How to get the most out of social media for your business

Posted March 1st, 17:00

4 min read

In recent years, the online marketplace has become just as important as the offline marketplace for small businesses.

The average British adult spends one whole day a week online, making them a sitting target for digital marketing and brand communication.

It’s moved far beyond email campaigns thanks to social media. With so many people having at least one personal profile online, it is easier for marketers to find their prospective customers.

Through effective use of social media, you can grow your following either organically or through paid-for methods, as well as improve your customer services, internal communication, recruitment and sales. We are here to guide you through the best practice.

Which platform to use

Facebook

This is the most popular social network in the UK, clocking in at a whopping 32 million users.

This makes Facebook one of the best platforms for businesses to use, as you have a great potential audience.

You can target specific audiences through boosting your posts or using paid-for advertising. For example, if you want your ad to appear on the Facebook feed of mothers over the age of 30 who live in a specific town, you can make that happen in a few clicks.

There are built-in analysis tools that allow you to track page interactions and views, plus stats on individual posts. This makes it easier to tell whether your methods of posting are working.

Perhaps your audience responds most to images, or it may really enjoy the articles you share. The statistics can help you find out this information and act upon it.

LinkedIn

Seen as the professional social network, LinkedIn is more B2B focused and more formal than Facebook or Twitter. It is a great place to connect as a business and as an individual.

Use it to meet new people in your field, track down contacts, find or advertise jobs and learn about or share the latest news in your industry.

You can also receive testimonials from your contacts and be awarded endorsements for your key skills.

Twitter

Another popular platform is Twitter, where users send, read and share short messages with others (these are called ‘tweets’). There are 20 million users in the UK, and 50% of those will visit the website of an SME they follow.

The point of Twitter is to start and join conversations with people – whether you know them or not.

This works well for businesses, for they can interact directly with target audiences while their existing customers can contact them about any issues or highlights.

Keep things lighthearted, relevant and clear to get your message to spread further.

Managing your accounts

Having lots of different social media accounts, or even just one account, can feel like a big responsibility. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that help you to manage your online presence.

TweetDeck is specifically for Twitter users, allowing them to view and manage their Twitter accounts, lists and custom searches across one dashboard, as well as schedule tweets.

Hootsuite and Buffer are similar, but they are compatible with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and other platforms.

You can have everything in one place, which means you can minimise the time and effort it takes to manage multiple accounts.

Hootsuite is better adapted for monitoring conversations, while Buffer has more precise scheduling options. Have a play with them all and see what works for you.

Planning your content

You need to plan your content based on what you think your customers and audience would want to read about, respond to and enjoy, as well as thinking about when they are most likely to read it.

It’s not necessary to plan every single post you will publish as spontaneity and relevance are really important, but it’s good to have some idea of what you will post and when you will post it.

Strong content will help you engage your audience, which will hopefully lead to increased sales or interest in your services.

Jonathan Pollinger, social media expert at Intranet Future, has plenty of advice to offer on this subject.

“Content planning is very important,” says Jonathan.

“If you can, get your themes, ideas, images and preferably your posts and tweets lined up in advance.

“Above all, make sure that you provide value that informs, educates or entertains people so that your fans and followers can engage with it. Also, make sure to include visuals, such as photos, GIFs and videos.

“Once you’ve planned everything, you can schedule and measure posts and tweets using social media management tools. This will make you more efficient and make your content more effective as it will be published at optimal times.”

Social media and SEO

While social media doesn’t directly help your SEO, it can certainly have an impact. This is something that Steve Morgan of Morgan Online Marketing knows all about.

“A lot of social media websites utilise rel=”nofollow” on their outbound links,” he explains.

“This means that if you share a link on Twitter, Facebook or another social media network, its SEO value is removed and so it won’t help you on the SEO front.

“However, social media can still indirectly help your SEO. For example, if you were to share a really good blog post from your website on social media via a link, that can help your SEO. If SEO is your main focus when it comes to marketing your business, you shouldn’t simply ignore social media but it’s still very important to do.”


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