Social Media as Strategy for Business Growth

Everyone is managing priorities. In our personal lives, we’re taking kids to sporting events, raking leaves and finishing up household projects. It’s the same balancing act for small business owners and those setting strategic priorities for businesses of all sizes.

A few years ago, many businesses were in a “wait and see” mode as it related to social media marketing. Small businesses considered time constraints as a major issue while larger companies were more concerned with how to control and evaluate return on investment. Today, most companies see that utilizing social media platforms on some level makes sense in the overall strategy of growing business.

A recent Forbes article validating past predictions on social media for 2014 cites that 92 percent of business owners indicate that social media is important to their business, up from 86 percent in 2013. Businesses are continuing to reallocate budgets away from traditional methods of advertising toward social media and other inbound marketing strategies. Although social media is an important part of the overall plan, companies need an integrated approach to reach the most people.

As a very visual person, I’m not surprised that the use of images and video platforms are changing the way many deliver messages. Using short video blogs to talk about a new product or service or to tell a story about events, wonderful people or company culture, are changing how we market ourselves. It is important to be thoughtful about how you’re using video. It isn’t just for social media. Attach the clip to your website, send out email blasts and use it in your face-to-face presentations. And, if you are not ready to jump into video yet, it is also very effective to couple a short message with a photo.

According to Global Web Index data, Facebook still remains the clear winner, in terms of its user base, among social networking sites, but Instagram experienced the biggest rise in active user numbers between the second and fourth quarters of 2013. So, if you’re in the balancing act at the office and need to focus your efforts, Facebook and Twitter are still the best places to spend time. After many years in the realm, business owners are still concerned about how to measure the ROI for their social media efforts, but are continuing to move forward without strong data.

Although most companies are diving in, issues that continue to hinder efforts include a lack of education, the fast-paced move into new platforms and untrained personnel incapable of strategizing social media into business goals.

As you’re gearing up for 2015, be sure to integrate your strategy and find someone who can help get social media working your company. And of course, if you’re more interested in the face-to-face social program, I would like to invite you to our Nov. 18 GLBM Connections and Coffee event at the UClub at 8 a.m. It’s a great way to start your day with like-minded people.
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