Simon Gasson, Joint Managing Director of So Clean Cleaning and Support Services, reports

Our lives are dominated by social media, but when it comes to using it for business advantage, most people I speak to our industry, either don’t understand how it works or thinks it’s a waste of time. Neither of which makes for a good starting point in developing a social media strategy.

In my opinion, while I use LinkedIn personally for networking purposes, I don’t have time to spend on the nitty-gritty of tweeting or posting on a Facebook business page – I leave that to others.

What I do know, is that all serve a purpose for us, whether it’s reaching out to prospects, recruiting staff or just supporting local organisations (such as the local football team).

In fact, I think the secret with social media is to recognise that they all have benefits and are used differently by audiences for their information gathering purposes.

When it comes to business development, I would say it’s less about direct approaches and more about giving prospects the opportunity to come to you, so that when their time comes to purchase, your name in front of mind.

Ensuring our brand is out there in social media channels, allows liking, sharing and retweeting to occur.

To give you an example, you can post a news item or an article on linked in. Those who like it will expose your post to their connections. This may include prospects you don’t have direct connections to.

We feel regular, well written and informative content, shared on social media but deployed on our website, is a great way to maximise exposure and show that we are proactive and professional in our online activities, including embracing social media.

So, is there a trick with Twitter?

Whilst it’s tempting to deliver a constant stream of self-promotional tweets, which does, in fact, promote the brand and maintain interest to a degree, there needs to be a balance and interactions with people directly, is the trick many misses.

Building contacts and embracing opportunities to engage with new people is the new way of marketing online, but finding the time to do this, is a challenge for all businesses.

In short, as with any other type of marketing, the effectiveness of social media really depends on how well it helps you reach your target audience.