THE BIG THREE
Having a Facebook page for your business is quintessential. People think liking pages is just a simple click. In reality, that like opens them up to your links, videos and photos. In between their pictures of a friend’s birthday and mom’s new recipe, they will see your post. Even if they do not click on it, subliminally they will have seen it and you will me in their mind next time they think about your industry or product.
The average Facebook user is on Facebook for 20 minutes, and statistically the half life of a post is about 18 hours. This means that 1-2 posts a day is the optimum according to Awareness Hub.
Twitter is all about the little tid bits you want to express to the world. I will admit, I struggle to keep it within 140 characters, but forcing yourself to do so, makes your tweet more direct, as well as concise. Tweets are great as reminders for events, or even a cliffhanger post to make people click on the link to your site. You can tag other users in your posts and often hashtags are used, which are like keywords.
According to Awareness Networks, there are 32 million searches run a month on Twitter, piggybacking this search, a theoretical search can be done to see what other terms come up often and add them to your profile to increase the chance of showing up in the results.
Just about every type of business can benefit from Instagram, but it is tricky. Instagram is more focused on getting business to consumer contact and generating conversation. There are all kinds of photo filters to make the pictures you take look “cool”, but the bottom line is to generate interest in your business, through conversation or future action. Instagram functions similarly to Twitter with tagging others and using hashtags.
Every second, 575 photos are liked and 381 comments are posted according to Awareness Networks. There are almost half a million more users on Instagram than Twitter, but the demographics differ. These photos appeal to a viewer’s emotions and can create a sense of intimacy between potential visitors and the business.
Other Social Media Platforms
Videos add an even more personal aspect because they bring out a face, or voice, from behind the brand. They are easy to embed on your website and share on social media. However, you can’t just throw together a shaky video on your phone or pocket digital camera and expect it to go viral. I am no expert on filming and editing videos, but I am sure we can find someone who understands what you want from a video to work for you. Whether it is a video of all images and music (non copyrighted of course) or just you speaking to the camera about your product/service, it can engage viewers and increase your followers. YouTube will also help you out by recommending your videos after someone watches a related video. When a prospective customer does a search, YouTube is always on the first page, your video can be one of those results.
Retail and service industries would benefit the most from Pinterest. Each user has a Pin Board, think bulletin board, that they pin images to. One can pin an image from any website or even upload your own. The ability to pin ideas and easily come back to them at a later time, negates the issue [at least my issue] of having an inordinate amount of bookmarks in my browser. There are also business accounts now. These business accounts create almost a virtual storefront. Studies have shown that Pinterest is very effective at driving sales. There is also a new tool called Rich Pins, where you can include prices of products or ingredients for recipes.
According to Strategexe, 71% of social media users say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand they are connected with and Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than visitors referred from non-social channels.
LinkedIn is more targeted to interacting with fellow business people, sharing ideas on business and learning from others. This is really the only professional social network in my opinion. You do not post pictures, “like” things, or get requests for random online games; you solely network with other business people to learn and teach and grow. There are groups you can join on specific topics and certain industries to speak with those who are similar to you, or you aspire to know more about. There are thousands of groups with message boards that you can join that can be a match for you. LinkedIn is the most popular social network for sharing business to business (B2B) content as well as researching vendors and solutions according to Scoop-it.
Odds are, you may already be listed on FourSquare (if you have a storefront) by one of your customers. Consumers check in at the business and write reviews, take pictures and leave tips and recommendations. This is a fantastic opportunity to see what your customers think about your business. People connect with businesses through their mobile devices now more than ever. There are also free tools to enhance your business listing by sharing news or highlighting featured items, or rewarding people for stopping in. Mobile users rely on their devices when searching locally, and 90% of mobile searches result in either a purchase or visit according to FourSquare. Imagine you and your friends, or family, are sitting around trying to decide where to go out. You whip out your phone and check out FourSquare. There, you can see what is around you, and what kind of deals the business is offering. When you see a business you like, you can see reviews and recommendations to help you decide.
HootSuite allows a user to compile all social media accounts into one place. This allows you to schedule posts, oversee all comments and posts when they are sent, as well as others’ interactions with you. You can also have multiple members of your business logged in and working on different social media campaigns at the same time, while you over see it all. It also has its own analytics, giving even more insight on how the social media campaign is going. It gives a weekly analytic report of clicks/day, geographical information, top referrers and most popular links. This coupled with WordPress analytics is unbeatable for free analytics. With the free version, you can have 5 profiles (social media accounts). For most of you small business owners, five should be sufficient, but there is always the paid account that has unlimited features (enhanced analytics, archiving and more) and allows up to 50 profiles.
Why Social Media?
Social Media affords the chance to make personal connections with your customers, prospective and current. Most social media posts should be business related, why else would they be following or liking your business, but throwing some personal posts in helps create a connection. Social media, is social, so embrace it and connect emotionally with your customers and create a relationship.
You may be asking what is the value of a fan or follower? These individuals are sources of insight. Their connection with the company increases their loyalty towards the business, as well as an increased chance of advocacy to related causes and events. This will also create a deeper engagement, since they will be interacting through the social media outlets. This is also a visual sign of popularity; ie 10,000 people like Business X. Social Media is booming. Check out all these statistics from Brighter Collective that I could not fit in this post.