How to Use social media for business
Social media sites have become a hugely important part of our day-to-day lives in recent years, and possibly even more so in the coronavirus era in which social distancing is more important than ever.
Our social media accounts provide us with a way to stay in touch with our friends and family without putting us at risk of infection or exacerbating the spread of the disease.
It’s been obvious for a while now that social media sites are a vital part of our 21st-century lifestyle, and social channels show no signs of waning in popularity any time soon.
That means that you can expect them to remain an important part of the puzzle if you plan to grow your business in the months and years to come.
That’s why today, we’re going to help you out by teaching you how to use social media for business, from setting up your first Instagram account to tapping into the power of LinkedIn and influencer marketing.
Why use social media?
Social media has changed the way we connect, communicate, and collaborate with others. As traditional methods of marketing to customers like advertising or direct mail become less effective, businesses are turning to social media to connect in positive ways with consumers and the people who influence them.
The key to social media success is not to get hung up on the tools and technology.
Instead, focus on how you can use them more effectively to:
- increase visibility for your brand and business
- build relationships with customers, influencers, and other businesses
- communicate with people in real-time, including answering queries
- Share links to or publish content that demonstrates your expertise and adds value to your customers’ lives
- generate new leads and boost sales
Understanding social media
Think of social media in 2 parts:
- social media participation
- content creation and distribution
Social media participation
Social media participation is where you deliver value to the online community by:
- sharing other people’s content (user-generated content or UGC) on Facebook or LinkedIn, retweeting them if you’re on Twitter, or programming on Instagram
- answering people’s questions if you’re in a position to help – whether they’re directly related to your business or not
- joining the conversation on a particular topic, such as a group on Twitter talking about an issue in the media, or a LinkedIn Group
- leaving genuinely interesting and relevant comments on selective blogs you read and podcasts you listen to
Content creation and distribution
The second part of social media is the creation and distribution of original content. You want your content to inform, empower, educate, or entertain, and ultimately attract the right people to your brand.
For this to work, you need to have your audience in mind when you publish and promote content. So, make sure you first understand who you’re trying to communicate with and where they hang out online.
How To Identify The Right Platforms For You
Different people use different social media channels for different reasons, and so an important part of learning how to use social media for business is identifying which platforms are right for you and the reasons why your target audience is present on them.
If you get this wrong, you risk wasting all of that hard work by effectively shouting into the void.
Marketing is all about reaching people in the right place with the right message at the right time, and if you get your choice of platform wrong you can end up reaching the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As the world’s foremost business social networking site, LinkedIn is the perfect place for you to get a little more sales while still providing high-quality content.
It’s ideally suited to lead generation techniques such as setting up webinars or offering free downloadable whitepapers and ebooks. Remember too that LinkedIn’s advertising tools allow you to target people based on their job title, seniority, and more.
Pinterest users tend to be made up of a specific demographic, mostly women. It’s particularly popular amongst arts and crafts communities, wedding planners, and fashion, so if your brand falls into any of those categories then marketing to Pinterest users could be a good idea.
Twitter is a little bit like a mix of Facebook and Instagram with LinkedIn thrown in for good measure.
It’s a great place to share and comment on breaking news and it can also be useful for live-tweeting events or providing customer service.
How To Use Social Media For Business
1. Work With Influencers
Influencers exist in every industry, whether you’re a B2C fashion brand or you’re a specialist B2B company making bespoke widgets for farmyard machinery.
The real challenge is figuring out who those influencers are and then establishing relationships with them.
A good place to start is by liking and commenting on their posts so that your name starts to become familiar to them.
2. Develop Affiliate Partners
Affiliate schemes take all sorts of different forms, and so it’s up to you to find something that you can make work for you.
Perhaps you want to turn your audience into a street team to sell your products on your behalf, or perhaps you’ll use referral codes to give your followers a reward if they encourage their own followers to make a purchase. You can also work this the other way around.
3. Run Competitions
Competitions are a surefire way to drum up some engagement on social networks, although be warned that you should wait until your brand is already established before you run one.
That will help to make sure that you have plenty of existing followers to get the ball rolling and spread the word about your competition.
It will also make sure that your brand looks legit and not like some sort of scam.
4. Use Stories
There’s a reason why Facebook and Instagram pinched the idea of self-destructing stories from Snapchat: people use them.
Accordingly, if you’re not posting stories to your Instagram account, you’re essentially ignoring one of the most powerful features that social networks have to offer.
When you create an Instagram post, the content that you share will sit on your profile for people to see forever. It can also come across as spammy if you post too many updates in too short a period of time. For the more latest news visit the site
5. Make Social Media An Essential Part Of Your Business
Finding success on social networks requires so much more than simply running a few marketing campaigns. Used well, social media can become a core part of your overall business, impacting everything from recruitment through to customer service.
In the same way that social networks are becoming more and more integral to our overall lives, the same thing is happening to our professional lives.
Create content with the customer in mind
Your content should be useful, and relevant and add value to people’s lives.
It could be information that:
- answers a question
- satisfies a need they have that’s relevant to your business, or
- provides ‘thought leadership and demonstrates your knowledge and expertise
For example, an accountancy practice might publish a blog post on its top tips for how to approach end-of-financial-year tax issues.
Once you create your content, publish it to one or more platforms and share the links with your followers on social networks.