You use social networks to build business relationships and your micro-blogging presence helps you connect with your customers. You also contribute to a blog that discusses topics related to your business. These social media tools can be effective ways to reach your customers, but it is also important to keep potential challenges in mind.
Social media is a form of peer-to-peer communication that has become an increasingly popular way to connect with new and existing customers. Knowledge of the pros and cons of social networking can help you make the most effective use of these tools for your business.
- Customer engagement: Profit from dynamic, interactive communication with your clients
- Market research: Get feedback from your target audience without incurring high research costs
- Search engine visibility: Improve your business’ standing in search engine results
- Sales: Use social media strategies to increase sales
- Connect with new audiences: Social media can help you reach market segments that traditional marketing may not
- Security: Sensitive information, such as your business structure and future plans, could be compromised if you share too much online
- Privacy: Customer and business information could be put at risk by computer hackers
- Measuring success: Accurately calculating the success of your social media activity can be difficult
- Monetization: Making your social media activities profitable can be challenging
- Complaints and bad reviews: Without a plan for dealing with unhappy customers, negative publicity can damage your reputation
- Time commitment: To be successful, you will need to commit the time needed to keep your content fresh and to respond to your customers
Creating a solid social media strategy can help you successfully deal with these challenges. For example, setting benchmarks and tracking sales stemming from social media activities can help you determine if your efforts are generating income. Having a plan for responding to criticisms and complaints shows that you take your customers’ concerns seriously and can help you turn a negative experience around.
Dealing with security concerns:
- Train your employees on social media security practices and make sure they are familiar with your business’ social media strategy
- Create a secure password; it should be easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess
- Avoid using the same password on multiple sites
- Protect yourself against phishing schemes where criminals prompt you to provide sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords on fake log-in screens
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date
For more information about social media and online security:
- Get Cyber Safe – Protect Your Business: Learn how to protect your business and safeguard private information.
- Free to low-cost applications: Discover how using low-cost ICT products for your business can increase sales and productivity. Services provided include tools for customer relationship management (CRM), website creation, e-commerce, surveys, and accounting.
- Computer security: Computer security is an important part of protecting your business. Find out how you can help prevent security breaches before they happen.
- Online marketing: Online marketing techniques like social networking, emailing and blogging are useful and involve little to no direct costs.
- E-business security, privacy and legal requirements: Be aware of the risks of e-business and protect yourself and your customers.
Source: Canada Business