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Today in business, social media cannot be ignored. Most of your customers are likely to be active social media users on at least one platform… so if you’re not reachable online in a social way, you could be missing out.

When used strategically, social media can be highly effective in building brand loyalty and driving sales; it can be a great tool for businesses to get in front of eyeballs.

Recently, for example, Dynamic Business looked at how Instagram influencers can single-handedly make a business what it is, with 71% of consumers being more likely to make a purchase if they have seen a recommendation from someone they follow online.

We wanted to cut through all the many pieces of advice you hear everyday on social media marketing and strategy, with the changes in algorithms and the next ‘what’s hot!’ in our news feeds, and actually ask first-hand what is working for small businesses right now.

Get different perspectives, inspiration and knowledge in today’s Let’s Talk discussion below.

“Which channel works best for your business and why?”

Jill Schoolenberg, Regional President for Australia, Canada and Latin America at GoDaddy

Social media can be a great resource to help businesses connect with their customers, increase their network and build a broader digital presence. Not all channels are suitable for every business, so it makes sense to identify the ones that are best suited for your business and your customers.

To help decide, first consider your target audience. If you’re looking to communicate directly with consumers, Instagram and Facebook can be great options. If your business is in the fashion or travel industry, for instance, you could share images of your newest line or a stunning beach on Instagram to engage both new and existing customers. However, if you’re looking to increase engagement with professional contacts and external stakeholders such as suppliers, vendors, partners or sponsors, you might want to try LinkedIn.

Once you have identified the most appropriate social media channels for your business and customers, you can then focus your energy on tailoring your content to help expand your reach and generate new leads.

Ethan Fleming, founder and Managing Director, Get Going PT

Instagram was and still is the social media channel that works best for our business. Not because we necessarily make ‘sales’ on Instagram, but because of the story we can convey and the relationships we can form.

People want to know what they are buying, but more importantly, they want to know WHO they are buying.

It gives our audience the chance to get to know us on a personal level, and well, we are ‘personal’ trainers after all.

Nicola Moras, social media strategist and author of Visible

All social media channels are not created equally so use the ones where your audience are more likely to spend the most amount of time. Every business owner should be on Facebook and have a business page. With 2.34B users globally you have to have a presence. Instagram is great if you have a product based business and great imagery because people like to scroll. LinkedIn is excellent for B2B businesses and more corporate style interactions. There is a preference towards articles and mid-length copywriting.

Spend the most time creating content for the platforms where your audience are. 

Karissa Mather, co-founder and Director of Optima Nutricosmetics

Our ingestible beauty brand, Optima Nutricosmetics  underwent extensive prelaunch consumer trials and we learned that when people tried the product they became customers. Purely based on the positive results people experienced this led us to setting up a very successful ambassador program. As a result I considered diverting our social media budget into product trials. In the end, we’ve done both.

Education is an integral part of our brand DNA and we recognised that Instagram is the perfect platform for us to do this, particularly with stories. I’ve spent a lot of time preparing our social media strategy to ensure we harness the full potential of social media. And whilst it’s important to establish a brand style guide and tone of voice before you launch, it’s just as important to be flexible. Reassess your message along the way to make sure you create the sorts of content that your customers are interested in. The more traditional idea of closing a sale is obsolete.

Social media allows you to engage more directly with your customers which is key to customer satisfaction and long term brand loyalty.

Shannon Ingrey, Vice President and General Manager, APAC at BigCommerce

Whether you’re trying to increase traffic to your website, boost sales or partner with influencers, it’s no surprise that social media is a key channel for brands to connect and interact with their consumers. Social media should be considered yet another touchpoint for brands to engage with consumers in the customer shopping journey.

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of social selling, where brands are using their social pages as another platform to sell goods and services directly to consumers. Take Instagram and Facebook for example, brands are increasingly using these platforms as a means to sell directly to consumers. It allows consumers to scroll through their favourite brands’ pages and make instant purchases without having to leave the app. Instagram in particular, is a great platform for social selling as its primary purpose is to show images, allowing consumers to visually see something before making a purchase.

With this in mind, retailers who don’t embrace social selling risk losing relevance for consumers, in favour of brands that have established presences on these platforms.

Isabella Jones, Head of Marketing, Halaxy

It’s hard to picture our GP scrolling through Facebook, but healthcare professionals, like most business owners, are using Facebook to promote their practices and engage with patients and clients.

So, it made sense for us to start using it as a support channel and the place for us to build an online community to connect with users on everything practice-management related.

Our users (practitioners) have even created their own unofficial user group on Facebook where they share their Halaxy hacks and tips – we were invited to join and have been assisting the group members since.

With practitioners using Facebook to promote their practices and patients using it to learn more about medical services, especially allied health, we’ve also started to think beyond content and community management, exploring possible integrations with Facebook in the near future – so stay tuned.

Kirsty Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer, Cohort Go

If you’re unsure of what social media channels work best for you, start by looking at where your audience is. Let’s look at a sample of social media platforms. Instagram makes the top of the list with talk that it is also making a name for itself as a search platform. When it comes to food and retail consumers turn to Instagram for the visual experience. If you have a consumer audience, Instagram is the channel for you. For those with both business and consumer audiences, the content you share on Instagram should be reserved for your consumers.

Facebook isthe original social platform, and I believe every business should have a presence here. Between targeted ads, boosted posts, and Facebook messenger, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with your audience.

For any B2B organisation, LinkedIn allows you to create and nurture industry connections, generate leads, and build a thought-leadership profile by sharing valuable content. It’s also the channel for any business with a focus on recruitment. The Iconic is a fantastic consumer brand using LinkedIn to drive recruitment. Their content is completely focused on celebrating employee achievements and sharing the benefits of choosing to work with them.

In saying all of that, if China is your market, get on WeChat now.

Scott Cooper, VP Marketing, GO1.com

If you are trying to get more out of your social media marketing as a business, you need to find out where your potential customers are hanging out – and that changes on an industry by industry basis. For GO1.com, the most effective social network that our audience uses is LinkedIn.

There is a great community of learning and development professionals on LinkedIn, with users being very engaged with companies, and active in sharing their own thoughts and learnings with other professionals. Because of this, it’s much easier to appear in their field of vision and gain traction.

The most important thing with a network that is engaged like this is to not take the audience for granted. Make sure that you are only serving up high quality and relevant content, and not just fluffy pieces around generic trends to get a few clicks.

Being relevant and engaging is a surefire way to generate more leads and attract people to your company.

Sandra Falzon, General Manager: Marketing, InfoTrack

LinkedIn is the most effective social media channel for InfoTrack. As a B2B business, this is the channel where we have the most exposure to our clients and prospective clients. For us, LinkedIn is both a lead generator and a tool to help our clients grow. It serves as a metric, to measure how we affect the legal market.

As a company that prides itself on supporting our clients to grow their own business, the networks we create connect our clients with others. When our followers engage with our content, our clients learn and share ideas. We also uncover prospective clients who need a more efficient and productive way to service their own clients.

LinkedIn allows us to present both sides of our company – our business initiatives as a leading legal technology innovator and our human side, celebrating the achievements of the people that keep us moving forward.

We use LinkedIn to raise awareness of our brand, position ourselves as thought-leaders and put faces to our name.

Alison Lee, Head of Marketing, ipSCAPE

Social Media is a powerful communication medium, but a business needs to first understand the audience and nuances of each platform. At ipSCAPE, we want to communicate with leaders and executives responsible for Sales, Technology or Customer Experience. We want these leaders to understand the benefits of ipSCAPE in providing technology to communicate with their customers using phone, Web Chat, Email and SMS. Therefore, we primarily use LinkedIn. Context is of great importance, so consideration needs to be made regarding what other messages surround yours. If a medium is saturated with what people did over the weekend, images of their family and friends, it wouldn’t be an appropriate setting to be talking about ipSCAPE’s contact centre software.

Ben White, Managing Director of Business and Wholesale, Optus

There is no one right approach with social media: if you want to have an impact, you need to follow two important steps before you invest your money, time and energy.

First, identify who your audience is – business, consumer, age demographic, industry vertical and geographic location – to decide which platform will best reach them. Then, clearly set your goal, whether it’s to raise brand awareness, launch a new product, increase sales and generate leads, or foster employee engagement.

SMBs today can access amazing and affordable tools powered by artificial intelligence. A smart move would be to invest in a tool that will help you sweep social media platforms for details on everything from popular conversation topics, the times that posts get the most traction, what your competitors are saying, and how their content and yours is performing.

Companies like Metigy, synthesio, Hootsuite and talkwalker can help businesses filter content to fine tune their strategy and deliver greater impact and increased engagement.

What do you think?

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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