These days it is rare to find a business that doesn’t have an online social presence.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have become important platforms for businesses to promote themselves and connect with potential customers.
If you’re not Instagramming your latest products or tweeting about that amusing event that happened in the office today, your business runs the risk of falling behind the times.
However, while social media seems like a fun, free and easy way to promote your business, it also requires hard work, time and understanding to get it right.
So what exactly is social media and why is it good for your business?
If we think back to 2006/7 when Twitter and Facebook really took off, their primary use was to allow people to interact and create personal networks. It was about friendships and keeping in touch with people you went to university with. Businesses have since grabbed hold of these extensive networks and are using them to their advantage, and social media platforms have developed new ways for businesses to create profiles and pages through which they can communicate with potential customers.
Social media provides a direct connection with people who may be interested in your product or service, and it allows you to build an online community of customers who like your brand. It is a free (or relatively inexpensive) way to build brand awareness – a digital word-of-mouth promotion of who you are and what you have to offer.
When starting your business’s social media campaign, it is important to keep a few key things in mind.
Some careful planning and strategic decision making can help ensure your social media activity is successful. Deciding what exactly you want to achieve from social media is key. Note: social media was never designed as a marketing tool and it is important to remember that it is a space for communicating with customers and growing a community.
The number of Twitter followers you have will not directly correspond to the number of sales you make.
However, engaging and interacting with people online will increase people’s interest in your company, build brand awareness and potentially lead to new customers.
Understanding how much time, money and resources you want to spend on your social media activity is important. Establishing an extensive social media campaign but not having the staff to run it will only result in a waste of time and effort.
Be realistic in what you can spend and what you expect to get out of it.
Choose your platform
Not all social media platforms are appropriate for all businesses and choosing the best platforms is key to a successful campaign.
Instagram is great for businesses selling beautiful products or delicious food (mmm… pancakes…) while it is perhaps not so useful for an accounting firm.
Every platform requires resources and time so it is important to choose wisely.
Understand how it works
If you’re really determined to build up your following and interest online, it is important to do your research.
Learning how hashtags and search functions work and how users engage through each platform will give you some great insights into how to build your networks.
Social media companies are regularly changing algorithms and adding new functions so it is important to keep up to date with the latest changes.
A quiet social media account will not attract interest so make sure to post updates regularly.
However, don’t be that annoying business that bombards customers with constant messages.
Find a comfortable balance that keeps your customers entertained and informed.
Social media provides you with a great opportunity to showcase your business’s personality.
Have some fun, be conversational and interact with your clients as you would if you were speaking to them face to face.
You can also see what people are saying about you – be sure to respond to clients’ questions and comments to show that you’re listening and that you care.
Ready to give social media a go? Have questions about how it could help your business?
Feel free to get in touch for more information and advice.