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Why do businesses use social media?

Why do businesses use social media?

Does your business use social media as part of the marketing strategy?

Here is an article I came across written by Sinmi Adekola that I thought was very useful. Many businesses shy away from social media and miss out on the huge benefits that it offers.

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Did you know that there are more than 4.2 billion people using social networking sites across the globe?  It’s hard to think that twenty years ago the internet was still pretty new, now it has revolutionised today’s world. Social media is the quickest, most cost-effective and highly efficient way to reach your audience. It’s pretty simple too if you know what to do. Here’s a list of the top uses for social media:

1.  Increase awareness of your brand and it’s personality

2.  Promote your brand as a thought leader

3.  Increase website traffic & conversion

4.  Work with others in your industry

5.  Engage with your audience

6.  Get brand inspiration

7.  Reputation management / reviews

8.  Keep up with trends/news in your industry

9.  Customer service & support

10.  Building your community

11.  Advertising

12.  Analytics

What kinds of business find social media helpful? 

If you run a Business to Consumer (B2C) business, you need social media. The benefit to Business to Business (B2B) businesses is not as obvious however, you are still selling to humans, and so it can be a case of choosing specific social channels, like LinkedIn in addition.

Each platform is created to share different types of content so although it’s tempting, you may not always get away with copy & pasting the same posts on multiple platforms. Here’s a simple break down:

  • Facebook – Great for videos, pictures & adverts
  • LinkedIn – Great for sharing stories/articles, conversation
  • Twitter – A short comment based platform for conversation and sharing information in threads
  • Instagram –  A visual platform perfect for videos & pictures

 When choosing a platform, you need to remember three things. 

1. Where is my audience?

 2. What content is relevant to them?

 3. What platform can I use to add the most value? 

For example, if you are selling trainers online, LinkedIn might not be the best place to try to market your business, whereas a visual platform like Instagram will yield better results. If you run a beauty business like me, again, sharing articles on LinkedIn won’t hit the three points above. My clients mainly use Instagram, they love seeing pictures of lashes, BTS (Behind the Scenes) and enjoy reading my value-filled captions & stories.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use all social platforms for the same purpose, you may post a lot of pictures on Instagram and then use Twitter as a customer service platform to speak to customers directly. However, think about your capacity, you cannot be everywhere, otherwise, you risk delivering a watered-down version of your message in ten separate places.  

Great. So once you’ve identified the right platforms, how do you go about setting up an effective profile?

Sherpa Marketing recently found that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities. On Instagram alone, 80% of people follow at least one business. If you can create a winning social media presence than there’s a huge opportunity to engage your audience and create a loyal fan base. 

Once you’ve chosen your preferred platforms, sorted out your branding & identified your audience you need to set up your profile. Here are some rules for choosing a handle.

The KISS principle is a good one to live by when thinking about this.

K– Keep

I – It

S– Simple

S– Stupid

There is no need to overcomplicate things, so keep it simple!

How do you build a following? 

This is probably everyone’s biggest question and the answer is clear. ADD VALUE. CONSISTENTLY. 

Firstly, you need to do some research on what your audience would like to see, what topics pique their interest & their preferred style of content. If you tick all these boxes you will start to grow your following, but consistent growth comes down to consistency. 

You may hear people saying you need to post 10 times per day and constantly be on a content hamster wheel. This isn’t the case, I recommend posting 1-2 times daily on your feed and posting daily on your stories (Facebook/Instagram).

Like I mentioned earlier, you need to be adding value in any way you can. This can be through videos, newsletters, blog posts, infographics, helpful tips & more. Answer your audience’s questions, even the ones they didn’t know they needed answers to.  Add so much value that it wouldn’t make any sense for them to go anywhere else!

Once you have a good social media following, how do you turn it into value for your business?

If possible, it’s great to build your tribe first before launching a business. This way you will have built a reputation for yourself, established your authority/ trust and have an engaged audience. You can start to tease your business idea or new launch to your audience over time whilst you get all the background work together. 

BEFORE you launch, make sure you have everything together, your website, branding, marketing etc! Conducting market research is crucial as you don’t want to launch to an audience that isn’t interested. This may be the case if you don’t bother to ask what your audience wants! 

Maintaining a steady stream of engaging content will then help to cement your business in the mind of your audience, and lead them to consider you when making a purchase.

There are three key steps to maintaining your channels – PLAN, PREPARE & AUTOMATE.

PLAN

Creating a marketing strategy for your business will make life easy for you. Plan out the types of content you want to share, design ideas, and your chosen platforms.

PREPARE

Using a 30-day plan, take the day to sit down and write captions, blog posts and various hashtags you will use throughout the month. I recommend creating three groups of hashtags to collate the posts you are uploading eg. one for quote posts, one for pictures of your work/products and one for promotions/sales.

AUTOMATE

Now for the fun part, after a long day or two of working on your content, you can use sites/apps such as Hootsuite or SmarterQueue to schedule all your posts! This means you can have posts you’ve already written going out without you having to do anything. Pretty great, right?

Is it important to build a big social following to see the benefit of marketing through social media?  

Don’t believe the hype, you could have 10,000 followers who aren’t engaged and never buy anything from you. Focus on engagement, not your follower count. Stay focused on delivering value, the numbers mean nothing!

Should you engage with your followers & reply to every comment? 

In short, yes. If you only have 10 comments on a post are you really too busy to send a quick emoji or start a little conversation? If you have 100 comments try to reply to the first 10-20 and like the rest of the comments. Your followers are your community and you need to be engaging with them on a personal level. Make them your tribe and build a solid relationship with them! Be sure to reply and show some love on their pages too 👍.

I hope this article has given you a greater understanding as to how social media can help grow your business. The link below takes you to a link that gives you a snapshot of your business online. For help with setting up and creating a social strategy click the button below to start the process.

Written by Sinmi Adekola

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