No matter what kind of business you are looking for, there are now very few that do not have some sort of social media. Whether it’s an interior designer’s Facebook page, the Twitter feed for the local pizza company or, for the more progressive tech business, a Google+ profile, many businesses will have invested in building presence on a social platform or two.
But even though they have this presence, it doesn’t mean these businesses completely understand that social media. Or, as is sometimes the case with smaller businesses, there will be no social media presence at all, massively reducing their reach to potential customers, especially within a localised area.
Here at Pens Unlimited we don’t claim to be experts but we do understand social media and the power it can hold. We want to help you harness that too so we’ve put together a small but handy beginner’s guide to social media, specifically targeted at businesses. So, here we go – let’s start with Facebook.
The main way for businesses to harness the power of Facebook is to set up a business page – not a personal profile as some make the mistake of doing. A page is designed specifically for businesses, providing analytics for interaction and the ability to undertake paid advertising.
Once you’ve set up your business page, fill it with as much information as possible. Use a nice, clear version of your logo as the picture and make sure the page name matches your business name. Also include things such as location, opening hours and your website or email address.
- Post regularly – there is no point having a Facebook page that people follow if you don’t update it often. Post relevant content several times a week, being careful that everything isn’t of a promotional nature.
- Engage with and reply to customers – Facebook offers an easy way for customers to ask questions, interact with you and, unfortunately, complain. Therefore it’s vital you keep on top of all comments you receive.
- See it as an extension of your business – many businesses treat Facebook as a less important marketing tool, but you need to see it as an integral part of your business. Therefore, act professionally and check everything you post is spelt correctly and written coherently.
The difficulty that many businesses experience when using Twitter is getting the message across in only 140 characters. However, this provides a good opportunity to really craft your brand message and only put something in front of people that you think they’ll really be interested in.
Twitter can be used in even the busiest working environment, with the ability to use it on a computer or smartphone, as well as through third party applications such as HootSuite and TweetDeck.Key Points:
- Tweet regularly but make it interesting – because Twitter is a fast-paced network, you’ll need to tweet regularly so that your message is seen in the timeline of your followers. However, don’t just tweet anything – make it interesting and something they will want to see.
- Use hashtags – now copied by other networks, Twitter was the pioneer of using hashtags to mark and follow conversations. Use relevant hashtags to make sure your tweets are included in conversations that your followers would be interested in.
- Interact with other accounts – whether it’s a follower, another business or a competitor, the more you interact on Twitter, the more you can expand your own reach.
There are two key aspects of Google+ for a business, the first being a business page. Similar to Facebook, it’s a profile for your business that contains all the necessary information and will clearly show your branding. From here you can add people to your Circles and gain +1’s for your page. You can also keep people updated with pictures, links and general posts.
For businesses that regularly post blogs or content on their website, you can also take advantage of Google Authorship. This is where you connect a Google+ profile (an individual, not a business) with a piece of content, showing their authority in a particular area. In turn this helps your business gain more of a reputation as an authority and, hopefully, helps improve rankings.
- Take time over your posts – unlike on other social networks, posts on Google+ can rank in search engines of their own accord. Therefore take your time over them and learn some of the tricks you can use to format posts.
- Create and participate in communities – Google+ has a huge range of communities on all sorts of topics, and they are easy to participate in. Doing this will help expand the reach of your business – and you may just learn a thing or two!
- Use images – users respond well to images they can quickly scan and appreciate, and the user interface of Google+ lends itself to imagery extremely well. Use this to your advantage, but make sure you mix it up with text posts too.
For instance, Pinterest is fantastic for visual businesses such as artists, designers and interior retailers, while LinkedIn may be beneficial for more formal businesses such as web designers, online marketers and manufacturers.
For more information on social media for businesses, you can read this in-depth guide on Moz.com.
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