Whether you’re a writer, an author, or a small business–you may have wondered if spending time on social media is worthwhile.
My answer to that is a qualified yes.
Social media is worth your time, but only if you use it wisely. Unwise use of social media adds just another time-consuming task to your already busy day. As I’ve discussed before, many businesses make mistakes with their social media use.
In this post, I’ll share 12 important reasons why I think social media is worth spending time on. I’ll also add a few tips on how to use it effectively for business.
Why Social Media Is Effective
Business owners (and yes, that includes freelance writers) often wonder if the return on time spent on social media is worth it. In my experience, it definitely is. I’ve made connections through social media that I would not have otherwise made.
But I’m also careful to only use my social media accounts in a professional way. Here are some of the benefits small businesses get from social media:
- Drives traffic to your website. Social media isn’t the biggest driver of traffic to my websites–the search engines are. But social media is the number two reason why people come here.
- Engages others. If used properly, social media is a great way to interact with others. You can answer questions, solve problems, and otherwise interact with prospects.
- Builds relationships. Over time, social media is also a great way to build relationships with prospective clients and others in your field. To do this, have genuine conversations.
- Enhances your brand. What you share through social media will become linked to your brand. If your shares are interesting and relevant for your audience, they enhance your brand.
- Provides a web presence. While I don’t believe (as some do) that social media should replace a website, it does provide an additional web presence for your business.
- Helps you to stay current. Social media can also be a learning tool. As you read through shares from your contacts, you may discover new trends and topics of interest.
- Exposes you to a global audience. Connecting through social media erases geographic boundaries. You may not be able to meet someone from halfway around the world face-to-face, but you can interact online.
- Generates leads. Prospective clients sometimes contact me through social media. I’ve found that these clients are pre-qualified since they already “know” me through my shares and interactions.
- Demonstrates knowledge of social platforms. For many businesses, knowledge of social platforms is a plus (and sometimes a must). Have a social media presence can showcase your experience with social sites.
- Decreased marketing spending. Most social media sites are free or cheap to use. When you contrast free with the high cost of traditional advertising, you will see how social media can save you money.
- Offers many options. Gone are the days when there were just one or two social media sites. You now have many popular social media options to choose from–choose the one most of your clients use.
- Reminds prospects of your business. Sending regular emails to prospective clients can get you labeled as a pest, or worse, as a spammer. Regular social sharing doesn’t have the same stigma.
Of course, if you are using social media in an unprofessional way, it won’t be of much help to your business.
How to Use Social Media for Business
For it to be effective, you have to use social media properly. Here are four tips for getting more for your social media interactions:
- Know your audience. If you don’t understand who your prospective customers are, you won’t find them through social media. And if you do connect, you won’t recognize them.
- Stay relevant. Your social media activities have a purpose. That purpose is to reach out to prospects. Keep your shares relevant to your audience.
- Don’t phone it in. With so many automated social media tools, it can be tempting to set up auto responders. Don’t do it. If someone interacts with you, respond personally.
- Do ask prospects how they’ve learned about you. Measuring social media returns is challenging. One way to do find out whether your social media activities are effective is to ask new prospects how they learned about you.
How active are you on social media? What’s your favorite platform? Have you found it to be effective for your business?