– Richard Voisey, Nwes Business Consultant
My straightforward recipe for business success is communication + relationship building = opportunity. Social media provides platforms to generate this opportunity.
Social media can be a great tool for marketing your business, it can be used to build brand awareness and potentially capture the right people at the right time with the right message. But what platforms should you be using? Should you be setting up business accounts across all social platforms or focusing all your attention on one single social media site?
One key point I need to make before we go any further is the decision to use social media should not be based on if you personally like it or indeed use it. It should be based on the general profile of your intended customers – do they use it?!
So, to help you select the accounts that should be up and running for your business, let’s look at the different social media platforms available and what each one can offer. There are six basic options; in alphabetical order, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. I have listed some of the key features as a start to help you decide if they are suitable for your business.
- It helps to develop a brand.
- Although changing to become more ‘friend’ focused reducing how often users see posts from businesses, many people mix business with pleasure, so you can still expect a crossover.
- It will expect you to spend cash to advertise your business so that your message is seen by those you want to see it.
- Link messages to blogs, events and your website to drive traffic.
- Groups help you to target specific messages to the right people. Create a group and join groups as necessary.
- If you are a B2C (Business to consumer) model, this site will be more helpful for you.
- This site is ideal for content creators.
- Every business should be registered with business.google.com to ensure that search engine requests display the business names, address, website, map, description and images.
- The content is indexed by Google, giving your content the improved ability to to be found during searches.
- Ensure that content is changed and introduced regularly to be picked up on Google analytics.
- A visual platform that is owned by Facebook so there is correlation between the two platforms.
- It enables you to post images as well as videos.
- You can combine a group of images and video to create stories.
- It is mainly a mobile device based platform and as 85% of web access is now conducted on phones and tablets, this puts the platform in a good position.
- It has the capability to provide up to six accounts, which can help those looking to promote multiple brands/products/services.
- Links cannot be used although hashtags can to assist in driving traffic.
- Primarily a (B2B) Business to business platform.
- The posting of quality articles, blogs and events will help to raise brand awareness and opportunities to sell.
- It acts as a recruitment site which is great for posting job opportunities.
- Your personal profile content can drive activity to your business account.
- You can create and join groups to communicate with likeminded people.
- An online service that allows you to share images through social networking.
- It offers a ‘pin board’ that allows you to post ideas that you want to remember and then share them with your friends through Facebook.
- A visual site like Instagram and often used by arts, crafts, designer and food businesses.
- Personal and business accounts are available.
- Pictures from blogs and articles can then be loaded onto Pinterest.
- Messages or ‘tweets’ that may include hyperlinks, limited to 280 characters.
- It’s a fast moving, instant information service where messages can be repeated.
- You can direct messages specifically to individuals or businesses or on subjects that are trending.
- Multiple accounts are available on this site.
- It’s a great tool when developing a brand.
Hopefully now you have a basic understanding of each social media platform and have started to think about how particular sites can benefit your business. So, you’re almost there, but before you start setting up those accounts, below are a few final pieces of business advice.
- Consider where your customers are and where they are going to engage best.
- Can you provide them with useful content on this platform and is that content leading them back to your website?
- Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages, and it also has its own set of challenges to create, build, and maintain relationships.
- Make sure you monitor the progress of your chosen platform/s to ensure you’re getting the results you wanted, and if you’re not, consider changing platforms.
If you would like to learn more about social media and other marketing tools that could benefit your business, explore our range of free Marketing Events and Workshops.