How to Build Your Business with Social Media (presented by Kodak)

No matter the size of your business, you've got to be where your customers are. In today's economy, that means being active in social media. Here's how to take advantage of this communication revolution.

You will need

  • Willingness to learn
  • Valuable content
  • Company social media policy
  • Success measurements

Step 1 Understand where your customers are Understand where your customers are – social media is not just a fad among young people. Those 25 and over account for 84 percent of Twitter users, and the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is people over 35. More than 5 billion pieces of content, such as web links, news stories, and photos, are shared on Facebook every week. Use market research to find out which social media platforms your customers frequent, and plan your activity on those sites.

Step 2 Create a policy Be aware that employees may have personal blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other social media connections. Create a comprehensive social media policy to protect both individuals and the company as a whole. Encourage truthful, respectful posts that also protect confidential information, and take online security risks seriously.

Step 3 Get help Find reinforcements. Enlist social media-savvy people in your organization to contribute to company blogs, Twitter feeds, and more. This not only provides content for your business, it gives you a wider social base for your online campaign.

Step 4 Choose to engage Engage in a two-way conversation. Don’t just inform people about company products and events; add value to your social media strategy by sharing industry news, linking to outside web sites, and responding to comments. The stronger your relationship with your customers, the more they’ll spread the word about your business.

Step 5 Don't hide from negative comments Don’t hide from negative feedback. Ignoring social media won’t prevent critical comments; negative conversations will continue without you. Instead, take the opportunity to address concerns, improve your product, and understand your customers.

Step 6 Amplify your current strategy Amplify your current strategy. Get ahead of the conversation by listening for new opportunities to meet customer needs. Augment conventional forms of communication like press releases and traditional events like trade shows with social media components that engage your customers and maximize your investment.

Step 7 Measure results Determine what success means for your business and how to measure it. Track metrics that are driven from social media efforts, such as sales leads, direct purchases, search engine rankings, online and press mentions, and site traffic, and use that information to fine-tune your strategy. By being active in social media, you can reach customers and build your business in a whole new way.