In this guide, we talk about why social media is important for your business, the top social media platforms, setting up your profile, and how to tap into this stream of potential customers.
Why is Social Media Marketing Important?
It’s also a great customer service tool. People like to hear real-life customers talking about how great your company and your customer service is, and anything that can help your marketing is certainly worth doing!
Customers can also contact you directly via your social media channels and ask questions which can help generate those all important sales and enquiries.
Top Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses
Facebook is the number one social media network among marketers, with over a billion monthly active users at present. Businesses can effectively target users across a wide range of ages and demographics with Facebook ads. Creating a personalised business page allows you to share relevant content, including text, images, and video with your followers.
Youtube is the largest video sharing platform, and second largest search engine, with an estimated 1.58 billion users in 2018. Youtube also allows you to share your videos across other social platforms and embed videos to your website, giving you the option to use video in your marketing strategy.
Twitter is a fast-paced micro-blogging site with 336 million estimated monthly visitors. Messages are short, with a limit of 280 characters per post. Posts can be organised by hashtags (#), for example, using the popular #MondayMotivation tag allows your tweet to be found by people searching for similar posts with the same tag. This can be especially useful for getting information out there to the masses.
Twitter ads can also generate an additional stream of traffic and customers. With the facility to link your account to Facebook, your posts can be shared to both platforms at once and thus saving time for time-challenged small businesses.
Instagram is an online photo and video sharing platform, with over half of its users being under the age of 30. It enables users to share photos and short videos either privately to your followers or publicly to new prospects. It is particularly useful and effective for visual products.
Hashtags are also popular on Instagram; allowing you to expand your reach, as well as search and discover pages of interest. Using Instagram ads let businesses reach more people, engage with followers, and promote their products. Your Instagram account can also be linked up with Facebook and Twitter, so your posts can be shared across multiple platforms at once.
Pinterest is an online service where you can upload, save, and share images, interests, and web pages and create boards of your interests and pin content to your boards. For example, you come across a great recipe you want to make, but you haven’t got the time. No problem! You can pin your recipe to refer to at a later date.
Linkedin is a professional network for people and businesses to connect, share industry information, and recommend each other. It’s also a place where you can add your skills and qualifications for clients and potential prospects.
Google+ is slightly different to other social networks. It has the option for businesses to post and share in a format that is very similar to Facebook and Linkedin, however, profiles can be highly visible in Google’s search results. So while the platform has failed to compete with the likes of Facebook, it is still important to share information to improve your website’s visibility.
It’s also connected to the Google My Business platform, which is critical for local businesses and regional offices of national companies wishing to appear in Google’s localised search results.
Snapchat is a relatively new platform, and while largely popular with a younger audience, it’s worth noting that with more than 150 million users and the option of paid marketing, it is fast becoming a place to build brand awareness. Like other platforms, a business can send photos and videos to their followers, however, these ‘snaps’ are only available for 10 seconds before they disappear forever.
How to Choose the Right Social Platform/s for Your Business
Not every social platform will work for your business. And that’s OK. You don’t have to be on every one. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you decide.
How Do You Want to Interact with Your Customers?
Will your posts be more visual or more text based? Do you use video? How frequently do you want to post out? Will you use humour or a more formal manner?
These are all things to think about when choosing a social platform and determining the voice of your business.
Which Platforms Do Your Customers Use?
Research other companies and their social interactions. Ask family and friends how they interact on social media, and you’ll soon get a feel for how your customers think.
If you serve the public then you may be wasting your time on LinkedIn and likewise, if you have a B2B focus then Facebook may not be the platform for you.
How Much Time Do You Have to Commit to Posting?
If your time is precious (and let’s face it, whose isn’t?!) you may not have the time to commit to lots of platforms. Choose one or a couple and focus your energy on those. It is far better to do one platform well than several poorly.
Getting Your Profiles Set Up
Once you have signed up to your chosen platform/s, the next step is building your business profile page. There are a few basics you can do to get started:
- Add your business logo and banner image
- Add a business description or bio
- Add contact details
- Add your website address
- Add widgets linking to your other profiles
- Start building an online presence
Remember that the different networks all have different requirements for logos and banner images and that how you present yourself is crucial here – if you look sloppy on social media, then you are sending the wrong message to prospects and customers!
Check out our tips for getting the most out of your Twitter header here.
Interacting with your customers and gaining followers is the key to your profile’s success:
- Add your email contacts – most sites will give you the option to add contacts once you have signed up.
- Post great content – is it relevant? Will your customers want to read it? Is it shareable?
- Listen to your customers – regularly monitor posts & interactions and offer helpful solutions and advice.
- Plan ahead – use a social scheduling tool like Hootsuite to schedule in advance.
- Plan any seasonal events or promotions in advance.
- Monitor your posts – pay attention to which posts generate the most interaction or sales.
- Keep your profile active – post regularly and monitor all communications.
- Use promotions or exclusive offers.
- Use paid ads to boost popular posts.
- Use hashtags (#) – expand the reach of your post to make your content viewable by anyone, beyond just your followers.
- Respond to negative comments – respond promptly and politely and always try to offer a solution.
- Ask satisfied customers for a positive review – after all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
A Parting Thought
One last point worth noting. It can prove tricky getting back into an account if access becomes lost. This can happen for various reasons; forgotten login details, one person in control of admin, the page admin leaves the company, etc. We’ve seen it happen. You’ve spent your hard-earned time and resources building an online presence, only for you to lose control of it. Soul destroying!
To prevent losing a profile, backup your passwords (keep all your passwords in one place with a password manager tool, such as LastPass), add a recovery email and phone number and make a minimum of two people an admin of your page or profile.
If it’s too late for you, check out our post on reclaiming lost Google + pages here.
Now all that remains is to get started. What are you waiting for?!
Need help with your social media marketing? We can help!