LinkedIn and Myspace were born in 2003. In 2004 came Facebook; followed by Twitter (2006), Pinterest (2010), Instagram (2010) and G+ (2011). Fifteen years ago it was inconceivable that the majority of people around the globe would be engaged in one, if not all, of these social media platforms. Even more mind-blowing is that it would forever change the way businesses market their product and services.
So why do business owners hesitate when asked, "Why is your business on social media?"
The first reply is generally very quick and has something to do with exposure and/or access to consumers but after that, the answers get harder to come by. So when is the last time you asked yourself, "Why is my business on social media?" If you stumble to come up with three good reasons, here's a little help.
Social: After all, we seem to keep forgetting that it's called social media for a reason. It was designed to get people socially involved with others, socially aware of the world around them and socially responsible as part of a larger global community.
Building Relationships: If you go to a party with 50 people you may meet all 50 however you probably won't form an actual relationship with all of them. The same is true on social media. Over time, you will have a different level of engagement with each of your online followers. When someone follows a person or brand, they are hoping for a gradual deepening of the relationship. It begins with just getting to know each other and enjoying the content that is exchanged. After a while, if managed correctly, you will begin to surface as a respected go-to resource within your niche which further deepens the follower/followee relationship. All the while, your business should be looking to build the know-like-trust factor. Consumers convert to clients/customers once they feel that they know what your brand is all about, they like what they see and hear, and they gain a feeling of trust. It is your job, not the consumer's job, to nurture these relationships from the start.
Stepping Stone: Social media should never be the end goal for your business. In, Building a Sound Business Structure with Your Social Media Strategy, we are reminded that:
"It's their [social media platforms] playing field so we need to adjust our game in order to get a W in our WIN column at the end of the day."
Social media is a stepping stone in the sales funnel cycle. Your business has zero control over any of the social media platforms. You are at their mercy (and the mercy of the ever present algorithm) and there is not much you can do about that other than to be smart in your engagement strategy. Your website is a different story. That is where you are the king or queen of the castle.
So, why is your business on social media? The answer is clear; to socially engage, build and nurture relationships with a strong know-like-trust factor, and to guide consumers to your website which is where all the business magic happens. Remember, it is all about the quality of the relationships and not the quantity. Work towards relationship growth and not inflated numbers. Inactive numbers make bad clients. Engaged relationships create customers for life.