‘Your business should really be using social networks. It will do wonders for your company and open up all sorts of untapped markets’
How often have you heard that statement in your professional life? Probably more often than you’d like. Have you ever acted upon this advice? The chances are probably not, and we can understand why. If you don’t know your way around, it can seem like a daunting prospect. If your business has thought about it, and then chickened out at the last minute, then don’t be embarrassed. Many businesses have faced the same dilemma; they know social networking might give their businesses a fillip, but they don’t feel they have the necessary knowledge or experience to make the right choices. So they do nothing, and stand still.
All we would say is don’t give up on the idea. Social networking is not as daunting as you might think. In fact, it’s pretty simple and straightforward, so long as you know where to look and which platform to target for business growth. We can’t make the choice for you: that’s down to you and what you want to achieve. What we can do though is give you some basic advice and then encourage you to research the subject further, so that when you do eventually take the plunge, you’ll know you’re doing it for the right reasons and making the right choices.
There are 6 major social media platforms currently on offer: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. If you want to connect to a wider and more varied audience socially, then you’ll need to be on one of these. We’ll explain the basics on each of these shortly. The important thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to have a presence on every one of them. For starters you should concentrate on one or two.
Find the platforms which are most appropriate for you, and build your strategy around this. Stick to those that will best serve your business interests and aspirations. When you have latched onto a social media network, then remember it’s not quantity that counts: it’s quality. So concentrate on the quality of information you share on these platforms, as the better it is, the greater the chances your message will reach its target market.
Which social media platforms is best for your business?
In terms of social networking, Facebook is the king of the hill – at least currently. With on average 59 per cent of users accessing the platform at least twice a day, your message will spread far and wide quickly if what you have to say engages its audience. Using Facebook you can speak to, and interact with your target audience. You can post Facebook Ads – at a cost – and directly interact with a specific demographic, thereby giving your business more targeted marketing. Using Facebook’s innovative call to action buttons gives you a number of ways to direct your audience so that you can interact with and engage with it. markets.’
Twitter is a fast-moving micro-blogging site for sharing news information. It gives you 140 characters to deliver a message or thought to other users who share the same interests and aspirations as you. However, to get the most out of Twitter you have to be active and enthusiastic. You’ll need to tweet two or 3 times a day as well as sharing images, gifs and hashtags. Success on this network depends on timing, conveying the message succinctly, quality eye-catching content and getting the message to the right audience at the right time.
Instagram is an image-based platform and is great if your business is looking for a window to showcase products. The platform is mobile-based, so it can’t be used on a desktop. In a similar way to Twitter, Instagram too relies heavily on hashtags for increasing visibility. However, the quality of the image is paramount. No users will want to share anything substandard, no matter how good the product might be.
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is another image-based social media platform. However, it differs from Instagram in that users are able to create boards on which they pin their favourite images. The platform is very good for inspiration and collecting information. It’s important to remember that Pinterest like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are there to be used to drive referral traffic back to the website, so it’s important that the website looks good and is responsive. If you want to stay relevant on interest, however, you’ll need to make sure your images are good enough and worthy enough to be repined. Pinterest is also valuable as an SEO tool too, so it’s doubly beneficial.
LinkedIn is the platform for B2B networking, lead generation, researching business ideas and building business connections. Although LinkedIn does not directly drive the biggest slice of traffic to your website, what it does is send more-engaged traffic your way. People who visit your website from LinkedIn will already have looked at your bio, and will understand who you are, what you do and why you’re good at it, so they’ll already be engaged and ready to interact with you.
Google+ is the platform for honing your influencing skills. It’s also very effective at driving traffic to your website. If you write a blog that’s popular and well-received, promote it on Google+. Upload it and link to content on your website, utilising SEO and keywords for the greatest effect.