It’s a fair question. No one wants to waste valuable time doing something that’s not going to prove beneficial. The answer is that Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and the rest, are essentially networking tools, and they’re really useful for growing your list of business connections, or as customer service tools, or as a way to demonstrate your expertise in your field and attract more customers. Or all three of course!
Face to face networking is, in my opinion, the best kind of networking. However, we don’t have the time for every networking event that comes our way. Online networking is a great way to start relationships, and it also helps to build relationships already in existence. We can take the relationships started online into the offline realm, whilst also connecting with those you’ve met at an event or show on social media and continuing the relationship. The two types of networking can feed into each other, building and growing your community online and offline.
You can access people online when they’re not able to be at a networking event, or business show etc., perhaps because they have a shop or restaurant to run. You can communicate when it suits you, even when everyone else is asleep and they can catch up with you in the morning when it suits them. You can be building relationships without having to leave your office chair, or shop floor, or home office. The promising ones can then be taken offline if you like, to meet at a tweet up, or a business conference, or a one on one meeting to discuss opportunities.
Also, social media gives you access to people who are using these marketing tools in your local area, but also allows you to reach people further afield, in the rest of London, the whole of the UK, or even the entire world; and depending on your business model this could be immensely useful.
There are millions of people using social media applications every day and increasingly they are following brands and searching for products and services (particularly requesting recommendations) using social media. So, why would you not be there waiting?
So the short answer to the question of why your business needs social media, is that social media helps you speed up your networking efforts, build your contact list and improve relationships already in existence, whilst allowing you to demonstrate your industry expertise to an increasingly online population in order to attract more customers.
Personally, I think it’s a no-brainer, but you can judge for yourself.