What should you know about social media?

1. What is social media?


The term social media refers to the platforms that allow for ways to communicate in online interactions. It involves the creation of communities where participants have the possibility of starting and/or interacting in discussions/subjects.


It's no longer just about a simple discussion between two people; nowadays people have the possibility to share and to exchange information - quickly and in real time - with a whole group, or even the whole world!


Over the past few years, the number of social media platforms and their users have continued to grow, which indicates that their importance is only increasing. The most famous social networks are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.


2. Why do we need to consider social media?


With the arrival of the Internet, consumer habits evolved, and potential customers do more shopping directly on the Internet. Social media generate a great deal of traffic  because of the diversity of their content and the number of active users. This makes it a significant way to interact with customers.


Furthermore, your customers are going to exchange information with friends and/or other Internet users on social media, and they are going to ask for recommendations, express their opinions, comment on the actions of your company, etc. This is why it's important to take this into account and take part in these exchanges. It really adds value to your customer service and will set you apart from your competition.


These exchanges also allow for the creation of a community, which can form a link or connection between your company and your customers/prospects. This link enables you to promote your company and its values, work on your brand identity, or release information and promotions (gift cards or discount coupons, for example).


A social media account will also give your company access to various data such as the age of your followers, their origin, the impact of your publications, and the possibility to analyse feedback and suggestions of your subscribers.


Some facts about social media:

-       72% of adult Internet-users use social networking sites (source: Beginner's Guide to Social Media - MOZ),

-       Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users every month (source: Beginner's Guide to Social Media - MOZ),

-       75% of Facebook Brand 'Likes' come from advertisements (source: The Growth of Social Media - The Huffington Post),

-       71% of companies are using Facebook (source: The Growth of Social Media - The Huffington Post).

-       35-49 year-olds spend the most time on social media - 6 hours and 58 minutes per week. 18-34 year-olds come in second, spending 6 hours and 19 minutes per week on social media (source: Nielsen's 2016 Social Media Report).

-       39% of heavy social media users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using  social media; 35% of heavy users cite special discounts such as access to exclusive offers and coupons as important (source: Nielsen's 2016 Social Media Report).


3. How can you optimise your website via social media?


Two aspects are important: the use of social media share buttons on your website and the creation of social media accounts for your company. It's important to connect your website to the social media that you have chosen.


The share buttons should be directly integrated into your website. It is best to make them visible on all the pages of your website to allow the sharing of content from your website with just one click. The more the contents of your website are shared, the more traffic will be generated, and this will improve your rankings in the search engines result pages.


Your company's social media accounts will allow you to directly share certain information with followers of your page, such as promotions, games and contests, new products or services, photos and videos (use other social media with a lot of traffic for this, like Pinterest, for example), your company's values (such as association support, brand identity), and so on. You can also use these accounts to share job offers.


It's difficult to estimate how frequently you should share information on social media (it will depend on factors such as customer interactions, queries and feedback, for example) but it's nevertheless important to release information regularly - at least two comments a month. If you have a blog, you should also publish your articles on social media. It's not necessary to create content specifically for social media, you can also share information about your company's activities and interests.

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