How do I get Social Media to Work for my Business?
We are all aware of the importance of Social Media for our businesses but with so many different Social Media options it is difficult to know where to get started.
The key is to choose the platforms that are most suitable for your business, choose one or two channels and make them work rather than spreading yourself across more channels.
Develop a plan for your social media activity. Your plan needs to cover:
- Which platforms are you going to focus on?
- How often will you post?
- What style of posts will you use?
- Who is responsible in the business for the social media a single person or multiple people?
- Do you outsource your businesses social media?
Social media takes time so once you have a strategy sorted stick with it and you will see the benefits.
The most important thing to remember about social media is that it is all about two way communication. So when writing posts encourage comments from others and respond to these comments.
7 of the most popular Social Media platforms
As the largest social media network Facebook has nearly 1.8 billion active users. It is the most versatile social media network and is a great starting point for any business. You can use Facebook to share photos, videos, important company updates or even conduct a survey. Facebook also provides an opportunity to develop specifically targeted advertising campaigns that can target your customers using various demographic and interest information. For example: You could target Women aged 40-55 with secondary school students living in Melbourne who are interested in organic food.
Twitter was initially used mainly by the media. In recent years it has expanded to a much wider demographic with over 320 million active users per month. Your tweets (text) are restricted to 140 characters, this can be difficult to master initially but once you've got the hang of it it can be very powerful especially when attending conferences or presentations. Using the hashtags makes it easy for people to search content and you can boost the reach of your post by carefully selecting which hashtags you use. It is easy for people to re-tweet others information and this gives twitter a very wide reach, especially if someone with a large number of followers re tweets your post. As with any social media platform make sure your tweets are interesting and informative to your followers.
Pinterest is designed to allow users to save content on "boards", a bit like making a scrapbook page of your favourite things. These boards are then categorised for example: Craft storage, healthy recipes and nature photography. Pinterest is very visual orientated and has a strong skew to the female demographic. It can be a great platform for particular niche businesses.
Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. Instagram is owned by Facebook and this means that users can post to both these social networks at the same time if they wish. Instagram has more than 60 million users. Much of the content on Instagram relates to food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects that lend themselves to appealing visual content. Instagram is predominantly designed to be used in a mobile although there is a computer version. Instagram has inbuilt filters and image editing functionality that enable users to enhance their content prior to posting. Instagram posts are posted with Hashtags (#) which allows people to easily search for topics they are interested in.
Snapchat is another visual social media network, the difference with Snapchat is that is automatically deletes content. Videos and photos last 10 seconds and public stories appear for 24 hours prior to being deleted. Once you have an audience a business can use the stories functionality to create interactive content. Snapchat has a predominantly younger demographic than the other networks discussed here.
YouTube is video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share, and comment on content. When you sign up for Youtube you automatically receive a channel. As a business you can set up a separate channel for your business related videos. By uploading your business videos to Youtube you potentially reach a very wide audience. These videos can then be embedded into your website.
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to enable users to interact with others that they have a professional relationship with. Each member has a page and this contains information about their background and experiences and perhaps their career goals as well and information on the educational institutions they attended and past employment. People can endorse individuals for particular skills and write testimonials for them within the linked in platform. It is used primarily for business to business dealings and is a great platform to share professional industry information such as white papers and conference learnings.