Twitter, LinkedIn, foursquare, Google+, YouTube … there are so many social media networks out there it can be difficult to know which ones are worth using for your business. While social media can be free to use, it does take time to set up and establish and if you’re using the wrong platforms that could be time wasted. If you’re keen to understand how social media could work for your business, but don’t know where to start, then our Social Media Insight Day later this month in Swindon could be useful. In the meantime here’s a quick run through the main social media networks, and the type of business that could benefit from using them.
Twitter: I’m a big fan of Twitter for business and really I don’t think there are any business types that wouldn’t benefit from using it. See, the thing with Twitter is that it’s very much like an online networking event – it’s all about making connections with people, not selling. It’s about finding people who you like, or who live near you, or who enjoy similar things to you, and chatting, sharing information and links and socialising. Of course there are various strategies you can use to find people who are relevant to your business, but whatever business you’re in, Twitter is a good place to start.
Facebook: For me the biggest difference between Twitter and Facebook is that on the whole, the Twitter directory is an open one – you can search for someone who likes, for example, pianos and then follow them, and with any luck they’ll follow you back. On Facebook it’s more difficult to find relevant people to follow, and people are less likely to follow back unless they already know you – or know your brand. And those are the companies that have the most success on Facebook – brands that normally (but not always) sell to consumers rather than other businesses. However, Facebook can be really useful for B2B companies too, especially in engaging with existing customers and leads, people who already know about you and want to connect with you. Facebook Ads are also an excellent paid way of targeting very specific niches.
LinkedIn: This platform is probably the biggest online business network in existence; if you deliver services or products to other businesses then you really need to be using LinkedIn. Rather than following people randomly the idea behind LinkedIn is that you connect with the people you already know and then use those connections to reach people you’d like to know. Even if all you do is set up a profile and add your contacts, you’ll find LinkedIn is good for raising your profile.
foursquare: If you have a business with a physical presence – for example, a retail outlet, bar, restaurant, event or high street office – then foursquare is well worth investigating. This smartphone-led network encourages users to check in at locations in a battle to become “mayor”. You can even advertise special offers for anyone who checks in – 5% off or a free coffee, for example. It’s thought that foursquare users spend three times as much as non-users so it’s worth setting up your premises as a foursquare location and encouraging people in.
Pinterest: This is one of the newest social media platforms but it’s growing quickly. Pinterest lets members create “pinboards” of images that represent things they like or elements of their lifestyle. If you design, create or sell products – anything from jewellery and clothing to food and books – you’ll benefit from setting up your own themed pinboards and letting members share your images.
Google+: In my humble opinion Google+ has missed the boat somewhat as by the time it launched most people who were interested in social media were already settled into Twitter, Facebook etc. However, Google has started integrating Google+ into its search results, so whatever business you run it would be worth at least setting up a profile that people can share. Also, make sure you have a Google Places account for your business, as this can show up in searches above your own website.
YouTube: The world’s biggest video site is also the second biggest search engine in the world, any almost any business can benefit from the high traffic numbers. Videos are easy to create – you can use a smartphone or digital camera, hire a professional video studio or outsource video production to experts. Have a think about what you could upload to YouTube …. I’m sure there’s something!
If you’re not already using social media to promote your business have a look at the sites above and see which ones would work best for your business. if you’re still confused, or you’d like any help with setting up and using social media, give us a call on 01793 608777 and we’ll help you out!