Oh the internet, bursting with ways to socialise and network. There comes a point where you need to go through and work out which online platforms are actually the ones that are best suited to your goals, both socially and professionally.
Professionally, social media is your key to reaching new customers and maintaining relationships with the ones you already have. Your strategies will always have a lot to do with finding the balance between being social and being a business.
Social media walks a fine line between being really useful and totally all-consuming, sucking you into a vortex of time and space until you no longer know how you got there. Let’s try and avoid the latter by working out just what you need to be involving yourself in for what you want to gain.
You might not be surprised by this, but Facebook is the most popular form of social media there is. This is the platform where you can share nearly any form of a post, developing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. It is also a great place to start discussions and encourage engagement from your audience.
As far as social media goes, a Facebook page is the single most important step in your social media marketing plan. You can link nearly all other social platforms back to your Facebook page, making that page the base of all your social media presence.
When it comes to deciding which platforms you need to be on, there’s not really a question about Facebook, put it on your list.
Instagram is undeniably the most visual platform of the bunch. The strategies around Instagram all involve aesthetic consistency and building strong community engagement. Instagram is great for creative businesses or businesses that engage a young and/or creative demographic.
To do well on Instagram your content has to be well planned and visually appealing. To get started you need some basic photography skills. As Instagram is a mobile-based platform, a smartphone is the most common tool for photography. There are some basic rules for photography that can be applied here to create some great visuals to use for your Instagram profile.
To broaden your reach out past family and friends you need to put some research into the popular hashtags for your niche. Hashtags are the keywords of the social media world and enable people to search the different categories they are interested in. The right hashtags will have your content appearing to a global audience, bringing in a huge community of like-minded people who are interested in your work.
Twitter is all about fast interactions. Updates are limited to 140 characters, not words, characters. This means you have to know exactly what you want to say and be able to say it quickly. In turn, people will read your message quickly and instantly be able to decide how they feel about it; whether they want to spread the word, start a discussion or ignore it completely if it has no relevance to them.
Using Twitter can complement your other social media channels as well as your website or blog. A tweet is a great way to get a message out about a sale or exciting update at your business. If you run a blog or need to drive traffic to your website, Twitter adds to your search engine optimisation (SEO) every time someone retweets a post, your search ranking goes up.
There is a bit of debate about whether LinkedIn is considered social media or not. The fact is though, that it functions just like one, except it is predominantly used for business to business (B2B) relationships and professional networking.
Your LinkedIn profile or company page is an online resume. It is where future clients or employers can see your skills and experience. It is also a place for you to show off a little bit, demonstrate your expertise in an area through articles you share or links to projects you’ve been involved in. You can also extend your reputation and networking range by getting involved in discussions. This direct communication with industry professionals can lead to some really productive working relationships. You might find you soon have professional contacts all over the world!
There’s no denying that social media is an essential part of business and marketing. Once you’ve found the channels that suit your business, it’s a good idea to create a strategy (or ask for help) to maintain them. To stay at the forefront of your customers and clients minds you need to posting regularly and with relevant information to your business. Social Media is great for boosting your reputation in the online community and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. As with any online technologies that you use for your business, you need to stay ahead of the game and be active on all your channels to show that you are able to keep up with the fast pace of technology.