Why you should connect online

by Ofentse Sefolo
Why you should connect online

As the saying goes, becoming successful in business is not just about WHAT you know, but also about WHO you know. In fact, it is also about who knows YOU.
This is why networking is so important in building a business. And in this day and age, social media platforms are where the conversation is taking place. These platforms continue to grow and evolve, enabling users to connect with fellow professionals and end-users using text, images and video.

The mistake many marketers make is to think that every single touch point with their audience should be used to sell, but social media is about more than that. It is about connecting with people, creating awareness, becoming recognisable and staying top of mind, building rapport and creating experiences that people won’t forget.

Popular platforms:
•    Facebook – build online communities and creating a general following, share ideas, create awareness around projects and inspire.
•    Twitter – short conversations using #hashtags with links to more information.
•    YouTube – share videos that illustrate, inspire, document or educate.
•    LinkedIn – connect with like-minded professionals, share and demonstrate expertise, and build a professional reputation.
•    Instagram – a visual platform that revolves around beautiful images and also makes use of #hashtags.
•    Pinterest – create photo albums of projects and group ideas for inspiration.
•    WhatsApp – still a very personal platform, WhatsApp is expected to launch a new update later this year that will allow businesses to create company profiles and connect with users such as through order, transaction and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. Users will, however, be able to manage these communications to their preferences.

It takes time to build up a significant following on these platforms though, so it might be a good idea to also partner with a media company to create a focused strategy and leverage platforms with existing audiences.

Words are overrated
So what should the message look like? With so much information out there, people often don’t read long paragraphs, but rather gravitate towards pictures and videos to get the message in the shortest time possible so that they can move on. Therefore live action and visual storytelling are key for brands looking to get noticed on social media.

One of the most popular functionalities now is live videos. In fact, according to a social and digital marketing trend report by Stacy DeBroff, chief executive officer and founder of Influence-Central, based on researching and working with over 350 brands last year, livestreaming increases engagement by 175%. Facebook statistics back this up, showing that live videos are watched three times longer than the same videos when they are not live.

Conference organisers livestream interaction sessions, while Facebook Live enables users to upload live videos, giving audiences the opportunity to comment and react while the video is streaming, and Google Hangouts also provide a built-in feature for product demos.

One of the most significant trends is that mobile devices have become the primary form of accessing social media. Just looking at Facebook, about 85% of its 14-million users are accessing the platform using mobile devices. This is significantly up from about 77% the year before.

The same is true for people looking for information on the Internet and accessing company websites on the go. It is therefore crucial for websites to be mobile friendly, because if people can’t access the information they need on their phones or tablets, it becomes very frustrating.

It is also important that websites are updated regularly so that the latest information is always available. Keep in mind that they are a reflection of the company and often the first point of contact for potential and existing customers.

Be visible
Without an online presence, companies may become almost invisible. Use websites and social media platforms to add value to people’s lives, whether it is through suggesting solutions to problems they might have, presenting beautiful pictures or inspiration, by providing good service feedback or just by supplying the up-to-date information that they hope to find.

Contact us today to help you maximise your online presence.
Marlene van Rooyen
083 327 3746

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