For many, the world of social media seems a daunting place. What with its constantly changing vernacular, its countless platforms that wax and wane in popularity— MySpace? That’s so 2004. But wait, it’s making a comeback! Nope, scratch that. It’s still uncool.— its ability to dispense “digital footprints” capable of following users for years to come. It’s enough to make you want to run the other way and hide behind the old Rolodex— at least you weren’t expected to “Like”, “Follow”, or “+1” each and every friend you kept in there…
But as our good friend Bobby said, “The times, they are a changin’.” Just ask the legendary lyricist himself, who has millions of fans on Facebook, maintains a personal Twitter account, and most recently sponsored a photo contest on Instagram. Social media is here to stay. And that’s good news for your business.
So before you make the case that your business is an exception to the rule, take a minute to read through these seven reasons why it needs (and can benefit from) social media:
1. Everybody’s doing it. According to a report by PewResearch, 73% of all adult Internet users are active on social networking sites. We aren’t talking “the kids and their computers” here. These are established individuals with real purchasing power who are spending their free time on these sites. So it behooves you to set up social accounts to get your business in front of these potential clients.
2. Taking it to the next level costs nothing. These days it’s not enough to build your business solely off of word of mouth marketing. You need to crank up the volume to get your brand’s voice heard. But amplifying your marketing efforts can carry a pretty steep price tag. These are the times social sites like Twitter and Facebook can and should become best buddies with your business. They allow you to notify targeted client demographics of promotions and product or service launches… for free. It costs nothing to join these sites and, when paired with a professional GigMasters profile, they maximize your business’ exposure to countless new clients.
3. Get inspired. Have you ever surfed around on a site like Pinterest? The sources of industry-specific inspiration are endless. That’s not to say you should use social media to lift others’ ideas to pass off as your own, but rather capitalize on the insight you’re getting into what other professionals in your industry are up to. If you haven’t joined any Groups on LinkedIn, you’re missing out. These boards are amazing means of collaborating and networking with like-minded individuals. Staying up to speed on social media even can even afford you a direct look at what your competitors are doing. Imagine, an exclusive look at their backroom, right at your fingertips.
4. …And inspire others. If only everyone knew how happy your clients were after that gig last weekend. Or that your business has been booked by multiple Fortune 500 companies to date. Then they’d see how reputable your service really is! You know where this is going. Social media allows you a variety of platforms through which you can broadcast all that your business has done, is doing, and will do, in a way that indirectly inspires potential clients. Because sometimes in-your-face-advertising isn’t the answer. Users of these sites— after stumbling upon that amazing picture of the bouquet you arranged, cake you constructed, or guests you had grooving on the dance floor— may then become users of your service.
5. It’s become a standard. Like having an LLC or impressive portfolio, having a digital trail to show for your business is now something clients expect to see. When they Google your name, they’re looking to find more information about your business, including photos, reviews, and samplings of past work. *Cue the segue into how handy social media is in fulfilling this client need.* Outside of your GigMasters profile, what will they see in relation to your business on a search results page?
6. It’s OK to be two-faced. If your answer to that last question involved the words “they’d see several of my business’ social accounts”, then you’re well on your way to adding a priceless level of credibility to your brand. That’s because social media allows for business owners to supplement the buttoned up façade that we expect with the human voice we desire. It’s another side or face to your business, where you can, for all intents and purposes, let your hair down. Casually interact with past and potential clients, network with other companies, and share inside glimpses into your life as a professional in the event industry. The (at least seemingly) spontaneous nature of social media will help to humanize your brand.
7. Instant engagement. For better or for worse, social media platforms open direct lines of communication between company and consumer. Think of it this way: when traditional word of mouth marketing isn’t enough, remember where today’s clients are turning to trade reviews, show off pictures, and vent about negative experiences. And if at any point in time you’ve fallen victim to that third one, social media can once again act as your best friend (and PR agency all wrapped up in one!) When used properly, social sites can allow you to swiftly address business-related dilemmas head on and, in turn, nip them in the bud. For the most part though, the instant interactions made possible by social media will serve to keep your leads engaged and your business on their radar. What more could you ask for? Staying active is the only way you’ll build a following that’s willing to interact with the content you put out there. So drop the role of “social cynic” and get your business plugged in. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Yelp, to name a few. Comment, post, or tweet at us for more tips of the trade (and get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes at #GigMastersHQ while you’re at it!)
Disclaimer: Always use common sense when utilizing social media for your business. Don’t post comments or pictures that could in any way offend clients. And don’t forget that your own personal accounts can easily show up in search results, so be mindful of the content you publish there as well.