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Social media for big businesses

Many big businesses are resisting the current trend to use social media as a form of marketing, advertising, connecting with consumers, etc. Basically, because it is often difficult to quantify the value, many avoid using social media, or ignore it. However, with the right approach, social media can be used as a great tool for building business. The following are some tips for how to use social media for building bigger businesses:

Long term approach- the first is to recognize that social media is not a short term campaign like a marketing or PR, but is a long term commitment. You are not trying to reach a short term objective, rather you are looking to create a community, and establish relationships. This is a permanent approach. Unless you are committed to creating an online profile, and sticking with it, don't bother. This approach is more than advertising, it helps you gain insight into what your consumers want from you, and create loyalty and branding.

Joint effort- This is not something that works well if you do not make it a joint effort. It does not fit well into one of the traditional organizational structures. You should have marketing, PR, content creation, product development, research, and communication teams all working together to create a great social media plan. It means all parts of the company will be well represented, and you get a more complete picture for the consumers to see. It creates more loyal customers, and helps you to communicate better within the organization as well as to your consumer base.

Connecting with consumers- The biggest benefits a company can gain from social media are not the advertising benefits, but the ability to cultivate lifetime advocates of your brand through interaction, communication, and ongoing dialogues with your consumers. It helps bring your company to life, and give consumers added reasons to support you. It helps them feel like they matter because it gives them a chance to communicate (via questions, posts, forums, tweets, etc.) with the people who run the companies. They get to share their feelings, and make suggestions, and in providing the opportunity to do this, you are not just campaigning, but positioning your company well. Because you want to succeed not just today, but always, this permanent relationship building is huge!

Metrics- Most big businesses shy away from social media simply because it is hard to compute the effects of relationships, rather than cold cut sales etc. If you want to see your results, make sure you use several different metrics. It will require you to do some research to understand the value of engaging consumers with social media. Compare the metrics between traditional advertising and social media. Investing in some tracking systems, and collecting data will help you to see the value you get from building loyal customers, and connecting via social media.

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