Most small and medium businesses have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. In today’s market, online presence is taken very seriously and should be a consideration in any business plan. Which online platform you chose will depend on what type of product or service your business provides and who is your target market.
Often Facebook and Twitter are not maximised to their fullest effect to drive sales of products or services. Sometimes the very basics of posting and building the presence of the brand or service is neglected. To be successful communications tools for your business these platforms require a specific marketing strategy. The marketing strategy should address the following:
When the marketing strategy for Facebook and Twitter is in place your product or service can start to enjoy the benefits of these social media platforms. For example, Facebook and Twitter is a great way to send real-time information in a fast and digestible manner. News, promotions, competitions and company information can reach the masses in a fraction of the time that a traditional marketing campaign can. They give visibility and drive traffic to your website.
Another advantage of using social media is that you can avail of user information and targeting tools for advertising campaigns. An important benefit for any business, is that Facebook and Twitter allow the business expand the personality of the brand or service. This gives consumers an added insight into the culture of the company. This enables businesses to humanize their offer and build further trust.
Online platforms create a transparency on which businesses can build better relationships.
Facebook, Twitter and social media in general, give a voice even to the smallest business, a way of spreading news and of making itself visible. To turn this into a benefit reflecting on the success of the business, social media needs consistency throughout all platforms and a high frequency and relevance for posts.
Some Things to Know about Social Media
Pew Research Center has found that 74% of adults who use Internet are present on social media:
• 71% use Facebook
• 23% use Twitter
• 26% use Instagram
• 28% use Pinterest
• 28% use LinkedIn
Social Media offers a very big opportunity for businesses to increase exposure and also win new customers. However there are traps in which one could easily fall. Businesses can fall into the trap of paying for fans and followers.
What does this mean? Social media sites use algorithms that track the interest and engagement of fans or followers with the content posted. This determines the reach that a platform will allow to a business account. So if only a small number of fans engage with your daily content, the platform will detect this and limit your reach for future posts. Therefore, having large numbers of fans or followers on social media who don’t engage with the content posted can hurt your business in the long run.
Before starting social media activities, you need to consider your target market and use appropriate platforms and sites. For example, if you are selling products for women, maybe sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest would be better suited but of course this depends on the product itself. Twitter or LinkedIn are generally better suited for professional advice, services or products.
To use the full potential of social media, you need to link it to your website, blog, product pages and any other digital platform your company is using.
Another thing to remember is to not oversell. This means that besides promoting the business and products or services, social media has to include relevant information to fans or followers. This refers to content which can contribute to the “well-being” of the fan or follower or simply put another way relevant content other than your own business posts.
There are other “must do” elements a business should consider when using social media. For example, the use of images, videos, hashtags or famous quotes. These are great tools in boosting engagement. Also, you should always consider the insights offered by the social media sites and use them to your benefit. Insights such as when the fans are more likely to be online, which posts are getting more clicks, and so on, can help a business refine its strategy.
You should always manage social media with care as it is a tool with huge potential. Done well it can grow your business or if not done well, it can actually harm it.