Introducing Social Media to Your Business

Social Media Landscape

Fact – too many businesses still need to wake up and realize that social media is not “one of these Internet fads” that will disappear.

Fact – because of this mindset, too many businesses are potentially missing out on extra business that could mean the difference between staying afloat and going under. So why the problem?

One of the main reasons is that businesses – whether it’s the CEO, top-tier management or otherwise – are looking at social media as an individual medium, much like PR or marketing.

This is where the cracks start to appear. Social media benefits companies the most when it’s used as part of an integrated campaign.

Social media is also perfect for reaching out and connecting with your audience, as opposed to just selling them something. Sure, you’re still selling your brand or product – but this time, it’s in an “encouraging to ask questions” approach instead of “this is us and you’ll like it” one.

Accepting that social media needs to be approached as an integrated strategy rather than a standalone campaign is the first step businesses need to take. After that, the job gets a little bit easier.

Define Your Audience

Just like any market or product, social media is made up of different audiences. As a business owner, you wouldn’t launch a new product onto a more traditional marketplace without some in-depth market research first – don’t ignore this on social media.

Knowing your audience is key to succeeding in business social media. You need to know if your audience are participants or promoters. Why the need to differentiate? Simple –

  • Participants are social media users that may use numerous social media sites and applications, but don’t really “take part” in the medium. They’re like the visitors to your business website that may purchase something and then interact with you no further. There’s nothing wrong with this – but as a method of expanding your brand, you may need to look elsewhere.
  • Promoters are the users that like to share information – whether it’s recommending something via Twitter or their blog, if they come across something they like they will pass that information on. This is where your use of social media can help build your name. Just remember that social media works both ways. Don’t try and cheat the system – give back just as much (more, even) as you receive.

Have a Clear and Defined Goal

Another area where businesses are failing to adapt social media to their needs is that they don’t have a clear goal on what they want to achieve. Many hear the phrase “social media” and immediately feel they need to be a part of this buzz, jump straight in without any forward thinking, and are then disappointed with the (lack of) results.

Ask yourself who you want to connect with and why, and then research the areas of social media that are most relevant to your needs. Demographics are one of the key points of knowledge for any campaign – make sure you know where your demographics are playing online. A social map can help here.

Again, though, don’t try and play the system – cheaters will soon be found out, and your brand can suffer irreparable damage if seen as merely a self-promotional company on social media.

Tools of the Trade

Once you have your audience and your goal set out, you need to use the tools that will help you the most. There are numerous available, and this is where building your social media connections can help, by advising what ones they use and what results they achieve.

Some of the best free examples of business tools include Monitter (which allows you a view on Twitter discussions of keywords); Google Alerts (giving you insight into what’s being said about you); and Social Mention (letting you gauge social reactions and reach to your topic or keywords and allowing you to jump in on conversations elsewhere).

Getting into social media shouldn’t be a hard decision for businesses to make – it’s either right for you or it isn’t. Social media is a long-term strategy, not  a short-term fire sale.

Understand that, and you begin to understand social media.

Image: fredcavazza

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Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:


    • RTRViews says

      @dannybrown It went great, Danny. They were impressed with how many people joined their conference through Twitter. So glad I made it work.

    • RTRViews says

      @dannybrown And, in saying by making it work, I meant just me getting there with everything going on. @maddiegrant made the twitter magic.

    • says

      @newdaynewlesson Hi Susie,

      I think it’s more than feasible that SMB’s or SME’s can do this independently. If the owners think smartly and work smart with their time allocation to learn even the basics, the rewards (or potential for rewards) make the time investment worth it.

      The way I always look at it is this – are you willing to spend time and money on a radio ad that you can’t necessarily measure, or are you willing to spend the same time and money on something that really lets you connect with customers, get valuable feedback and can be measured?

      Usually works. 😉

      • says

        @DannyBrown@newdaynewlesson only part of Social is Measurable in my opinion same as radio. You have no idea how many people see a Twitter post or Facebook post and do not react. There could be a ton that then go to a website or your store and never mention the spark was from social or radio.

        What you can do is compare your resources, where you spend the money, and the impact each has but planting things to get the measurement.

        Where Social blows everything else away is it is much easier to ask people if social is impacting their decisions or using intelligence to make business decisions. It is one big focus group. Harder to get this from the other forms of marketing.

        Simple example. Say McDs has a new sandwich being promoted. Did great in the kitchen and taste tests. Radio ad promotes it. Listeners who tried it hated it. Will you ever know? Go post this on Twitter or Facebook they will respond immediately. Cuts your losses fast. Or the opposite. Maybe you get insight to put more resources into something quickly? Wouldn’t you see the positive chatter on Twitter even before the cash register sales get reported? 8)

        • says

          @HowieSPM@DannyBrown I see what social media has given me as a person who has been blogging for almost two years now. I have made connections and friends and I have learned tons.

          The question is also whether all types of businesses can benefit from social media and what are the “musts”? FB? Twitter? Google+…….

          Aside from the person doing the “social media” I don’t see expenses for a company the same way radio adverts would be let’s say.

          Am I wrong?

        • says


          It depends on what the company wants. I see social media as broken into three options for businesses – Passive, Active and Engaged. All three offer value, and all three offer very different approaches and returns (got a Slideshare in the works based on this trio).

          With regards can all businesses benefit from social – I’d say not necessarily. If their customer base isn’t there, then why waste your time? It’s hackneyed, but still true – understand and know where your customers tend to be and be there.

          If that’s radio, do that. If it’s print, do that. If it’s trade shows, do that. And so on. :)

          It may be that you start off with professional advice, but ideally you want to be doing this yourself, since you’re the person that knows your customer better than anyone else. And that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

      • says

        @DannyBrown I am asking because I do work one day a week for a small rapidly growing business and I am thinking the social media stuff for the business is over my hand. Are there any posts/tutorials that you would recommend?

        So basically I was asking if an amateur can handle this or if you need someone with more experience?

  1. says

    I can understand a brand or Business not wanting/needing a Facebook page or to run social media marketing campaigns because their other spend is more measurable and successful. I can see in some areas maybe the investment is higher elsewhere and the CFO will always balance investments to garner the highest return on them hopefully for long and short term.

    But there are no excuses for some of the stuff I see.

    Just one silly example. Like the really nice Bloomberg News Android App. It has no share button. I can’t tweet articles. You are a new org. You make money from your website and your print issue. Wouldn’t the simple ability for me and others to Tweet and share like the little line up to the left here make sense for minimal investment? How will you know if it gives a 0.01% boost in traffic or 5% boost until to test it out?

    • says

      @HowieSPM I can’t recall which site it is now, but there’s one that’s dedicated to bringing social media news to the masses – and has one simple Facebook Share option, nothing else.

      Um… 😉

  2. samtaracollier says

    Excellent post Danny. I’m so fed up with explaining why social media is important as part of an overall business strategy. It’s here to stay dammit! It’s traditional marketing packaged differently. I’m happy to see more and more businesses seeing it this way.

    Haven’t talked to you in awhile! Hope you’re doing well :) We were supposed to get snow in Vancouver but we didn’t end up getting any where I live. Boo.

    • says

      Hey there Samantha,

      You know the really ironic thing? Those same people that question it have been using social media for years without realizing it.

      Email; customer feedback forms on sites; forums; they’re all forms of social media. Like you say, they’re just named differently. 😉

      All good here, thanks, looking forward (hopefully) to a snow-filled winter. Heading out to Vancouver early 2012, will definitely have to catch up!

  3. gripsocial says

    Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you’re talking to it becomes so much easier.

  4. Mark Longbottom says

    As ever a logical insight, being sociable is natural, technology to be effectively connected to those who matter to business is available. Real people use The Internet as a matter of daily life to interact, why then are some businesses considering it a fad, maybe because it means they have to change and be more flexible?Knowing who your target audience is as you say Danny vital, but for some businesses knwoing who they are should come first. With these tow criteria covered they will be able to narrow things down a little more.

    • says

      @Mark Longbottom Email used to be called a fad. Then mobile phones. There’s always a fad, mate – yet usually they’re still around being talked about by the very folks that called them a fad. Funny how that works. 😉

  5. markaylward says

    Hey Danny

    Nice distinction-social media as a part of an integrated strategy. I kind of take this for granted, but it clearly would benefit my approach to lay this out as a concept rather than talking about why “you should have a fan page”. It’s amazing how many small business owners are flat out ignoring social media. I think having teenagers is what clued me in so quickly :)


    • says

      @markaylward Hey there Mark,

      It’s usually one or the other, isn’t it? Either “we need to be everywhere’, or “we don’t need to do this”. Neither are usually right – but try telling businesses that… 😉

  6. Charlotte74 says

    Having a defined goal is important. Posting regularly is also important. That doesn’t mean 3 times a day, t could be once a week, but keep that up regularly.

  7. says

    Earlier this year I was invited to speak at a private dinner of Boston-area Fortune 1000 C-level leaders and high-profile attorneys who gather every month at a different member’s house to talk about society and culture and business ideas. I was asked to talk about social media. We sat on couches and I shared my knowledge, asking them questions along the way.

    Nobody had a Twitter account. A few used Facebook because their grandkids asked. Some had LinkedIn accounts but only had a name up because they only used it to recommend others.

    Some people grasped what I said. Many didn’t understand.

    One of the members in the group, someone who founded an ecommerce site about 15 years ago that he later sold for millions of dollars, argued with me because he believed social media was only a marketing channel and nothing else. I tried explaining ways it benefited HR, operations, and supply chain management, but he called me crazy.

    Some people will never understand.

    • Mark Longbottom says

      @Ari Herzog Crazy Ari to even want to take the human race back to communicating together effectively and for the benefit of each other in being able to add and find value together as opposed to being competitive. People need to go forward together it’s the only way generations to come will have somewhere to call home :)

    • says

      Part of me wonders of it’s because of the name, Ari? Say social media to someone and they immediately (or very often) think the worst.

      Yet if you were to say, “Business growth through media”, their ears would perk up. So perhaps we need toa ddress it from a different vernacular?

  8. says

    I’m Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you’re talking to it becomes so much easier. Thanks for writing this article

  9. says

    Great post – You would be surprise how many business owners who truly believes that social media is not important to them or their business- Wish they all read this post.


  10. says

    There’s still a faction of businesses that hasn’t jumped the social media bandwagon? Not that it’s a bandwagon though, but I feel like if a business doesn’t see that social media is definitely a pertinent source of connection that would benefit them greatly, then they are clearly not seeing right.

  11. says

    Hey Danny, another great tool that measures a company or brands online reach is heardable. They aren’t as well known as I’d have thought (though I’m sure you’ve heard of them) but they have some great metrics available to measure a brands social media efforts.

  12. Bethany Brightmore says

    This is a great outline for businesses not using social media, or not using it to their advantage. I work for a digital & social media marketing company in Sydney called Tick Yes and we continuously blog about the importance of maintaining your online presence. We wrote a feature about common misconceptions about social media that’s a great follow on from this- check it out.