Businesses of every size and type can benefit from effective use of social media, but very few get as much out of it as they could. What do you need to know to make a success of it? Which tools should you be using, and how? It’s not as difficult as it might seem, but it does require a bit of planning.
Choosing the right platforms
Many new businesses leap into the world of social media and immediately sign up for everything. This doesn’t usually work out well. Keeping up with social media activity can be quite demanding, and a neglected profile can diminish a business’s reputation. A better strategy is to profile the kind of customers the business is looking for, work out what they like to use and focus on that – bearing in mind, of course, that social media platforms are very susceptible to changes in fashion, and when what’s hot changes, whole demographics can migrate within the space of a few weeks.
News-based social media
The most useful form of media for putting out news is Twitter. It’s simple to use, it’s not too time-consuming, and it’s a great place to let people know about all the different things you’re up to. Using hashtags (not too many per tweet) can help to raise your visibility and attract new followers. Linking to post-based social media can work around the 140 character limit, and you can advertise your website in your bio.
Post-based social media
The most important post-based social medium you will use is your blog. Every business should have one because it’s somewhere that you can talk in-depth about what your company is doing and also about general topics related to its activities, to make it interesting and valuable to readers. Blog updates can give you an excuse for posting in other social media.
Facebook is still the largest social media network in the world and another must. Most importantly, it’s a place for connecting with customers, chatting to them and showing a friendly face.
Tumblr is technically an image-based medium but is used more like a blog. It’s useful for connecting with young people and some niche interest groups.
Image-based social media
For people with visually appealing products or services to sell, Pinterest is a must, and Instagram serves a similar but more news-focused purpose among young people. It’s also well worth maintaining a Flickr account, which can be used to promote business outlets or people as well as products. For instance, pictures from Francesco Corallo’s Flickr frequently turn up in news articles about him.
It’s best to be wary of posting the same things across different social media outlets because customers can feel short-changed by this and, furthermore, each has a character of its own. They can be usefully connected, however. All social media should direct customers back to the business website, and the website should have sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to share what they like on social media.
Finally, don’t forget that social media is for networking! The likes of Facebook and LinkedIn can be fantastic for making business-to-business connections.