We have seen the way businesses promote themselves change drastically over the last 10 years. With the growth of online and digital, new trends are always coming into play and it can be a tough one to keep up with. Businesses no longer rely on word of mouth, face to face and copious amounts of networking.
Some business only use online platforms to attract new business and customers, setting up a website and a domain is now as easy as setting up a Facebook account and online shops can be up and running within the day. We all want to be the top of our game and as visible as possible when it comes to business so how can we achieve this? I am going to run through a few topics with you on how to be more social with your business and to stay in the forever changing loop of trends.
Most of us will have and use Facebook to stay connected with our friends and to just in general have a peak on what our peers are up to. However Facebook comes with huge benefits to businesses, especially local. Don’t worry about being too small of a business as Facebook suits all sizes. You should have a Facebook for your business no matter what you do. Here you can keep customers up to date with what you are up to, new products and any deals you may have running.
The “Facebook Buttons” feature also allows you to put great call to actions on your page such as “Call Now, “Book Now”, or even “Shop Now” where you can integrate your online store and products onto your Facebook page. Its great free marketing, especially if you are sharing strong content, you will see an organic growth. If you are really looking to excel growth using Facebook, you will be interested in using its ad features. You can push out adverts and contents to Facebook users in order to increase your page likes our for brand awareness. The great thing about this feature is that you can tailor your ads too exactly where you want them to be and who you want to see them. You can decide on the age category, the location (great if you are a local business), their likes and dislikes and gender. So you can really get your page in front of the right audience. Remember to stay engaged with your page users and try to respond to questions quickly. This will help your page gather a better rating and will keep users from leaving.
Twitter is a great tool to get yourself out there and show people what you are about. Twitter is essentially a big conversation where you and others can discuss topics, articles and latest trends. It’s one of the best places to show the values and the personal side behind your business, what you stand for and what you are about. Your business can come across more as an individual and engage and empathise with others on topics you believe in and feel passionate towards.
Again, using strong content, you will be more likely to receive Retweets and likes which leads to organic growth and a larger following. Following strong influencers will help you see what’s on trend and what to be discussing. It’s important to keep on top of whatever is also “trending”, using the Hashtag you can be a voice in the conversations and a good post can really boost your presence #itcanbeaseasyasthat. Twitter also offers a great advert feature which is similar to Facebook. It’s good to note that they both offer a PPC service, meaning you only pay for the actual clicks you receive. Twitter can be a place to have more a laidback chat with users and to have some fun.
This is a more professional platform to connect with users and customers. Linkedin is great because they have a huge profile of professionals, all categorised by Job Title, work place and the groups they are part of. Joining groups and posting discussion topics is a great way of engaging and drawing in new users. Linkedin has great features for posting articles and creating groups, as well as educational and mutual interest areas.
Instagram & Snapchat
These are two slightly different platforms that businesses can use. They are both based on images rather than lengthy articles. You can use Instagram to post engaging and interesting photos, displaying your work, office or the more fun side of your business. Instagram is huge and has millions of daily users, if you can figure out what will catch the eye of your target audience, it’s a solid win.
Think about what attracts your attention within your industry and use it. Snapchat is slightly different, you post images and videos to your story and your “friends” can view this and also reply to you. This isn’t one for every business but for some it can really work. For example, it would work great for a bespoke car garage who can display the before and after of the vehicles they have worked on.
It’s important to make sure you have fun and display your business in a likeable way. Of course it means you still have to stay professional, if you are a lawyer, I wouldn’t recommend a picture of you down the local pub every night! But remember social media can be really fun and interesting and it’s important to not be scared and be a bit out there.
Some of the most successful accounts are from companies who really have a laugh with customers and can laugh at themselves too. Tesco’s twitter account is a great example of this and I recommend having a little look into their methods of how they attract attention by using humour to deal with complaints etc. Just relax a bit more, it’s not a constant sales pitch online and users will soon leave if you are plugging your product and service 24/7, they want to see a more down to earth side of the people behind the business in order to build up a level of trust and respect.
Images always work great as well; a post is much more likely to gain traction and attention with a nice image to go along with it, rather than just lengthy text. If you are a business looking to crowdfund or you currently are crowdfunding, social media is very important. Use it to create a build-up and a buzz about what you are doing and why you are different. It’s also free marketing for your campaign of raising finance and will help you reach a lot more people.
Just don’t take it all too seriously, get involved, start a chat and engage with your users and you may be surprised from what could come. Remember there are also many more platforms then mentioned above but I recommend these as a good starting point. If you interested further, consider Google+, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Pinterest and also make sure you are always browsing for new trends and sites. Just by keeping up to date on your current profiles, you will soon hear of anything new people are beginning to use.
By Lee Nicolaou, Digital Marketing Manager, Business Agent