In January 2024, I will complete 13 years in the social media industry. Despite being a National-level Award Winner for the same, among the many other laurels that I’ve been humbled to receive, I often say this: The only difference between me and a fresher today is that I can predict trends and create strategy, and I can write faster captions. With technology growing so rapidly in the internet space, it is important that we stay up-to-date if we are to generate any revenue out of it, otherwise those that are less experienced and lack quality will soon take over.
Due to the fact that I’ve mostly worked in the startup ecosystem while I was employed until 2016, we never really had “Marketing Ad Budgets” which pushed me to excel in deriving results organically. These results included an increase in followers, acceleration in inbound leads with faster conversions, and a need to create thumb-stopping content since we had no budgets to promote. Organic growth on social media eventually became my USP even as a ‘Social Media Solutionist’ when I started my own firm, House Of GKB, in the same year.
However, WHY should you be spending your time and effort on building your brand on social media for business? Here are some statistics (Source: Hootsuite)
- More than 4.74 billion people across the world use social media. That’s 3X the population of the most populous country in the world, India.
- 90% of Instagram users follow a business
- 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn “drive business decisions”
- 68% of users watched YouTube to help them make a purchase decision
- Snapchatters hold $4.4 trillion in spending power
While there are ample statistics that support the fact that social media is a necessity for your business, now more than ever, how can we do that in the fastest way possible, organically?
Today, social media is considered as a Business Development tool. Look at it as an investment, not an expense. We also have to understand that this is a long-term game, and expecting ROI in terms of revenue can take some time. Before we leap for sales, we need to build a brand, then do marketing, and then focus on lead generation. The best way to get business lies when you don’t have to sell to your customers, rather they buy from you. Wouldn’t you agree?
Additionally, if you’re stuck in the loop of perfection and judgment, you will find yourself procrastinating and not executing. If people don’t know about your great product/ service then how will they like you? If they don’t like you, they won’t buy from you. If they won’t buy from you, you won’t be giving them a chance to trust you and refer you.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Today, a Social Media Manager in any organization cannot be an absolute fresher. To be effective at their job, they must have, not only technical knowledge and experience, but also the maturity to align them to your business goals. Include your Social Media Manager in these conversations. I always suggest to my clients that they should have an in-house Social Media Manager to do execution work, and a consultant to help bridge the gap between the organization’s goals and social media goals. This also ends up being the most optimal way for companies to leverage their resources.
Personal branding and employee branding
Have you heard of the phrase, “People buy people first and then their products/ services”? If people don’t like you, they are not even going to hear what you have to sell. Let’s take this further. Everyone in your organization is a salesperson. They are your brand ambassadors. Even if they can’t directly get you sales, they are responsible for indirect sales, or even recruitment. Fortune 500s and MNCs often invite me to train their teams on building their brand on LinkedIn. That’s where you should start, too. Personal Branding of the Founder and C-Level Executives is more important. 89% of people check out your online presence even after being referred to. Your potential investors, customers/ clients, and employees have already made up their mind if they want to work with you before they even meet you.
There is a massive myth that the emergence of AI will eradicate some job roles. AI will only make your work easier and faster, making it possible to create more in less time. It will only be beneficial to embrace AI with open arms and hire someone who will not only execute it technically and will also learn to customize it according to brand voice. In 2023, brands are even opening up to the idea of creating content and immersive experiences through the metaverse, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). You’ll be surprised that you can actually do this for free, too!
To get maximum ROI for business, it’s important to have a very focused, authentic, consistent, and human-centric brand on social media. Some of the most effective content methods for businesses are creating infotainment content, leveraging social media influencers, sharing testimonials/ reviews, showcasing company culture, conducting polls and lives, and only shamelessly selling 20% of the time. Additionally, focus on building a community and conducting events, offline and online, and integrate it. More importantly is to engage with your followers and build a relationship with them.
There are ample ideas to utilize social media for business on the internet, but one needs to know what methods work, not just the fastest, but in the most sustainable manner. It will be lonely in the beginning but it’s a snowball effect. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait!
Gurnoor Kaur Behl, is a social media solutionist and creator working with online personal brands