Any business owner will tell you that there are never enough hours in the day. Running a business is mostly about time-management and prioritising. What isn’t important to daily business operations can be outsourced or dumped completely to lighten the load.
However, no matter how irrelevant you think it is right now, social media should never be taken off your list of priorities. The world is changing around us and whilst social media might not seem all that relevant to you now it will be soon. You don’t want to be playing catch up when the time comes so get yourself a social media presence now.
What platforms to use
The social media platforms you use are often dictated by your target customers and where they tend to hang out. Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are popular with younger demographics and as you progress your social media strategy you’ll work out which ones are best for you but there are three you need to be on regardless: Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.
Over half the global population with internet access uses Facebook. HALF! As of Q4 2016, Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly active users. You don’t get access to that kind of audience by sticking flyers up at your local servo!
Facebook’s analytics, sponsored posts and ad platform is why they’re the best for business. Facebook Audience Insights lets you aggregate information to better understand your audience and their demographics which can be used to create highly targeted ads to people most likely to convert into customers.
Let’s get this out of the way: Google is dull. It’s a snorefest Facebook and LinkedIn hybrid trying to be a bit of everything to everyone but it’s ended up being a whole lot of nothing. However…
Google’s social media is like that snobby rich kid in class that no-one really liked but hung out with or whose birthday parties everyone went to because they were always at the best venues and they had all the coolest stuff.
You’re never going to be someone who loves Google+ but Google Business is vital to boosting your search rankings so having a Google+ page helps generate rich media search results for your business – and rich media outperforms classic listings for click-through rates.
LinkedIn is a different take on social media. It’s extremely business oriented yet requires a more personal touch in that you need to promote your profile as the business owner not just the business – although you can, and should, create a business page to link to your personal profile.
You are the face of your business and LinkedIn will help you humanise it. If there’s one thing a marketer worth their salt will tell you it’s that consumers prefer businesses they can relate to over a faceless corporation.
It’s like superheroes. Everyone wants to know who is behind the mask. Give the people what they want and let them see your face!
It’s a good idea to build your brand profile with Twitter but you don’t have to be a religious user if the returns aren’t there. There are apps that scan Twitter for mentions of your business to help you connect more quickly with customers. You could even save time on updating several platforms by using a social media suite to manage multiple channels at once.
Other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are superb but they need careful management and maintenance, so don’t jump into using them before assessing their value to your audience.
You can assess your situation and discover which platforms are best for you by knowing:
- If your budget can cover these additional channels adequately
- If your audience use that platform most
- If you have the manpower to manager the account or resources to pay for automation
Creating content costs time and money and social media will only give you returns if you put in the work and evaluate your strategy regularly to keep up with the evolutions.
Used correctly and taken seriously social media has the power to connect you with qualified leads and help convert more potential customers into paying customers.
About the author
Maria Bellissimo-Magrin is the CEO of full-service creative marketing agency Belgrin. She previously wrote How to Win Fans and Influence Purchases, Digital Branding: Six ideas to help your SME nail this increasingly complex task, Define your culture…now, is that the reality?, What a 90s advert reveals about business today, How can SMBs get the most out of LinkedIn?, Virtual reality revolution: time to get ahead, why potential customers ignore your ads and Rebranding: when to take the leap?