Which are the best social media options for my business?
Find the best fit
When people want to find out what’s going on with their friends, family and businesses, the first place they look is social media. It’s important that your business is represented in this way, and social media is a great option because you’ve got several platforms to choose from, meaning you can select the best one for your business. Keep in mind that your decision should reflect where your customers are – which platform are they mostly participating on?
It’s a good idea to do some customer research. Find out where the majority of your customers spend their time online, and you can tailor your social media choices accordingly.
It’s also important to keep in mind that for social media to be used effectively, spending hours in chats and comments isn’t productive. In order to drive sales and be the most productive, you need to use your time efficiently.
Why use social media?
There’s a reason that social media has become so popular with businesses. There are numerous benefits, including:
- Large reach – you’re communicating with many people, possibly globally, with just a few taps on the keyboard or phone.
- Word of mouth – given that social media is primarily a communication tool, people talk about products or services they’ve experienced.
- Building customer loyalty – it’s a great way to reward your best customers.
- Cost – in many cases, it’s free, certainly to sign up. But for a minimal outlay, you can boost your social media effectiveness by making use of paid services.
- Advertising – in the end, it’s a great marketing tool, and accessible for business of all shapes and sizes across almost every industry.
Which is the best option?
What you don’t want to do is attempt to use all the social media options that are available. You’re busy running your business – you don’t have time to be active on all of them. So it’s important to do your homework and identify which is the best platform for your business. Remember that social networking is a process, not a destination, and will take time and effort before it starts to pay off.
- Identify your target market – who’s your typical customer? Are they other businesses, or are you selling to consumers?
- Consumer groups – there are lots of different groups online and most of them interact on social media. Identify which ones would be targets for your business. For example, if you’re running a landscaping business, encourage landscaping groups online to engage with you on social media.
- Facebook – it’s a great option if you’re selling to consumers. Use this to chat about what your staff are doing, competitions, cool things your customers are up to, sneak previews of interesting facts.
- LinkedIn – this is the best option for B2B businesses. It’s a professional network and is largely used by older people. It’s great for lead generation and networking.
- YouTube – this is really handy if you’ve got videos that demonstrate your product or service, or that capture you conducting your business in the marketplace. Great for service-based businesses.
- Instagram – like Pinterest, this uses photos and graphics and tends to appeal to a younger audience. It’s an ideal platform for visually-driven businesses, like hair-dressing salons.
- Twitter – this is a good option for boosting brand awareness. The hashtag option means that you can find out what’s trending. It’s also great for promoting events.
- Pinterest – if you’ve got great graphics that illustrate your products, then Pinterest is an ideal way to showcase them. So it’s a good option for retail-based businesses.
Remember that in order to maintain your credibility on social media, blatant use of selling techniques isn’t recommended. The idea is to engage your customers and create interest around your business, without actually pushing your products and services on to people. It’s important to remember that while you’re engaging with your audience, the integrity of your brand will be scrutinised. So stay away from controversial topics like politics or religion, so you avoid a backlash.
Once you’ve decided on the best option for you and your business, focus on ways you can use social media to drive traffic to your website. The two should work in tandem, so that you can more effectively promote new products, specials, competitions and incentives. A ‘share’ button linked to your social media pages, a ‘like’ button on things like blogs, and links from your website to your social media platforms are all good ways to integrate social media with your website.
Remember that social media is what it says – social. It’s an informal way to communicate and engage with your customers, so avoid formality and technical jargon. Find ways to reach people on a personal level, so that they feel a connection with you and your business.
- The growing role of social media in business – SBHub article on the part social media plays in the marketing mix.
- Speak with your local ANZ Small Business Specialist for advice on getting the most out of social media.