Social media is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective marketing tool that your business can implement. However, many are not using it to its greatest potential. After all, social media platforms are free to join and use and the benefits can be extraordinary if you use it well.
Having social media accounts linked to your business and brand can achieve many goals:
- Help to build your collection of online assets
- Establish trust and loyalty with your customers
- Give the brand credibility
- Attract customers
- Increase sales and revenue
- Provide a platform to connect with your current customers and potential future customers.
Although there are many social media platforms that are free and at your disposal, the following five are the most important for every business to establish and monitor.
No matter the industry, every business should have a Facebook page and update it at least a couple of times per week. Facebook is perhaps the most important social platform for business because it is used by almost every demographic on a daily basis, so you have the ability to reach a large portion of your target demographic if you distribute relevant content and interact with users who engage with your brand by responding to comments, both good and bad. Although the new Facebook algorithm means that it does cost businesses money to promote their posts and reach their followers, a paid strategy can be very beneficial if it is in your budget.
On the other hand, LinkedIn is a more professional social networking platform that allows you to network and connect with people in your field and industry influencers. LinkedIn is a professional network for business people, so the demographic on LinkedIn is very different to many other social networks. When using LinkedIn for your business, it is important to keep your profile up to date and actively share relevant content to your network for the best results.
Whether your business is a multimillion dollar international company or a small business with a local focus, a business Twitter account is an important tool to use to connect with your customers who want to voice their praise or concerns. You can grow a follower base, and unlike Facebook, you have direct access to your followers without implementing a paid model. Twitter also relies on immediacy, so it is an important tool to have when you need to release emergency or time sensitive information to the general public in a clear and concise manner. A good way to appear active on Twitter is to use a scheduling program to schedule Tweets in advance and check back to see if you have has any engagement. However it is also important to naturally use Twitter when time permits to connect with people in your industry and join conversations about topics that are relevant to your business.
If your business operates online and provides a product or service in the food, fashion, travel, lifestyle or wedding industry, then you need to be on Pinterest. Pinterest is becoming increasingly popular among social media users and has wide appeal for young women in particular who are looking for information and inspiration on a particular topic. Pinterest is also a great way to drive traffic to your website, so if your brand and product translates well visually, then you should focus on developing beautiful images to share on Pinterest and link them back to appropriate pages on your website.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is great if your product, brand or service has a high visual appeal and can be captured through images. Instagram relies on imagery rather than words, so it is important to create content with the customer in mind so that is captures their attention and encourages them to ‘like’ it. Instagram is set to boom as users move away from paid Facebook models, so get on Instagram early and build a large following before your competitors. Instagram is primarily for brand awareness, so use it to build a community of loyal customers and encourage engagement.
While it does depend on the industry your business operates in, all brands can have success on social media when they choose the right platform and engage with the community they have built. Our top tip is to establish one platform at a time and build a strategy that works for you and your customers to ensure the best results.
(Image licensed under creative commons)