Bethany Sherry investigates Social Media and how to use this to your advantage.
“Social Media is integral to marketing today – if your brand does not exist online, it may as well not exist.” – Rebecca Sharples, founder of PINK MILK Consultancy, a company specialising in branding, marketing and social media.
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic (web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web site) or attention through social media sites. A digital platform allows you to connect with your customers from anywhere and at any time.
Social media was once just used to connect with friends online, but now provides businesses with the ability to reach consumers at any time of the day on their own personal device.
“Social media marketing can increase sales, increase awareness and create a multi-platform business to consumer communication base”, said Sharples.
“Successful platform usage is based on understanding the audience you currently have, and the audience you would like to build.”
Participation on social media can help establish who people are talking about and who will be interested in your business, allowing you to focus your efforts on the most relevant markets.
Rebecca Sharples: “Social media is instant, and often has a tone of voice. Direct messaging, responding in comments, and posting out public notices are all ways that social media has changed the interaction between businesses and consumers. [It’s] instant, personal, and public.”
Here’s our essential guide to promoting your brand online:
Twitter can be a great platform for businesses as it allows you to interact with directly with customers and share links and photos of your products or services.
Timing your tweets well can boost views and increase clicks on the links you include. However, not every tweet should include a link – limit them to add value to the ones you do include.
Hashtags are also a big part of Twitter – these allow people that do not follow you to see your tweets and add context to your tweets.
Also, tweets that include photos or videos are more likely to gain engagement than those without as they are more eye-catching, but be sure to mix up your content and not be too predictable.
Composing your tweet in the correct order is essential:
- Write your text
- Add any links
- Mention people @twitteraccount
- Add hashtags
- Insert any images
Do not start a tweet with a mention (@twitteraccount) – doing this means that only the person you have mentioned will see the tweet.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with more than 1.23 billion active users. It is important to understand how it works and how you can use it to market your business. Facebook has three account options: people profiles; pages; and groups that can be used by anyone. Facebook pages are similar to people profiles, but are better suited for public figures, businesses or organizations. Facebook users can “Like” a page, and will then receive updates from this page in their own news feed. Facebook groups have a profile page, just like profiles and pages do, but they are similar to discussion forums. Creating groups relevant to your product area is a great way to reach out to potential new customers.
Instagram is great for visualising a brand, as the app depends solely on photographs and videos with captions. High quality photographs are the key to a successful Instagram account for your business, so only consider it if you feel like you could creatively show what your business can offer. A website link is available to set up on your Instagram profile to send customers straight to your business. When considering Instagram, it is highly recommended that your business has an online site that customers can navigate to.
The second largest search engine in the world, YouTube generates a lot of online traffic and it is worthwhile understanding how you can use this to benefit your own business. However, just because YouTube is popular does not mean it is suitable for you. Only upload videos that you think clearly represent your brand/ business and include relevant things you know your audience would be interest in.
Millions of professionals use LinkedIn to expand their own careers, personal networks and to grow their business. The site offers the opportunity to share contact details and content with other industry professionals, and places your brand amongst consumers.