Simply put the answer, imho, is yes. Social Media sites enable businesses to connect to consumers on a more personal level. However, Social Media is not the Holy Grail to drive revenue up, and is not successful in a vacuum. It is simply another way to reinforce your brand to your core customers. You need to have all of the online pieces neatly and thoughtfully strung together in an organized, professional manner to make any of them work for your business. Just like you wouldn’t launch a Website and expect traffic to find it without promotion, you wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) set up Social Media accounts and expect customers to flock to them (or to find them) on their own.
Social Media is most “successful” when incorporated into your business’s overall online presence. It is only the icing on the cake, and your Website and your online advertising efforts are the cake itself, the substance of the business’s online profile. Go ahead, set up Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts for your business – but don’t stop there! Link these accounts from your Website where your visitors will easily see them. Include Links to your Social Media accounts in your business e-newsletters, customer support email signatures, online advertisements, etc.
Take these Social Media accounts one step further by choosing a unique URL or “Vanity URL” that makes sense for your business. Facebook will require you to have a minimum number of people following your business’s page (at least 25 fans) before you can create a custom URL. If you already have 25 fans, you can easily edit the URL yourself by logging into your Facebook page’s admin account and setting the user name for your Facebook page. For example, my business is a Search Engine for SEO and our Facebook URL is http://www.facebook.com/SEOEngine. It looks more professional than a number, and is easy for customers to remember and find. If you don’t have 25 fans, start with the other Social Media accounts to secure your brand name before someone else does! Your Twitter account will be @yourbusinessname. For example the SEO Engine’s Twitter account is http://twitter.com/SEOEng, but we can reference it simply as @SEOEng.
Twitter is best used to provide your customers with up-to-the-minute info on your latest promotions, industry events and news. Don’t spam your followers’ Twitter feeds with hundreds of unfounded tweets about how great your business is – respect their time by tweeting about things that will help them most. If that happens to be a sale you have going on, or an article written about your business, great! Otherwise, keep your tweets relevant to your industry and informative for your customers. You want to grow your following, not annoy them…
Many Social Networks enable you to consolidate Social Media posts. For example, you can write a post on your Facebook page’s wall, and that post will then automatically be “tweeted” via your Twitter account, which will automatically post to your LinkedIn profile. These features save you time and money! There are many other Social Networks too, take some time and explore your options. Most are free and will help you to quickly and effectively establish your business’s presence online.