Making the most of social media within your business
Since the emergence of the internet, we have seen a global paradigm shift. Millions have marched into an online world, reshaping the more traditional forms of media. With this shift, we have seen the likes of business, advertising, shopping and even dating moving with the market into the digital age.
As well as the internet, we have also witnessed the rise of Social Media, which has forever changed the way society communicates. The number of social network users is estimated at 1.73 billion and is expected to increase. Social media differentiates between classic forms of media due to its accessibility, immediacy and its ability to reach and connect with a global audience.
It’s currently under debate in the SEO world as to whether or not social signals have an impact on your rankings. In fact at a recent Brighton SEO conference, Ex Google employees stated that Google doesn’t take social signals into account. You’ve got to admit though, visible interest in your product or service is always an asset not to be overlooked. Picture this, a great plumber with 3 likes, or an equally great plumber with 3,000 likes, which one would you choose?
With this is mind, it’s smart for businesses to move with the times and incorporate social media into their online experience. So the question is, how do you use social media to your advantage?
Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has seen a rapid growth of users and has become the most popular social media site. It currently has 1.15 billion users with 699 million of them being active each day. Facebook allows for maximum exposure to a huge audience, creating brand awareness and more importantly, drives traffic to your website!
Creating a business profile is the greatest way to reap these benefits. You can visit https://www.facebook.com/business/build to find some simple instructions and tips for setting up your company page. When you’ve chosen a purposeful URL to reflect your brand, updated your profile picture to a Logo associated with your company and provided a background cover which also has this association it is time to begin.
Factory Direct flooring are a client that have been with us for over two years, they are used below to demonstrate an effective social media campaign.
The best way for raising brand awareness and exposure is through Likes and Shares;
Likes act as vote or a recommendation
Shares place your page onto other peoples facebooks extending visibility of your company.
To get you started, you can encourage existing family and friends to like your page. Once they have done this, your posts will then feature in their news feed where other potential customers can see. They are then free to like and share as they please. Facebook is very much like word of mouth, you will benefit from it if you try to get out there and spread the word as much as you can! Encourage your existing fans to share your page – business permitting, you can provide incentives such as competitions and prizes.
You want to provide your audience with something that is worth sharing. We’ve all heard the saying ‘Content is king’ and this really is the case. Having fresh content for potential and existing customers to engage with is really important. No one likes a dormant profile. It is most effective to have between 1-5 posts a day. Try to plan them, post them at different intervals to avoid over posting! Inform users of existing and exciting new products you have, along with sales and special offers. Facebook also lets you post pictures and videos allowing your audience to preview your products and services without having to move an inch, be sure to take full advantage of these features.
Another way to encourage likes and shares is to promote any competitions or promotions you have going on. This generally creates a lot of buzz around your page, increasing engagement. There are some rules on what you can promote, so make sure you read up on this before starting- to avoid any penalties to your page.
Your Facebook page gives your customers a forum to get involved and a chance for you to encourage them to share their opinions by asking simple questions. Depending on your business you can tailor your questions to the industry For example if a company is selling ladies heels, they could post a picture and ask their audience ‘What do you think of these beauties?’ It is up to you what tone you use to engage with your fans, you can be relaxed and jokey (for a good example of this see Marmites Facebook Page or you can be formal – again this really depends on the business itself.
Recap & Tips
You need to be committed to social media long term, you aren’t going to see results overnight, but if you really build on it, you will reap the rewards.
Engage with your customers daily, update your page regularly, change profile pictures and cover photos every couple of months.
Try to respond to all questions and engage with users
Link your business page with your personal page if you have one, this is a sure fire way to get likes from existing friends, family and customers.
Similarly to Facebook,Twitter has grown a huge fan base over a short period of time , it currently has 500 million users of which 200 million are active each day.
Twitter is a great tool for driving traffic to your website and/or blog. It is a lot like facebook in the fact that you can create a profile for your business, along with profile pictures, a cover photo, update your status using up to 140 characters and post pictures and videos.
Step one is all about presenting your brand. For your username you should choose between your own name or your company name. This is going to be shown next to all of your tweets, so it is useful for getting your brand name noticed.
When creating your profile it is a good idea to keep the theme similar to that of other existing Social media, helping customers to make the link between the two and build trust.
It is important to build a strong profile foundation, so make sure you complete each step providing as much information as possible. Once you have finished creating your profile, including a profile picture, header and cover photo, it is time to start following people. You want to build this up slowly as twitter does have rules about aggressive following. You could start by following existing customers, people within your workplace, business partners, other companies you find interesting and competitors. You can search for people you know by using the find friends tool.
Twitter also provides you with a who to follow feed, this suggests people, brands and companies to you based on those that you are currently following. At the top of the page there is also a #discover option. This provides you with popular tweets which are tailored for you. There are lots of ways to find who you should be following.
Getting followers is important, in a way they are a lot like Facebook likes. The more followers someone has the more appealing they are. You are inclined to try their products and services. To get followers you need to start talking. Make sure you are active on your profile every day, engage with the people you are following, get involved in the conversation and express your opinions. Use hash tags within your tweets as these create tags that are then searchable and viewable by others.
Twitter is great for driving traffic to your website. You can provide links in your tweets that followers can click, it’ll take them wherever you want them to go – maybe to see a new product or a blog post! You only get 140 characters to get your followers interested, so make sure you use them wisely.
Write something that’s enticing! Getting retweets is another great way to create interest and spread brand awareness. When another retweets your post, it shows up on their profile and is accessible to all of their followers too, so give them something to retweet about.
Remember to link all of your online profiles together, this promotes the same brand message across the different platforms. It also saves time, if you post a tweet on Twitter it can appear on your Facebook profile page if you choose so.
Recap & Tips
Twitter requires commitment.
User name is important to promote your brand.
Complete your profile for a strong foundation.
Follow, follow, follow.
Get involved in conversations.
Make your status’ engaging.
Link with other social media sites and your website.
Promote your company!
The next Social Media site we feel is increasingly important for businesses to take a proactive approach in is Google+.
Google + is a social networking service owned and operated by Google Inc, it has approximately 359 million active users. This social network is one of the most important for businesses to take part in. Although it is quite similar to the other two networks discussed above, this one can improve your ranking performance on search engines.
Google+ content is treated like a normal webpage, it is able to be crawled and cached, meaning your content will be searchable. Instead of a like, Google + has a +1 button, these plus ones give authority to your content. Say for example you post an article that readers find really interesting, if it receives enough +1’s this could potentially improve your authority and search performance. It is thought that it can also improve your SEO, this is not as simple as getting followers or likes, but rather how you engage with your content and interact with others of high authority.Google + can pass authority to pages that you link to within your posts. This could be your own website, increasing the relevancy of your website content in Googles eyes and can support your search ranking. So you can see why this is one of the more important Social Mediums to take part in
The lay out of Google + is a lot like Facebook. You have a profile, where you make posts, a display picture and cover photo. There is also a navigation bar along the top of the profile which takes you to ‘About’, ‘Posts’ Photos’ and ‘Videos. As we learnt from Facebook and Twitter, it is really important to make full use of all of the given assets. Make sure your theme is similar, so it is identifiable, use your company logo and brand name. In your About us section, you are able to tell your story, supply links (these could be to your website and other social networking sites) and provide your full contact details, be sure to complete all of these.
On this network you can create ‘circles.’ By following or linking to other users you are able to see their profiles and all of the updates they make. Just like Twitter, you can follow those who are important to your business, e.g. Customers, business partners and those within the workplace. Circles make it easier to share and connect with the right people. Remember to update your profile daily with fresh content, make it interesting so that others want to share it between them, this then gives you the ability to broaden your circles and achieve a higher number of followers. Ensure that you are proactive with your account, sharing pictures and videos and really get to grips on interacting with your audience. Put yourself out there and try to extend your network as much as you can!
Even though it is still under debate as to whether certain social signals can help with your website rankings in general, they can definitely help to generate traffic to your website. Social media is free and can provide many advantages to your business. We urge you to get involved and stay committed long term to see the beneficial results. Link your Social profiles together to create a strong Social network and make sure they are linked to your website. Encourage involvement and interaction with your business and provide your fans with fresh enjoyable content.