Now that Twitter has announced it wants to raise $1 billion in a stock market flotation, it’s a good time to look at how important social media is to businesses of all kinds. As my Shanklyesque headline implies, I feel that if you’re ignoring the full potential of social media, you’re missing out on a potentially exciting and compelling way to grow your brand and your business.
You probably arrived here because you’re following either of my two business Twitter accounts, or though my other social media accounts such as LinkedIn. But what you may not be aware of is that I create and manage social media platforms for other businesses and groups that enable me to analyse and manage large amounts of followers and their behaviour and interactions.
Just one of the Twitter accounts I manage, for example, follows less than 140 people but has tens of thousands of followers including at least one Hollywood A-lister, another highly respected film director and many influencers in the UK, Irish and international media.
This insight, and the approaches used to build and maintain such a following, allows me to use the same processes to build and develop the social media presence for brands and other businesses, while creating and developing the voice that each individual brand requires.
Copywriting and an understanding of brand tone-of-voice are great social media skills to have and are highly valued by social media managers who understand how marketing has developed and grown with the new media tools.
Not every business or marketing department can afford to have a professional handling their social accounts for them, and the whole point of social media is that you should be able to do it yourself once you’ve got the skills and confidence to create and develop your voice and have a high level technical assurance with the tools.
But as social media is so important, it is the lifeblood of a digitally disruptive, socially driven company, then it’s important to do things right and start as you mean to go on. You should realise that your social media profile sets the voice and tone of your brand.
Increasingly it’s how the people who use your products or your services find you and it’s how they talk and interact with you even if you have a bricks and mortar real world presence.
If you have a brand and visual language, ask yourself if your design really does work across all the social media channels you use, and if it fits with the tone and message you want people to have of you and your business. If you think you need it get professional help but there are lots of resources available to help you.
Here’s a good social media crib sheet that will help you see how your logo, images and messages need to change across the main social media platforms. It’s a little bit out of date as the platforms change regularly, so it’s still a good idea to get help from an experienced designer who can help you get things working right and looking professional whatever the media.
If you approach social media in a planned and structured way, you and you business will get a lot out of it and come to see it as a vital new business tool. Both Twitter and LinkedIn for example offer extremely powerful and detailed search facilities and it’s possible to see either, or both, as your own database, not only for finding information but also for building and developing new contacts and ultimately new partnerships and customers.
I’ve found too that many business owners and managers tend to forget that your website should be one of the core elements of your social media brand. Rather than merely being your online presence, your site should be playing a dynamic part in your social activity. It should be the place where all your media channels combine and link together and where people can experience the full range of your social media platforms and engage with you seamlessly.
If you’re feeling a little like this new social world has left you and your business behind remember – social media is not just another business tool, it’s much more important than that, but it’s never too late to start being social and growing your business too.