benefits of social mediaEarlier this week Chris Ford and I Introduced the “Beyond Empire Avenue” Facebook Group. I want to start discussing how we can work together to better use EAv to accomplish our business, nonprofit and personal goals that go Beyond Empire Avenue.

Empire Avenue is supposed to be “social media rocket fuel.”  It’s intended to super-charge our social media efforts.  But, before we can figure out how to better use EAv, we’ve got to know why we’re using social media. In other words… First, we determine what our social media goals are, then we determine how to better use EAv to reach them.  Make sense?

Today I published a post on my company’s Christian Web Trends blog titled 12 Benefits of Social Media.  Since I wrote it and own the copyright, I can borrow the content and repost the list here:

  1. Branding. Sharing by you and your connections gets your organization in front of people and gives it personality.
  2. Networking/subscribers. Once you connect with someone, it gives you the opportunity to interact with them and provide more news and information on a regular basis. May eventually lead to future sales/support/action.
  3. Collaboration. Social media connections can lead to partnerships and new ventures.
  4. Social proof. Likes/comments/shares imply content has quality and the author has authority.
  5. Search rankings. Shares and likes improve search rankings.
  6. Sales. Social media can lead to direct sales.
  7. Learning. Connect with wise people who can help you get better.
  8. Content. Connect with people who produce great content you can share with your connections and elaborate on.
  9. Customer service. Opportunities to help and listen to customers.
  10. Customer loyalty. Ongoing communication strengthens the relationship and keeps customers coming back.
  11. Serving others. You can help others by encouraging, answering questions, providing advice, meeting needs.
  12. Leading change. Social media can enable a person to build or join a tribe of people who share a passion. Together they can brainstorm, plan, coordinate and act to accomplish more than they could individually.

Personal Bonus: The 12 benefits above all apply to organizations using social media. One additional set of benefits stand out because they’re personal (and because nobody wants a list with 13 items on it). Those benefits include friendships, encouragement, fun and laughs that come through social media.

Additional Benefits Contributed in Comments (Added 11/28)

Two more important benefits of social media were contributed by others in the comments.  I didn’t want them to get overlooked, so I decided to edit the post and add them here:

13)  Personal branding/followers – If you’re a social media manager, you may want to use social media to increase your own personal brand and followers, which you can then leverage to market whatever product, organization or cause you like in the future. (contributed by Chris Ford)

14) Getting into the recommendation chain – Research shows the most trusted form of marketing is the recommendation of a friend. So, the idea here is that while you may be able to reach a certain number of people through social media, those people has dozens of friends beyond your reach who they might recommend you to. This could fit under #1 branding, but I thought it was worth noting separately. (contributed by Roger Koplenig)

Any other possible benefits you can think of?

Why are you using social media?

In the next post we’ll discuss how to use Empire Avenue to accomplish these goals. (Please don’t jump the gun and get into that yet. Thanks!)