We all know how important it is for small businesses to get smart about social media. When you set up a company it can be tempting to begin by creating every single type of social media account to link to your business – but we find that often people can’t keep up with them all, and may struggle to use them successfully.
What people often don’t realise is that it is better to pick one or two social media channels and use them really well, rather than having lots of channels that are managed badly or neglected. But it can be hard to pick the right ones. As all social media channels work differently it is important to look at how each one works and what it can bring to your business. Here are some of the things you may want to think about when deciding what social media channel will work for you.
Are you a customer facing business or do you provide business to business services?
Your choice of social media is mainly determined by your business type. If you are offering a public-facing service such as a hairdressers or a clothes shop you will want to interact with the general public as much as possible. Therefore sites where it is easy to get shared and liked such as Facebook will provide you with maximum exposure. Facebook also provides a map of your location for customers to find you more easily, and lets happy customers write reviews of your business. Sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are also a great way of getting images and pictures of your products liked and shared quickly online.
For companies that are offering a business to business proposition we find that images are not as vital and sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are limited in what they can do for your company. It can be a good idea for B2B companies to join Twitter where you can interact quickly with other businesses and build a good contact base. Many industries have their own networking sessions on Twitter which is a great way to link up with potential clients and get your company name seen and re-tweeted. Likewise, LinkedIn works well for business to business marketing, providing the opportunity to demonstrate expertise in the blog or publishing platform or engage with prospects in industry relevant groups.
Who is your typical customer and what social media channel do they interact with the most?
It is worth tallying your typical customer demographic with their preferred social media channel to get the maximum effect from social media. Instagram is known to be very popular with 16-24-year-olds so it would be great to use this if you are targeting the youth market. Alternatively Pinterest is very popular with women so this would be a great channel to use for a product that targets the female population. Take the time to do some research and ask your customers what social media they use most and how they want to interact with your business.
Are you a local or a national business?
Many small businesses work on a local level and are looking to be seen online by their immediate community. Twitter can be good for this as you have business chat sessions that are based on the county you are in i.e. #Hertshour for Hertfordshire. This is a brilliant way to get seen online. Facebook also has a number of local groups that you can interact with as a business. So a nursery business could join a local mums group for example. Facebook also lets you put a location map on your page so people can instantly see where you are in relation to them.
If you are purely an online retailer then you can source your customers from all over the UK, so you can use your social media pages to encourage customers to buy from your online store. Facebook offers you a call to action button on your page which you can use to encourage customers to “visit our site” or “buy now”. Pinterest also offers a “buy now” button so people can purchase directly by clicking on the image that they like.
Social media is a great way of getting your business seen, making connections and building a community of loyal customers. Make sure that you choose the social media channel that will have the best rate of success for your business buy reviewing what you have to offer, how your customers want to interact with you and if you want to target a local or national market. By choosing the right channels for your social media strategy you can increase your online profile and ultimately increase your sales and customer base.
Importantly consistency is key – to drive engagement you need to post regularly and create a two-way conversation with your audience, asking questions, commenting and sharing wherever possible. So once you’ve selected the social media channel(s) you want to focus on you need to commit! This means investing significant time & energy into creating engaging content and interacting with your followers.
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