Since its founding in 2004, Facebook has grown to 1.55 billion users. Twitter now boasts 307 million users. And many other social networks claim large, loyal followings. But even people who use social media regularly for personal networking purposes can become overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of using it for their businesses. It can seem big, complicated and time-consuming. Adding to the confusion is the fact that most people think social media is one thing, when in fact the word “media” is plural.
By getting to the root of what social media truly means, we can better understand its power and the simplicity with which your firm can start using it to interact with your community. Is social media one or multiple forms of communication used to achieve an end? Let’s break it down.
“Social” means “communal,” “community,” “shared,” “collective” and “group.” A definition for the word “media” is: “technologies that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication.”
Social media typically refers to web and mobile-based technologies that are used to create interactive dialogue. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube are examples of social media channels where organizations, communities and individuals can communicate about shared interests. But social media goes beyond creating a place where people can express their thoughts.
According to Amy Porterfield, a social media trainer and speaker and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-one for Dummies, you need to really know your audience before launching a social media strategy. Why? Here are five reasons:
1. You can create content that resonates instantly.
Social media communications are all about forming connections, and the content you post on your funeral home social media can instantly engage your audience in a meaningful way.
2. You can confront “pain points” head on to build trust.
Never before have funeral home owners had so many opportunities to share information about what you do and to dispel myths to ensure people understand the value of funeral service.
3. You can increase engagement by being a person your audience relates to.
You and your staff members are active in your community, and social media channels provide outlets through which you can share the many ways you make a difference.
4. You can express empathy by responding to specific needs.
Social media participation is more about listening to what others communicate than about communicating your own messages, and you can use social media tools to answer questions and resolve issues before they escalate.
5. You can position your firm as the go-to source in your marketplace (and beyond).
When you share valuable information about who you are and what you do, you’ll build trust and loyalty among client families and other members of your community.
How do you know if a social media strategy is successful? Sure, it’s great to see a big number of “likes” and “followers,” but the more your content is shared with others, the greater the reach you will achieve. However, social media tools are more often used for public relations than generating leads or sales. Your social media presence can promote your brand as your community sees it, which is why it is so important that you carefully monitor the dialogue.
Bottom line: Social media channels allow you to inexpensively broadcast quality information about what you do and offer, generate discussion that provides insights to consumer wants and needs and address consumer issues or questions about your business you might not ordinarily know exist.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your firm’s social media strategy, Homesteaders has created a social media tip sheet with guidelines for each of the major social media channels. Click the link below to download this helpful guide.