Social-media-for-public-relations1What do Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many other social platforms have in common? You got it!! They are social hubs where people gather to share ideas and resources generating a sense of community. We as humans have a basic need to be sociable and build communities around common interests. As a result of all these online social platforms, we are becoming more sociable and eager to interact with one another. A Pew Research Center survey released in August 2012 found that 69% of all U.S. use social networking and if this is not reason enough to establish a social media presence for your business, here are my top five reasons why you should include social media presence as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Save money: Creating a social media profile costs virtually nothing on most social media platforms and in a matter of minutes you can have your profile set up and ready to reach out your target market. Of course you still need to invest a significant amount of time `to initiate and maintain a social media marketing campaign, but the cost of marketing is significantly reduced by having the ability to reach out and interact with your target customers in one or multiple platforms.

Branding: A social media presence is essential when it comes to branding your business because the more you interact and add value to your target audience, the more brand awareness you will create. Branding is about visibility, presence, and top-of-mind awareness;

Build relationshipsA lot of business owners make the mistake of thinking that having a business is all about sales. I think this approach is wrong. While sales are important to keep business growing, I think that building a relationship with your customers is far more critical than selling your product or service and the most important element to build positive healthy relationships with your customers is trust; without trust, any business will most likely fail because people simply won’t buy. When using social media, engage with your customers and show them that you care by showcasing your expertise in your field and sharing links, resources and unbiased information.

Target MarketOne of the key elements of any business is customers: people who are willing to pay for your product or service, also known as your target market. Chances are that the majority of your target market is already participating in the online world through a social media channel. The key here is to find out what social media channel or channels they are using and engage with them through their preferred channel(s). Social media allows you to reach out to the right people with the right messages and not spend time or effort on everybody else.

Improve business processes: The main objective of improving a business process is to better serve the customer and make things easier and more pleasant. To improve a business process we need to ask the questions: what are we doing? How can we make it better? Social media can be leveraged by promptly detecting and correcting customer problems and complaints. Now more than ever, the customer has the ability to provide instant feedback on product designs, customer service, and the overall experience when doing business with a particular entity.

 What other reasons can you think of for establishing a social media presence?