Minding Your Social Business: Social media basics for the reluctant business owner.
So you have a small business and you have yet to break into the realm of social media. You know you need to join the digital movement but don’t know where to start. With all the many ways people connect online these days, social media can feel overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.
The best way to approach social media as a business owner is to put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. If you were a consumer looking for your product, where would you go? What would you like to see? What would you expect from a brand online?
Social media is all about creating, curating and sharing content and different platforms require different kinds of content. It’s important to remember this when you’re choosing the right platforms for your business. To get started, it’s best to think about which platforms will help you represent your brand meaningfully and effectively.
Here’s a rundown of the basics to the social media platforms that are best used for professional practices and how to consider them for your own business:
Facebook is the go-to platform for nearly all businesses. If you’re running a business that requires customers and the interaction with human beings then there’s no question you should be on Facebook. Having a Facebook presence is one of the best ways to connect you to your target demographic and build your brand awareness. To make the most out of this platform you must be able to build an audience and keep them engaged. While Facebook seems easy and free, it’s not. It’s not as simple as just throwing up posts in hopes that your customers will eventually take the bait. To effectively reach your customers, Facebook takes time, effort and (yes!) money. When it comes to being successful on Facebook, you’ve got to pay to play (read our post about Facebook Advertising and why it’s worth the investment.) Thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, no matter how great your content there’s a method to getting it on the right timelines. Posting the right content at the right times with the right frequency will help your posts get optimal reach. Bottom line – if your efforts on Facebook are not executed properly you can get lost in the sea of noise.
Why would you need to be on Twitter if you’re already on Facebook? Well, different people consume information in different ways and there’s a good chance your target demographic could be on Twitter too. For most people Twitter is a part of their daily routine where they log into it every day as an efficient and simple way to absorb and relay information instantly.
Twitter is a little different than Facebook in that the conversation is a bit more “in the moment” making it great for building initial connections to your customers and engaging in the right conversations at the right time. If you have an unsatisfied customer you will hear them on twitter or adversely if you have a prospective customer you can reach out to them effectively on Twitter.
If you have a product, brand or run a business that has the potential to spark up some conversation, then Twitter is great way to get your message out there and engage your customers. The key to being successful on Twitter is to humanize your brand; everyone wants to connect with a person and not a bot. If you put in the time, effort and research into Twitter it can prove to be a very useful tool to your business. Without these methods Twitter is like talking to yourself in a crowded room. Take the time to think about who you are trying to reach and if Twitter help you get to them.
Pinterest can help you create a valuable audience by inspiring and entertaining them through curating content. If you do a great job curating content that you can build a very loyal audience. It is known that pinned items drive more direct web traffic than any other platform so this can be a great way to bring customers to you. However, this doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for every business to be pinning away. Pinterest is a useful platform for showcasing products making it ideal for retail businesses, specifically for fashion, food and beverage products, home decor or lifestyle.
LinkedIn is a business oriented social media platform so as a business you should be on there, right? Wrong. Just because you are a business doesn’t mean you have business being on LinkedIn. Utilizing LinkedIn as a business can be a tricky one as it’s all about making professional connections and sharing relevant articles. If you’re a business that services other businesses then you have a need to be on LinkedIn as it can be a great tool for B2B marketing. As a business trying to market to customers however, using LinkedIn as a promotional platform is not recommended as there are certain etiquettes and practices that need to be met on this platform. If you can contribute and provide valuable discussions then LinkedIn is a great tool to help you build online relationships.
This is the one that seems to be the simplest but in actuality is the toughest to genuinely build from a business standpoint. Instagram is not for every business and not every business needs to be on Instagram. Building an authentic Instagram audience that’s going to benefit your business requires quality and effort. It’s not as simple as just snapping a photo and posting it. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. When thinking about your business and the services or products it provides you have to think, is it worth taking a photo and sharing it? This is the dilemma known as “insta-worthy”. Think about if you were a customer, is it a photo that you would like to see? The businesses that benefit most from Instagram include ones that involve food and drink, lifestyle, design, retail and travel. It’s pretty simple really, if your business is visually appealing then you should be on Instagram.
At the end of the day, knowing what your customers want and finding the most effective ways of providing that is how you can use social media to your advantage. Your customers are your biggest advocates and if you’re not giving them what they want then you’re just another noise in the crowd. Listening is the most powerful marketing tool a business can have and social media is the gateway to that. Remember that every business and situation is different therefore, it’s important to choose your platforms accordingly. Utilizing these social media platforms suitably can help you break through the noise and save you the time that could be spent helping your business in other ways.
At RTOWN, we provide you with the proper tools and expertise to leverage social media for your business. Let us focus on the cloud, while you focus on the ground. Contact one of our digital marketing strategists to discuss the best options for you and your business needs.