To Succeed With Social Media, Businesses Need Goals

We are part of The Trust Project
Chris S. Cornell
Chris S. Cornell

With the fast-growing popularity of social media, more and more small businesses and organizations are feeling the need to establish an on-line presence. Business owners are being told that if they don’t stake a claim in this social media gold rush, they will fall behind, and run the risk of never catching up.

There are many excellent reasons why individuals, businesses and organizations should become involved in social media, but I’ve been noticing that with the frenzy surrounding it, that many are rushing in blindly — with no idea of what it is they’re trying to accomplish. With no clear objectives, many social media users quickly become frustrated by their lack of results, and abandon their efforts when they fail to see benefits.

There are many different ways a business or organization can reap rewards from social media. Here are a few:

  • Build a community of fans: This is probably the most obvious way for business owners to make use of social media. What’s better than a having the support of a large community of fans that talks about your product, supports your business and tells their friends? There are many local businesses that are already enjoying success with this.  Pleasantville’s Flour and Sun Bakery owner Denise Treco has done an excellent job of using social media to cultivate a community of almost 900 fans on Facebook. Flour and Sun posts photos of their cupcakes, information about classes, links to news stories about the business and more. Each post affords Flour and Sun’s customers — many of whom have become evangelists for the business — the opportunity to comment and share that information with their friends.
  • Establish yourself as an expert: There are many businesses where customers are specifically looking for someone who is known to be an expert in the field. These include financial planning firms, insurance agencies, and health and fitness facilities, among others. By producing quality content that establishes you (and your business) as a category leader, you give your customers confidence in your abilities, and give potential customers a reason to give your business a try. Larysa DiDio — who co-owns PFX Fitness in Pleasantville with her husband Steven — has successfully used social media to highlight her expertise as an expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. DiDio produces useful videos, writes articles and doses out valuable advice to her community of more than 1,400 on her Larysa’s Fit Club Facebook page that ties in with a well-produced and frequently updated website and blog. DiDio is frequently interviewed for news articles and television segments — further building the strength of her brand.
  • Hear what others are saying: With the explosion of social media, it has become more important than ever to listen for what others are saying about you (and your competitors) online. By listening, you will often have the opportunity to help shape the conversation. One excellent way of finding out what is being said about you or your business is to use Google Alerts. This service will alert you to online mentions of the terms you specify. I recommend that you do an alert for your business name, certain product names, and any other terms that are critical to your business.
  • Develop a professional network: The various social media platforms provide an abundance of opportunities for building a network in which critically useful information can be obtained and shared. Visit LinkedIn or Facebook to see what groups already exist that may be helpful to you as you pursue your personal, business or organizational goals. There are groups that exist for specific interests and products — and these groups are often comprised of people from a targeted geographic area. An excellent example of a network that has quickly gained a large following is the Professional Women of Westchester (more than 400 fans on the group’s Facebook page and more than 150 members in the LinkedIn group). There is a group or page for every interest imaginable. Find yours today. While you’re at it, visit the Westchester Social Media page I manage on Facebook. Its purpose is to provide information and resources that will help those in the Westchester area as they attempt to navigate the often uncharted waters of social media.

Chris S. Cornell owns and operates Cornell Gallery in Pleasantville, NY. He also manages several online communities, and consults, speaks and writes about social media.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.