The big daddy of social media – an astonishing 50 per cent of people in Australia have Facebook accounts and spend around 25 minutes on the website per visit. From a pure numbers perspective, a Facebook business page is the best social media resource your business can have, and it can help you generate a lot of business. A couple of caveats, though:
- Think about the kind of business you are in. Facebook works better for some businesses than others. Generally, businesses that are consumer facing experience more benefit than B2Bs.
- If you create a page for your business you must be prepared to invest the time in keeping it updated. You need to post regularly and engage your audience by communicating with them (it’s not called social media for nothing!). If you aren’t able to do this I’d urge you to think twice about setting one up. A Facebook business page with virtual tumbleweed blowing through it will do nothing for your business and is likely to hurt your brand.
- Facebook has the numbers but it is far from a niche site. Think about how people will find your business page in a crowded market. How influential is your network and how do you harness them to help promote your business to their network?
- Since Facebook went public, new and “innovative” ways of raising revenue have been coming thick and fast. One of these ways is to charge businesses to promote posts, including to their existing network of fans. In order to effectively use the incredible amount of data that Facebook has, and in order to target both your existing and potential customers, you will need to make a financial investment.
Twitter is a great way to get messages out to your followers in 140 characters or less. It also allows you to follow and engage with influencers in your industry. Use hashtags (preface keywords with a # symbol) to comment on hot topics and engage with other participants at industry events.
Again, it’s important to make sure you use your time wisely on Twitter. It may make sense for you to be tweeting about your business during the week but you might be surprised to hear that for some types of brands, engagement with followers is higher at the weekend. Tweets also have higher engagement during “busy” hours of 8am to 7pm, which is, interestingly, the complete opposite of when Facebook users engage.
LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to build your professional network and is a business-facing as opposed to consumer-facing platform, making it particularly useful if your business is targeting other businesses. It can be used as a marketing tool, and is a great medium to increase your influence and position yourself as an expert in your field. Build your profile by commenting in LinkedIn groups and sharing information or articles to attract potential clients or business partners.
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Pinterest is great if you sell physical products, as you can use it to drive traffic to the point of purchase. For example, if you sell jewellery online, pin a picture of your product to a board that links through to your website where your customer can purchase. You may find even that Pinterest is already driving traffic to your site (check referral sources with Google Analytics). Pinterest is also useful for promoting the lifestyle of your brand, rather than the brand itself.
With all of the social media options available to you it’s important to consider two key questions:
- Where are your customers? Does the market you are trying to target interact on the social media platform you are considering?
- Be realistic about the bandwidth you have to maintain a social media presence.
You may not be able to do everything so it’s important you start with the most relevant platform.
Which social media platforms work best for your business?
“ In order to target both your existing and potential customers [on Facebook], you will need to make a financial investment. ”