The right social media for your business

Social media wears many hats – the secret is knowing which ‘outfits’ to wear them with!  Let’s take a look at the biggest platforms and examine how they work – for relationships, business, job hunting and more.

Facebook is VERY social and chatty and people share their personal stuff on their personal accounts.  Some people share their most intimate information and others are much more circumspect and share only the surface information.  To some extent this depends on who you’ve accepted as friends and how you want to be perceived by those people.

I use my personal account for social stuff mostly, chatting with friends and family.  However, I do post the occasional business post, usually when there’s some freebies available.  My connections are a mix of friends, family, business connections (I was on Facebook before Pages were invented) and some people I don’t know as I believe in random connections, you don’t know who knows who!  That means that I am careful what I post and don’t get into very personal conversations online.

As Facebook owns Instagram anything you upload to Instagram is easy to share in your Facebook stream too.

Facebook Pages are different and are perfect for business that sell directly to the consumer.  The craft community find that Facebook is a great arena for their products as people are always looking for unusual gifts for their nearest and dearest.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a Facebook Page if you are a business that sells to other businesses.  It’s an ideal place to host a community and get involved with your clients, answer questions and be the fount of all information on your products and services.  It personalises your business and lets you engage directly with your customers (and potential customers).

However, don’t try selling at people on your Facebook Page.  Now and again an offer or promotion works well, but if all you do is say ‘buy this, buy that’ your audience won’t engage at all.

Sharing tips, testimonials (let other people say how good you are) and special deals exclusively for your Facebook community will help your Page to come to life.

LinkedIn is much more business-oriented, but it depends on whether you are using it:

  • To promote your business
  • To search for a new job
  • As an employee

Your profile will need writing differently depending on which purpose you choose.  If you’re promoting your business then your profile will need optimising for the keywords you want to be found by and the content in your summary and your current and previous roles needs to focused on presenting your skills effectively.

If you’re job hunting your profile will need optimising for the roles you are searching for and your current and previous roles will need presenting in a way that attracts a potential employer.

As an employee you’ll be walking the tightrope between promoting your current employer and yourself.

Engagement on LinkedIn is more about sharing good quality content and engaging in groups where your target audience are active

Twitter is more instant and random – think of it as joining up the dots between large numbers of people so you extend your reach.  If you share lots of high value content you’ll find people start to rate you as an expert and will recommend you to others they’re connected to.

What’s high value content?  Tips, advice and ‘how to’ information.  Obviously, there is a limit to how much you can say in 140 characters (aim for 115 so there’s room for retweets and comments), but always include a link to the longer version of your tweets, whether that’s a blog on your website (or someone else’s) or a page on your website with relevant information.  I often tweet links to my Treasure Chest and free Video Tutorial so people can get access to lots of good quality free stuff.

Don’t broadcast only; be generous share tweets you like and links to good blogs by retweeting, mention people, aim to be helpful and connect people up where you can.

 

Google+ is more of an information sharing platform.  People tend to write longer content and it tends to be a place where people form communities around common interests.  It’s less businessy than LinkedIn, but not as personal as Facebook.  The ability to post to a select circle of people makes it useful for sharing information with specific groups of people.

One of the big attractions of Google+ is the Hangouts, a video conferencing/chat facility that lets several people have online video discussions in real time.  Think how that might work for your business!  What could you do with a regular hangout to engage existing clients, potential customers and advocates?

Pinterest is often discounted as being a bit of fun and not a business platform.  Think again, the stats say that sales from Pinterest users produce nearly double the per head income!

The success of your Pinterest account is based on whether you have your boards organised so it’s easy for people to find what you’re offering.  Whilst creative titles for boards are fun, they don’t help when someone types in what they’re looking for and your board name is too obscure for it to show up in their search.

Use the 500 character text allowance to market whatever you pin.  Another tip is to ensure all your own product/service images appear on your own website and pin from your website rather than uploading.  That way you get lots of links back to your website

YouTube is not only owned by Google, which gives it loads of brownie points, but it is second only to Google as a search engine.  When people want to know how to do things they often type it into YouTube to get instructions.

If you’re into video and can produce reasonable short videos having a YouTube channel is a must.  Videos don’t have to be long, nor do they have to feature you personally.

If you hate standing in front of the camera create a slide presentation and narrate it with appropriate music – but beware of death by PowerPoint!  Use lots of images and only enough words on screen for people to get the message.

There are more and more companies offering sensible prices for short videos too now.

A word of warning

Don’t try to be everything to everybody on all these platforms.  Think about your ideal customers or clients, where are they most likely to be active – that’s where you need to be focused.  Get really good at a couple rather than skimming the surface on all of them.

 

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