Introduction to social media.
In today’s day and age social media forms an essential part of day to day living; fewer people are relying on traditional communicative methods. Whilst use of social media varies from person to person, few businesses can afford to ignore the seemingly unstoppable force that is social media. In this guide we look at the main platforms and who they may be suitable for.
A businesses base on Facebook is its ‘Facebook page’; this is very similar to a personal profile with the exception of ‘Likers’ as opposed to friends. A company can upload pictures, update statuses and reply to comments from potential customers. Additionally a page offers the ability of adding ‘App’ tabs which can do anything from displaying the week’s most interactive ‘Liker’ to hiding a discount code until the person likes the page. The user engagement that such apps provide is unique; a particularly successful example of which is that of the Tesco Delivery Dash game, which gained not only likes to play the game, but access to a staggering amount of customer marketing data.
Whilst Facebook is an extremely flexible platform with the biggest potential audience (it has a staggering 1.19 active monthly users [Techradar 2013]), it is important to denote that Facebook are all too good at building their paid advertising customers. In recent years businesses have seen their Facebook page status updates go from reaching all their ‘likers’ to only showing up in a fraction of feeds. For all the excellent advice in the world, this situation is unavoidable; that said however, the offerings of Facebook’s advertising are not to be overlooked. A business is able to target their potential customers in the most specific way possible. They can select country, gender, age, interests and history (such as ‘attended university’); few businesses that undertake a trial on a limited advertising budget are disappointed in the results.
Twitter and the power of a tweet
Did you know that 21% of users have purchased directly over Twitter? Or that 42% have used Twitter to learn about a product or service? (Edison Research 2010). Figures such as these have seen Twitter referred to as the prime marketing social media channel.
You can use Twitter in the exact same way as a person would. Your ‘page’ is simply an account that holds your businesses name. You can build your audience by:
Tweeting ‘share friendly’ tweets (think about what your audience are interested in).
Follow those who follow your competitors; Twitter uses have a tendency to follow back.
Run a competition where users must re-tweet your message.
What’s more, Twitter is still relatively unspoiled by the corporation’s interest in their profit margins; your tweets will, for now, reach all of your followers.
LinkedIn helps you flex your industry expert muscles
LinkedIn is, in many ways, similar to Facebook. You’ll have a profile and be able to add people to your contact list. However LinkedIn, for business to business companies, is a platform like no other. Whilst many businesses seemingly see it as nothing more than a mass messaging service, those that use it in the right way can firmly establish themselves as experts within their industry.
This is done through the LinkedIn version of a Facebook page, known as a LinkedIn Group. Users join your group and here you are free to engage them with interesting posts, discussions or direct message interaction. The community feel of a group is excellent for a soft sell approach. You gain business through posting links to your blog that demonstrate your expert (and essential) knowledge.
The key to taking advantage of social media, whichever network it may be, is to know the network inside out. By using features appropriately companies can grow their audience and build business at a rate that is unheard of using traditional advertising methods.
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