Why go social?

By Neha Shukla, Social Media Editor, One Health Organisation

There are several case studies from small business owners and budding entrepreneurs, all the way up to global brands, supporting the notion that effective use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is beneficial for a commercial enterprise. But is social media just as advantageous for a social enterprise? Unsurprisingly the answer is a resounding yes, provided it is properly executed.

A social enterprise applies commercial strategies to achieve improvement in human or environmental well-being. Simply put, it combines social mission with business vision. To amplify its reach, a social enterprise must think outside the box. It must therefore look for solutions that are unique and cost effective such peer-to-peer platforms and social media technologies.

OHOsocialmediaAround nine million Australians – more than one third of the population – visit Facebook every day. Visibility on Facebook and other popular social media platforms mean exposure to a large population without a huge marketing spend and is therefore the perfect tool for start up social enterprises. But, there is more to social media than just starting a Facebook page or opening a Twitter account. Having a good, clear social media strategy from the start is extremely important.

For enterprises just setting up their social media profiles, there are many do’s and don’ts available on the internet. But most experts agree on the following basic principles for effective use of social media sites.

  • Target your efforts rather than being everything to everyone. Talk to your audience more often but about specific things.

  • Present your enterprise accurately and honestly. Social media users are experts at distinguishing genuine individuals and organisations from the pretentious.

  • Provide value through useful content. Authentic, original content, expert commentary and solution to problems help you cut through the noise and stand out as a genuine enterprise. Building your own blog and publishing original content regularly is another good practice establishing an authoritative voice.

  • Don’t get too caught up in conversion rates or measuring success in the beginning. Use the social media platform for networking. Focus on building meaningful connections.

  • Monitor your community as you go. Are you attracting the audience you initially planned to? If not, try to get back on track with the right content or re-think your initial strategy.

Social media is alive, well and growing fast. With creativity and persistence, it can prove to be a very effective instrument for often resource poor social enterprises.