the exposure of your business.
With social signals like Facebook “likes”, Google +1’s, and Twitter retweets having an ever-increasing influence upon where your business lands in search engine results, it is absolutely crucial that businesses now stay engaged with their customers. Simply socially selling your services online is no longer enough; you now need to give your audience what they want, and deliver it to them in a way that they are likely to engage with it. Give them what they want and they are likely to return the favour with increased business for your firm..