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How Using Social Networks Has Helped My Business

Back to blog homepage for: Notes from a Shropshire Start-up

Social media sites were intended to bring the social world together, but they have unwittingly encompassed the business world as well.

Is this a bad thing though? Bringing the customer and business one-step closer together... to ask questions, resolve issues, avert a crisis or share in an achievement... isn’t everyone just that little bit happier?

Read on for three tips my company has learnt from our efforts in taking part in the “social revolution”.

It’s a fantastic way of monitoring your competition

Monitoring the competition  wasn’t in my original list of tips, but  while I was typing this blog a competitor published a near-enough word-for-word copy of one of our best pieces of content.

This would not have come to light for a good day or so without social media monitoring, and enabled us to let people know that, hey, ours is actually the great piece of content and we did the research.

Couple this with live updates on when our rivals run special offers, their disgruntled customers and any latest announcements; social media suddenly becomes a whole lot more than communicating with your potential customers.

Customers will ask questions they didn’t before

Whether it is the personal nature of the networks, the fact you’re easier to contact or just a strange coincidence, social media makes people open up and query things that have never been asked – often really useful things!
For example, we found that a significant portion of our Facebook following had children moving off to University.

Amidst all of the stress and planning a few of them asked us what a good printer would be for the student world. This was the first time in 10 years of trading we had received this question, and it came via social channels.

A simple question, yet no buying guides were available for them. This allowed us to take their query and produce a Student Printer Buying Guide,  answering all of the questions a parent might have. And even more importantly we will update this guide regularly now.

Don’t tweet, won’t tweet... but I still count

Just because a customer doesn’t use (or want to divulge) social media profiles does not make them any less important. Be very careful with the reward schemes you use on social media, as they can backfire spectacularly. Stinkyink.com ran a discount on our site, 5% off for everyone or 10% off for fans on Facebook. To say we were torn apart by the community would be an understatement, and taught us a valuable lesson.

Keep the rewards tantalising but fair for social media as that balance will be crucial to your company’s image.

I’d be interested in hearing how your business has benefited from social networking.

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