Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest… with so many platforms to choose from, how do you determine the right social media for business?
While there are benefits for using all of the available social media sites to promote your business, there are also arguments for just using one or two and making sure you use them to their potential.
Benefits of using all of the social media platforms
If you want to drive traffic to your website and increase your SEO equity then the more well optimised profiles you have linking to your website, the better. That said, if you don’t have time to dedicate to keeping the profiles populated with content then your online collateral is going to look sadly lacking.
The arguments for selecting just a few
There is much to be said for choosing one or two social media platforms for your business and then focusing your attention on making sure you use them effectively. Make sure you post regular content that is valuable and engaging and that you are going to be able to keep up some consistency when posting. There are many social media tools to help you schedule and manage your posts or you could employ an outside agency or someone internally to manage your online collateral for you. If you are a small business with minimal overheads you may prefer to do it yourself or outsource it to a small digital agency.
What suits your business?
If you are a plumber then Instagram is not going to be worth the time invested in it. There are only so many pictures of burst pipes that you can post. That said, if you are installing new bathrooms then this may be a good place to spend your time and efforts. It all depends on the services that you provide. If you are a nail artist then you will probably want to spend much of your time creating good Instagram posts to showcase your talents. there are certain industries that can really prosper from spending time curating good Instagram content.
Where and who are your customers?
In addition to the type of content you can produce as a business, you also need to research your customer habits. Where are your audience spending their time? This will require some general insights. If you already have some social media for business pages then you will be able to find out things about your audience such as their age, what time of day they are searching and more. Using this information you can start to build a picture of your audience and how or where to appeal to them. If you have a much younger target audience you may want to consider platforms like Snapchat or Instagram to target them.
The most popular social media for business platforms
Starting with the most popular platforms is a good strategy. In this case if you are targeting a business to consumer market, then you should be using Facebook or Instagram but for business to business you may want to look at LinkedIn or Twitter. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the most popular platforms.
For many people the obvious choice is Facebook. With over 2 billion active users per month, it would seem that Facebook is where the majority of people are spending their time. Therefore it is important that all businesses have some sort of Facebook presence. If you already have a business profile, you can carry out some research about your current audience and tailor your content to suit them while using ads to build a lookalike audience.
Another popular social platform, in the UK alone there are over 13 million Twitter users (source:omnicore). While not as widely used as Facebook, Twitter allows you to keep re-tweeting throughout the day although this does require more focus and attention in order to keep your content visible.
A popular choice for business to business, LinkedIn is a great place to network both in your capacity as a business owner and to promote your business page. In fact, learning how the two can work together will help you to establish new connections, brand awareness and potentially new clients. Produce articles, share your industry knowledge and set yourself apart as an authority in your field.
With 1 billion users, Instagram is something that businesses can’t ignore. It doesn’t suit all businesses however and takes some careful content curation and execution. That said once you have mastered Instagram for business, it then becomes much easier to discover what social media for business works, what doesn’t and what to do more of.
A Beginner's Guide to Instagram for Business (15 downloads)
It doesn’t end there though. There’s also YouTube, Snapchat, Whats App, Pinterest and let’s not forget Google My Business which should be a key platform for every business.
Be consistent with your social media for business
Whichever platform you choose for your business, consistency is key. There is no point in doing them all and posting once a month or whenever you remember. That is why it is much better to focus on one and do it well. Before you start, plan your strategy and have some content ideas ready. Using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite means that you can schedule your posts into the future so that you aren’t scrabbling around for ideas every day.
Keep it personal
Last but not least, here is our key tip. Keep it personal. people are using social media for social reasons. You are trying to stop the scroll with content that you are publishing for business reasons. Make your business part of their lives. Show them who you are, that you are humans and not just a faceless organisation that is trying to sell to them. this is the quickest way for you to lose followers. Limit the sales type promotional posts and focus on who is who, something funny that happened, a picture of the shop, your van, your products, your work. educational, topical or local things of interest. Vary the content and make it a welcome part of their day.
While it all sounds like rather a lot of work, the returns will prove themselves in the long run. If executed effectively, you can use your social media pages to connect and engage with an audience and bring your business in front of your customers or potential customers.