Does your UK business have a branded social media presence? If not, you are quickly becoming a minority. Businesses large and small are using social media as a way of increasing sales and building public awareness. Thanks to the free nature of social media, these benefits come with a very small price tag.
In the beginning of the social media craze, small businesses were the first to embrace the advantages. The medium was largely untested, but it is hard to pass up free publicity. In addition, small businesses have the advantage of having fewer obstacles. There are no committees or vice presidents who must approve actions. However, the larger businesses are quickly catching up. If you browse Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, you will see UK businesses such as Land Rover, O2, and Nokia.
Not only has the number of businesses involved in social media increased, the way that these businesses use the medium to interact with customers has changed as well. There was a time when communication was largely one way. Businesses could release news, announce new products, and create a branded presence for customers to enjoy, but those were the limits. However, changes in Facebook and other social networking sites have made social media a veritable gold mine for any UK business with a little creativity.
First, social networking sites present an opportunity to get almost constant feedback from customers. We saw this with the Gap, an American clothing company, which tossed out a new logo design like yesterday’s rubbish after customers protested. Second, it gives companies a chance to expose customers to their brand. Creating brand awareness is one of the greatest challenges facing small business, so this is a huge opportunity. Last, Facebook now allows companies to make sales through the social media, giving the opportunity to treat social media like a second ecommerce site.
Larger corporations now have entire departments and “social media teams” devoted to promoting their brand on social media. However, this is not necessary. All you need is a professionally designed brand and the willingness to check in daily at your Facebook (or other social networking) page. It is rare that such a powerful marketing medium comes with such a low cost in time and money.
Social media websites are not just powerful ways to build your brand, they are also valuable ways to communicate with your customer base, solve customer service issues, and generally keep in touch with the market you are trying to reach.
If your UK business does not yet have a social media presence, you are decidedly behind the times. However, it is never too late. The first step is to make sure your brand and logo design are ready for massive public exposure. The second step is to develop your online presence and ensure that your corporate website and social networking pages function as a team. From there, it is simply a matter of maintaining your brand presence and dealing with the additional sales. Social networking is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored—so don’t ignore it.