With the amount of time you spend on social media these days, you kind of know your business probably needs to be there too but where do you begin? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…the list grows almost daily and is undoubtedly daunting.
It all depend on what your business is, what your goals are and how much time you have to manage an online presence. In short, you need a social media strategy but it doesn’t have to be as scary as that sounds. Let’s have a look at a couple of examples:
Example 1. SheShopped is an online buyers guide for women / advertising platform (website) for businesses but she’s also got a massive social footprint with most activity taking place on her Facebook page which has nearly 25k ‘fans’, closely followed by an Instagram account with 2,500 followers, Twitter – 2,300, Pinterest – 343, YouTube – 9 subscribers. SheShopped has two distinct key audiences so needs to ensure she has a significant reach online to talk to her ‘customers’ as well as the businesses who advertise on the website.
Using platforms like Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram allow SheShopped to build trust among existing audiences (sharing photos / links / personal stories etc), raise awareness of the brand among new audiences and also drive traffic back to the website. SheShopped is “your most reliable girlfriend online” and her large and diverse online presence allows her to be just that.
You don’t need to (and please don’t) create a profile on every social media platform you know of when you’re setting up your business. Choosing to focus on just one platform can work equally well, if you use it with a plan.
Example 2. So let’s look at something a bit smaller than SheShopped. WoodenOwl is a women’s online fashion and accessories store, it knows its audience well and knows they spend time on Facebook in the evenings, they’ll upload photos of new stock when the kids are in bed with links to the website and bada bing bada boom – popular items sell out before dawn.
So, how do you decide which platforms you should focus on and how do you make sure someone doesn’t come along and confuse everyone by creating an Instagram account using your brilliant business name? I’ve pulled together some ideas to help you get started.
The 5 top tips to establish your business presence on social media:
1. Secure your name. Once a username is taken on a social media platform, it’s very difficult to get hold of, even if you have the right to that name through a Trademark. Have a look at this famous example with Coke who don’t have (and supposedly can’t get) control of their famous brand on Twitter. You can use a website like knowem.com to see if your business name is available on various social media platforms (go on, have a look right now). Even if you don’t go ahead and use that platform, sign up and get the username before someone else does.
2. Love the one you’re with. Find a platform you’re comfortable with. Do you love or loathe Facebook? Massive Pinner but can’t understand Instagram? You’re going to have to spend a lot of time on that platform so make sure you love it. Try a few out with a personal account if you’re not sure.
3. Cross examine your content. Match a platform to content you’ve got and / or can easily create – do you have a product that you can take great photos of? Or do you like writing and can tell stories about how your service has helped others? Have you got a bit of a knack with video, signed up immediately to Vine and never take a photo with Instagram anymore (and secretly imagine you’d be great behind the Today show desk?)…then maybe you should think about YouTube or Vimeo.
4. Get Smart. Connect your platforms together so you can post once but it goes to various platforms. I don’t mean send all your updates from Facebook automatically to Twitter or LinkedIn but if you like taking photos, try to always use Instagram then (if appropriate) share your photo with your Twitter (and/or Facebook) account – you’ve just killed two (maybe three) birds with one shot. You can also use something like Buffer so you can chose (and edit) which updates go to which platform and edit accordingly eg remove hashtags from LinkedIn updates where they just don’t make sense.
5. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Life is busy and I can bet on my life that you’re life is only going to get busier with your fabulous new business. You need to prepare your social media presence in advance. I mentioned Buffer before as it not only allows you to send updates to multiple platforms but you can schedule them to go out when you’re busy making your business ‘work’. You’ll still need to spend some ‘real-time’ time on your chosen platform engaging in a ‘social’ way with your community, but this is a great way to make sure you share all your amazing content when you’re absolutely flat out filling all those orders.
I hope these are useful – please let me know if you try any of these out and they work for you. Or do you have another tip you’d be happy to share? I’d love to hear from you.
- The Big 5 Glossary: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ (business2community.com)
- Can Instagram Be a Branding Tool for Your Business? (business2community.com)
- 3 Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram (socialsolutionscollective.com)
- 9 Social Media Tactics That Will Increase Your Site’s Traffic (weblogbetter.com)
- How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Business (successful-blog.com)