Social media for business
How to use social media to promote your business
We outline some of the most effective ways to use social media sites when you’re promoting your business.
Grow your business steadily
Social media lets you talk directly to your customers. But what should you know before you get started?
Know your audience
Before you start, think about who you’re marketing to, and then pick the social media channels best suited to them. If you’re marketing to business owners, for example, then Linkedin could be the best way to go. If you’re looking for customers, try Facebook or Twitter. It doesn’t matter how good your message is – if it’s in the wrong place, it won’t be effective.
Once you’ve identified the best place to put your messages, you should also make sure they are suited to your audience. Speak to them in a way that will resonate with them – make them feel involved and encourage them to interact with you and other members of the community you’ve created. People may be more likely to get involved if they feel like they are talking to a human, not a machine.
Make sure the same logos and design themes are used across your accounts – that way people can more easily recognise your brand across platforms. And ensure all of the contact details you’ve put on your pages are up-to-date and working well; if customers want to get in touch following one of your messages, but the details are wrong, it might put them off.
In addition, you should be prepared to deal with customers directly on your pages – a swift resolution on social media can turn an angry customer into an advocate. Keep your own complaints separate from your brand page. If you’re on Twitter and really need to complain to a supplier, use your own profile, not your business’s – customers don’t need to see your complaints.
Share something valuable
Your customers and fans can be your best marketing tools, but only if you’re posting about things that they want to share. Think about the things that will excite your existing customers and draw new ones in – these are the things you should be posting about. Furthermore, your posts should be original, informative and well thought out – think about whether or not the thing you’re posting is relevant, up-to-date or old hat. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else.
Not just with existing and potential customers, but with other local businesses or suppliers. You never know – this may be the way you meet your next business partner or cut your next deal.
Understand the costs
If you really want to reach the right people on social media, you’ll probably have to spend some money on advertising. You should have a clear idea of who you want to target, and with most social networks, you can be very specific about the types of people you want to reach. Don’t be afraid to experiment by spending a small amount of money – for as little as £50 you could reach over 20,000 people on Facebook, but the cost will vary depending on how specific your targeting is.
And remember – both Facebook and Twitter have guides on how you can use their sites to advertise your business.
Don’t rely on it
Social media is important, but it’s not everything. Use other channels, such as face-to-face networking events, to build your contacts book, make connections and promote your business. You could also create marketing materials, such as business cards, leaflets and posters, or advertise in your local newspaper. This way you cast the widest possible net when it comes to attracting custom – not everyone is going to be engaged with social media advertising, just as leaflets may not resonate with everyone.
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