Social media for your business

Posted on: 4th Apr 2014 by: Matt

Gone are the days when social media was just a tool for the younger generations of web user to share hilarious weekend quotes, pictures & videos of each other - the culmination being a bulging comment area below full of content you wouldn’t want ALL your friends to see necessarily…

We’re pretty much at the point now where rather than head off into Google to search a company’s name to find their own website, more and more people (because they’re already on there) are using Facebook, Twitter & even some of the more specialised image sites/apps such as Instagram & Tumblr to find contact details and more information.

If you’re running a business, large or small, social media is now an absolute must in some, if not all formats. Below are a few tips we’ve put together to steer you in the right direction.

Facebook – ‘Know what you are & who you are…’

It’s a common mistake for people who have small businesses - in particular sole traders, to start a totally new Facebook account (even if they have their own personal one) instead of the a ‘page’ which has been specifically developed for a more powerful marketing experience.

Using pages instead has many advantages over a user account:

  • ‘Like’ buttons and widgets can be added to yours/other sites for immediate interaction
  • Better data – analytical data on Facebook’s system can show you who’s interacting with your page/business & on which areas ie. posts/offers/ratings
  • Rating system. Allows Facebook users to rate and review your business/product(s)
  • Detailed information – including industry category, opening hours, contact information
  • Create Adverts – use Facebook’s dedicated advertisement functionality for your page to pinpoint potential customers (see further on in the blog)
  • Create Offers & Events – promote individual elements to your business to the entire audience within minutes using text, images, video…

This is by all means not an exhaustive list either, there are many more facilities on offer for use, but there is a certain degree of clever use of what’s there and the ability to engage the audience with content at the same time/in order to increase the page’s following.

Think on the link…

Just about every social media site or app now seems to fear for it’s life in respect of its market share and needing to get a slice of everyone else’s pie.. It’s rare you can start a new account or begin using it until you’ve logged in, given your personals and now – been offered to become ‘connected’ with all your other social media streams!

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – IF used correctly, BUT done badly and you can be opening yourself up to becoming one of ‘those’ people or business on the web. We’ve all experienced it, mainly within our personal walls or feeds, where someone you know is sharing other people’s posts like a dripping tap.

By having all these accounts reciprocally connected, what tends to happen is at some point (usually on everyone’s Facebook news feed), there are duplicates, triplicates and beyond, of the same image/status – usually with a different filter or two if using Instagram or similar.

By all means, spread the word on as many social media avenues as you feel comfortable using, but it’s sometimes best to do a quick check on which website/app posts to which in the chain and in which order.. The last thing you want is to be ‘unliked’ or ‘unfollowed’ for what was an interesting post the first time, but possibly not the 5th time!

Content is Key

The best selling magazines & newspapers out there all have one thing in common, regardless of their political stance or level of read – the gripping front page with the gems of the entire publication in a nutshell…

When posting via social media, it’s important to draw people in by the natural content in your offering, which can be as much about the first few words in the text, as the accompanying image. Remember, there is that much content online now that people in a lunch break, or browsing in the evenings can literally find an hour or more disappearing, without even knowing wheat they’ve seen during that time. As a contributor to this content (with the intention of increasing business for yourself) it’s up to you to be as innovative and creative with the tools you have, to ensure people don’t forget it – or better still, feel the need to share it (once on each site of course!!)

Get your message to them, but don’t Yell…

One of the key developments for businesses on Facebook in recent years has been the availability of targeted advertising. Using the ‘Adverts Manager’ you are now able to create campaigns, in which you can produce specific adverts or posts - which are not only incredibly easy to edit/make active or inactive etc but also able to be monitored for their effectiveness in click through/engagement conversion rates.

By setting affordable daily budgets and targeting specific demographics around the locality you are aiming to sell your product(s) or service(s) can go a long way to keeping marketing budgets lean, yet effective. For example, if you sell bespoke wedding rings, with all clients needing to visit your premises to view example/be measured for size, then you may want to target those people who fall into the following categories – “Engaged”, “Male OR Female”, within 50 miles of ‘Your Postcode’.

In some circumstances, you may even want to drill down into specific age ranges or even down to an individual town (a sandwich shop for example) – as you’d want to encourage those people who could actually visit you to purchase food, rather than someone who is looking for a food premises 200 miles away… Each business will have individual goals on each of it’s campaigns/ads, but by thinking each option through carefully when putting them together, can be the difference between throwing money away (dare I say it like using some big name ‘local listing’ websites & books) and a successful, cost effective promotion.

As with many areas of the web, this blog only touches on a couple of points and is a drop in the ocean in the ever growing world of social media. We’re always on the lookout for new trends and keeping up to date with both the pitfalls and gems of using social media, so if you think you’d like to have a chat in more detail about furthering your online presence, don’t hesitate to contact us…

Tags: social media, tips, advice,