How understanding social media will make you a better entrepreneur
When we’re stuck inside our national geographies, it is easy to forget that life is global.
Even the sports we follow with passion in our native country – be it cricket, rugby, Association football (soccer) or American football – are just a fraction of the worldwide sports discussion. Here in Southeast Asia, table tennis and Muay Thai athletes command the largest fan base.
This bubble effect is compounded by the reality that most people don’t travel internationally and spend large amounts of time exploring new cultures. A few weeks on holiday or spring break will not really immerse you in a culture, but it can whet your appetite.
For entrepreneurs, this mindset is bad for business. We live in a fast-moving, highly-connected, global society. Someone sitting in a coffee shop in the Philippines can be providing customer service for a business based in Philadelphia, USA.
Consider that Asia has the largest percentage of Internet users in the world with 49.8 percent participation. North America clocks in at 8.3 percent of all Internet users, while Europe is second with 17 percent.
Social media provides the best platform to leverage the global society.
There are over 3 billion active social media users in the world. This is an increase of 21 percent from 2016. And it is readily available for entrepreneurs of all sizes. But many are missing the boat to truly benefit from social media as a strategic asset.
Have you created a domain based on your name? If your answer is no, then you’re asleep at the wheel. The new and popular generic top-level domains (gTLD) such as .guru, .online, .xyz have sparked tremendous growth.
On a global scale, over nine million domain names have been registered, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Chinese entities have snatched up half of all generic top-level domains, Christian Voss, chief marketing officer at domain trading marketplace Sedo, told CNBC.
As an entrepreneur, you don’t want someone else to capitalize on your personal brand. A better strategy is to secure your brand and then utilize it as a platform to build value by using social media. But how is this done?
Let’s remember that we don’t own the popular social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (even if we buy stock in those that are publicly traded). But we can leverage their audiences and drive the traffic to a location that we do own, such as our website — and associated email list.
The bulls-eye for entrepreneurs is getting our products and services in front of the right audience at the right time.
Can you imagine a better way to do this than being able to email people who have opted in to our list? These fans have given us their permission and want to receive our messages. Done properly you can build this list to unlimited size and generate untold revenue through direct marketing.
The social media advantages for entrepreneurs don’t stop there
Consider the fact that social media can be used to raise capital by tapping into crowdfunding. We can create a blog and post content that is useful, valuable and rich in keywords. This approach increases our visibility in search engine results.
Now, when B2B or B2C prospects are looking for information and in a buying mode our brand appears in their search results. Being top of mind for a hot prospect is priceless.
What about your existing customers? Social media gives them a way to practice digital word-of-mouth by clicking the “like” button, “checking in” to your location or “sharing” their experience through pictures, videos and reviews.
As a business owner, this can either be like public relations gold or a nightmare.
Social media can also be used to improve customer service. A third-party endorsement going directly to the family, friends and social connects of our existing buyers is powerful.
Through monitoring hashtags, keywords, and including links to our social profile on receipts and invoices, we offer existing customers ongoing access to our company. How many of your competitors are missing out on this opportunity?
This primary feedback also provides you a rapid-fire way to do customer surveys, online focus groups and even reward your loyal fans with perks like beta access to products or VIP status for events.
As an entrepreneur, you can add value by using digital tools to tell your story.
Video, audio and even virtual reality allow us to bring prospective and existing customers into our space and behind the scenes for a personal touch. It is true that “people buy from people they know, like and trust”. Use this to your advantage.
The key here is that this level of customization is only available by understanding the possibilities to connect social media to our business goals and objectives. For many entrepreneurs this will require a shift in the current mindset.
Social media offers the most powerful platform ever to achieve these goals worldwide at a fraction of the traditional cost of marketing, advertising and public relations. This means more money going directly to our bottom line.
And increased profits is a language that every entrepreneur should speak.