Given the overwhelming amount of information available on social media, we know what it is, though not everyone is persuaded of its benefit, professionally. And given that the ground is never still beneath our feet [Google changed 40 elements of its search process last month-- 40], the resources needed to participate, monitor, track and analyze social media activity is off putting purely in terms of the knowledge and time needed to manage it well. Even so, as professionals we do need to be part of the dialogue. Here's why:
Brand awareness--the broad scoped visibility social media enables is both affordable and effective. Knowing your target and understanding the demographics of participants on each platform conserves your energy so that rather than attempting to 'be everywhere' you refine your approach, sending messages directly to your audience. A 2014 Pew Research Center study found that while 70 percent of those online were on Facebook, most Facebook users were between the ages of 18 and 29. Is that your target audience?
The study also found that between 2013 and 2014 of the 23% of internet users on the platform, "Twitter saw an increase in white males, users over age 65, users with college degrees, and users making more than $50k/year." The right spot for you? Or Linked In, well- respected and utilized by the business community. And there are many other platforms on which you can find the demographic uniquely connected to your business, so in posting to the platform your customers/clients frequent, you have an opportunity to build a relationship.
Relationship building-- think about the time and effort it takes, as a professional, to build trust and credibility in your field, and then to communicate that expertise. Social media platforms provide the space within which you can control your message and manage reputation. And, not only does engaging in conversations benefit you by building relationships and providing important information, it also drives leads.
The ROI is pretty clear, and in terms of what to say, you already know-- the element key to building every professional relationship, off or online, is providing value to your target audience.