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For many years, businesses have been actively learning and adapting to the ways that social media is changing discourse and the online experience. As more and more Americans use social media every day, businesses that want to be successful over the long term need to make sure that they understand how to leverage this powerful tool to connect with customers and potential employees.

Monetizing Reach

In the early years of social media, the platforms were a fantastic way to reach customers organically. As usage has grown, however, platforms have used algorithms to try and predict what customers want to see. This can make it harder for companies to reach even their followers.

The way to overcome this, of course, is paid reach. While there is some sticker shock involved, depending on the platform, paying for reach is a good way to make sure that ads and posts are targeted to customers. Tools allowing for insight and click through rates have improved, so you can ensure that you’re seeing benefits for your dollars.

Improved Training For Front Line Employees

Many employees are expected to use social media as part of their workplace experience, but little to no training is provided to teach them company standards about how to use social media as an employee. While this information is beginning to filter up through colleges, workplaces need to fill in the gaps by showing employees what they expect. Of course, this means that the business needs to understand as well.

Get ahead of the trend by creating company standards for employee profiles, and putting together tools that help employees understand what the expectations are for acting as a company representative in social media spheres.

Use Employees To Increase Reach

Many employers look at building their own social media platforms from scratch. In fact, they often have a ready-built audience for their posts and reach, in the form of employees. Employers who incentivize participation in the company social media can increase their reach without needing to pay for advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

Expanding CEO Brand

Many companies are still thinking of branding in terms of the overall company. While this is incredibly valid, CEOs need to step up and start thinking of their personal brand on social media. Especially in the business-to-business sphere, companies want to know the how and why of who they’re working with.

Delivering content and personalized company philosophy is just as important as the actual provided service.

CEOs who have yet to claim their online space need to do so.

Embracing Conversational Commerce

Many companies still look at social media as simply a marketing tool; in 2017, expect to see this change, at customer demand. Customers expect to use Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Messenger to connect to customer service rapidly. While some older CEOs might scoff at this, the idea is sensible; after all, if your favorite brand is Tweeting out advertisements and product thoughts, it makes sense to ask a question. That is, after all, the social part of social media.

Make sure that your company is ahead of the curve by finding out how your customers are talking to your employees, and support efforts to connect customers with the appropriate departments.

Responsive Website Design

In the past few years, Google algorithms have begun prioritizing websites which have responsive mobile designs on phones and tablets. If your webpage is not yet responsive, this must be fixed immediately. More and more web searching is happening on mobile devices, and if your website isn’t easy to browse on a smaller screen, your customers will click away and go somewhere else.

Talk to your web designer to ensure that your online presence is fully optimized for mobile presentation.

Tearing Down Sales/Customer Service/Marketing Silos

The older methods of corporate life encouraged sales, customer service, and marketing to work as completely separate entities, as if they weren’t all working with the same group of customers. If that was ever a functional business model, that time has passed.

It is completely essential for these three departments to work together, not create problems for each other, and for the customer to have a seamless and well-crafted experience.

Start breaking down silos by talking to department heads and understanding what problems are currently being created for other departments. Bring everyone together to start problem solving and understanding what work is being duplicated, and focus on the customer perspective to look for lost opportunities.

2017 has the potential to bring social media to the business forefront in an unprecedented way. What trends do you see influencing this year?

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