For many businesses – social media can seem overwhelming.
They know it is something they can use to connect with current and potential clients but being an unknown, it is often put in the “too hard” basket. Having an understanding of the social media landscape can help any business get started.
But social media is one of the key elements of a successful website.
Social Media is here to Stay
Consider these statistics:
- One billion people actively use Facebook every month
- 500,000 people use Twitter every month
- Google’s +1 button is used 2+ billion times each day
- 5 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every hour
- 3,600 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every hour
Or have a look at this amazing infographic on the growth of social media.
If you know your audience and where they hang out – you can carefully select platforms that match both your goals and audience.
Know the Platforms – The Big Three
Facebook is the largest social media network with over 1.3 billion users.
Businesses use Facebook to create communities, connect with existing clients and to cultivate new relationships. Facebook “likes” are a great tool allowing fans to spread the word about products & services. And as so many businesses have a Facebook page, there is often an expectation that every business will have a Facebook page as well as a website.
In addition to business pages, you can also advertise on Facebook. Facebook ads are different from Google ads as they allow you to target specific demographics – location, age, even interests – Facebook ads are great for low ticket items.
Every second, 2 new people join LinkedIn.
Now, with more than 270 million users, LinkedIn is a force however LinkedIn is generally seen as place for business professionals to hang out and network.
You can create a profile for yourself as well as set up a Linkedin company profile.
Creating an individual LinkedIn profile is like creating a resume, listing your current employment, work history, education, skills and received recommendations.
On your company profile, you can list your services and products and a link to your website.
Many small businesses use LinkedIn as a means of promoting a professional public image and establishing a business presence.
Twitter is a happening place.
Twitter allows you to send and read text-based messages known as tweets; each tweet is limited to 140 characters.
According to Pew research, 16% of Internet users use Twitter with the most dominant age group being 18 to 29 year olds (27% of users) with some college education (17%).
As a small business, you can tweet your own messages, retweet interesting and relevant tweets and comment on others’ tweets. Other users can follow you, and your tweets will automatically be shown to them.
Twitter isn’t as much a lead generation platform as much as it is a brand loyalty platform.
Pinterest is a visual content sharing service where you can “pin” images and videos to your pinboards.
You can have an individual profiles, or a Pinterest boards for your businesses.
According to Pew research, 15% of Internet users use Pinterest, (it was predominantly used by women 18 and 49 years old but this is changing).
You can use Pinterest to promote your products, feature your blog posts, share videos and build brand awareness – all driving traffic to your website.
Instagram is a visual platform, it’s all about photos and short videos.
Launched in late 2010, Instagram now has more than 300 million accounts!
You can transform photos using filters, and they appear as squares (instead of the 4:3 aspect ratio), which often transforms images for the good. Add hashtags to your images to be found and share your photos.
Instagram is a powerful way for promoting yourself and your business – liking and commenting on other photos is a powerful way to grow a massive following.
YouTube is a video sharing site.
Every minute, 72 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube, and over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month.
Any business can post videos.
Some brands are more suited to their videos going viral however any business can make a “How to” or a “Behind the Scenes” or “Top Tips” video.
So what next?
Pick one social media site to start.
Think about social media outlets your audience will be on.
Create a time budget.
Whilst social media is free it takes time and energy, which are precious resources. So set yourself a time budget so you are not overwhelmed, try and block out the time on your calendar, daily, weekly (or even monthly!).
Define your goals – track your efforts
Google Analytics is an easy-to-use option for tracking your traffic on your website, blog and which social media channels are driving the most traffic to your site.
Also there are other social media management tools like Sprout Social which give you easy-to-understand social media performance reports.
Just do it!!
And remember – social media is a marathon, not a sprint.
Thank you to http://sensationalfix.com/ for the icons!