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How do you know which social media sites are best for your business?

When setting up a business, you’re going to have some huge decisions to make. One of them is choosing how to market your business, and in the current climate, with marketing comes the question which social media platforms should you use that will benefit your business and gain revenue.

Your first question may be, do I need to use social media to promote my business? The answer is categorically yes. In 2018, social media is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and is a great online marketing tool because it can reach so many people (as so many are using it) and engage with them, mainly for free!

Think about yourself and when you are looking for a service, where do you search for it? Google perhaps, then I would put a bet on you using social media? Even if it is asking your Facebook friends for recommendations.

So we’ve established you need to use social media for your business. Now, which ones. It might be easier to look at the top platforms and their pros and cons.

Facebook

Facebook is THE most popular social media platform worldwide, with 2.23 billion active users. It’s also the number one social app for companies, with 84% of business users saying it’s the most successful one for them, in terms of gaining customers and revenue.

Who should use it?

Everyone should, from the one-man independent businesses to the multinational companies.

When and how often to post

The average user logs on 11 times a day, so you can afford to do a few posts a day if needs be. The most popular time is evenings, Fridays and weekends, so schedule your posts carefully if you can.

Content

Your posts should inspire engagement and conversation and not be too promotional, especially in order to spread your audience organically. Try and keep links within Facebook and respond to likes, comments, shares and new followers. Keywords and relevant content are key.

Useful tips

The scheduling function means you can really target your audience for maximum effect, for example, if you run a bakery and have a new vegan cake recipe, after writing your post you can look through your followers and click on all those who share an interest with veganism.

Paid adverts are also an effective tool.

Disadvantages

With strict new changes, Facebook will be stricter on organic posts. Any that it thinks are not positive enough, too much like an advert, link to outside web addresses and aren’t engaging enough, will not reach a wider audience. However, once you get the habit of your posts and the content to use it will be a breeze!

Instagram

Instagram is the second most used app, and was acquired by Facebook a few years ago. It’s not the second most used platform for business though and can be very specific.  

Who should use it?

Instagram is most successful for lifestyle profiles, food, fashion, celebrity figures and luxury brands. Other businesses can be successful, but it is not the first port of call for customers looking for a service.

When and how often to post

It is recommended that you post at least once a day. Busiest time is mainly weekends and evenings so schedule some posts in for those times if office is closed.

You can also use the stories function for special offers, discounts, launches and events. All stories appear from 24 hours and can be no longer than 15 seconds. This function lets the audience see more about your company and you to show the more human side of your business.  You may get people who watch the stories that don’t see your posts, so it’s important to use both. This function can also be shared on to Facebook to maximise audience.

Content

Instagram is all about capturing attention in an instant. Make images interesting and relevant and mix them with short videos, boomerangs and live stories.

Useful tips

Use relevant hashtags to become more discoverable and to track engagement across all sites. By using 30 relevant hashtags you can increase engagement and views significantly. You can find the recommended and most used/current hashtags within the app.  

Disadvantages

Instagram doesn’t let you link to other businesses very well. You cannot share or ‘regram’ posts without using a separate app and using hyperlinks is basically a no no, so people have to link back to your bio to view, say your website link or a link to a special offer. However, it’s getting better, and as it links well with Facebook so you should be able to cover all bases when sharing content.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the top business to business social media platform, with many people now finding jobs through the site as well as employers finding new recruits and checking on competitors.

Who should use it?

Businesses – especially B2B service providers, recruiters and job-seekers.

When and how often to post

You only need to post 2 to 4 times a week, and busiest times are during the working day (9 till 5).

Content

Posts should be industry-related as well as on-brand, and both post and page description should include keywords that people may search for. Share posts from other profiles and influencers and link to current news stories. Of course you can post job posts too.

Useful Tips

Your connections are the most important factor on LinkedIn – real connections too. Have as many as you can to ensure you’re using the site to its full potential. Grow your network with primary and secondary connections, weeding out the hard sellers.

Ensure all employees who use LinkedIn are appropriate, professional and on-brand. This applies to all social media, but in particular LinkedIn as other businesses will look here first to check companies out.

Disadvantages

LinkedIn is not as widely used as the other platforms and is very business-specific. It is not about connecting with your friends, but ensuring your connections are ‘useful.’ Content is limited also. But if all used in the right way, it is a great tool. 

Twitter

Twitter is great for in the moment and up to date news. Stories and events trend on Twitter and many use it not only for ‘socialising’ but for their news source.

Who Should Use It?

It is good for everyone – individuals to large multinational corporations, especially B2B. You can start, manage and join conversations directly with customers in an instant.

When and how often to post

You can post 24/7 and as many times as you like.

Content

It’s seen as the most ‘democratic’ social media platform, so relevance, personality and brevity are the key to a successful Twitter profile. You can use GIFs, images, videos and ‘quote tweets’ and they will no longer count towards the 140 tweet limit. However, you still need to keep your tweet concise and to the point – you can do more than one tweet on one point, but this is not ideal!

Useful Tips

As with Instagram, look at trending and popular hashtags that will help improve your audience and engagement. Twitter will be having a conversation about your industry – you need to ensure you are in it!

Disadvantages

Twitter is not very ‘visual’ and therefore can be seen to not be that impactful for businesses trying to make a statement or sell. You cannot post videos, only links to them, and images do not always look that great. You do also have the text limit so if you’re posting live from an event for example, it may take you a while to edit.

There is also YouTube (you can set up a channel if you have multiple videos, and it is the top site of its kind for Google ranking), SnapChat (good for a younger audience, posts disappear after 24 hours) and Pinterest (bookmarking site, businesses cannot post content as such) to think about too.

But these are the main four platforms that businesses should be using. Of course, you may not have the need or desire to use all of them and in fact would not recommend using them all if you don’t have the resources, content or need to. Perhaps do some market research and see where your target audience are active on social media, look at competitors and see how they are doing, and remember to ALWAYS look at your own analytics on any social media site.

There are no fixed answers, every case is different. Just ensure you are not left behind.

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