As a business owner, you know you that social media has to be part of your daily operations. While it can be a time-consuming task, being active on social media can benefit your business.
One benefit of social media is that it increases your visibility. We’ve discussed claiming your business on Google My Business and Yelp, both of which are a type of social media. Creating other social media accounts allows you to expand control of your reputation and have more interaction with consumers. Social media is a way for businesses to appear accessible and personable to its customers, which helps in developing a good business reputation.
Another benefit of social media is that it increases your credibility. Being an active participant on social media shows customers what your business is, your products, process, sales, events, or quirky company traditions. This creates a sense of transparency to anyone looking at your accounts, which can increase trust or loyalty from customers. Your online interactions, particularly when resolving a customer’s problem, also help form potential and current customers’ opinions. Social media accounts help your credibility with web crawlers, as well.
One of the things web crawlers look for are inbound links to your websites from credible sources. Social media sites are seen as an authority websites, meaning links from these sites are viewed as trustworthy links and can improve your SEO ranking. In addition to credible links, social media accounts are used to drive traffic to your website. More traffic to your site can also improves your SEO ranking.
CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Before you rush out to sign up for every social media account, you need to develop your social media strategy. As stated above, social media can be very time consuming. You need to develop content that runs regularly, check each account at least once a day, engage with people, maintain accurate information, and more. You don’t have time to be on every social media site, and, more importantly, you don’t need to be.
The first step to an effective social media strategy is to figure out which social media websites are right for your business.
Facebook and Twitter hold the top two spots for largest audiences on a social media platform. If a potential client is vetting your business, it’s safe to assume they will look for your presence, and interactions, on at least one of these platforms. When you start creating your social media profiles, you should have one on at least of one, if not both, of these sites. Both platforms are good for talking directly to people and handling customer service tasks. Facebook, however, has a strong targeted advertising tool that you can use to promote posts and events on the platform while also integrating with apps and other social media platforms.
Instagram, which can be integrated with other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, is good for developing your brand and increasing brand awareness. If your business deals with retail, food, or crafts/construction, Instagram is a great way to showcase your products through organic and promoted posts. Though it can be easier for audience engagement on Instagram than on other platforms, it is harder to direct users back to your website because you cannot include links in post.
Pinterest is another image-based platform. Like Instagram, it’s a great way to display your products. However, it is better at driving sales since most visitors are in shopping mindset. This allows you to include product-specific links on individual posts. Plus, content is less likely to buried in a chronological feed and is easily found long after initially posted. One “negative” is that you will need high-quality images or graphics, which can be time-consuming to create.
Some brands have successfully used Snapchat, but it’s often difficult. The focus of Snapchat is not to drive traffic or sales, but on showing the personality of your business. In other words, your content needs to be entertaining and not feel forced. Snapchat posts have a short lifespan, so all your work on a post will disappear after a day. While it can be a great way to show transparency or authenticity, the Snapchat demographic is mostly teenagers and preteens, limiting the amount of businesses who would benefit from this platform.
As connection and download speeds improve, video has become more popular on social media. Videos draw people’s attention better than other post types. However, it is time- and resource-consuming to make videos, and often videos longer than two minutes won’t be watched. That said, if you’re going to use videos, Youtube is an easy and free option to host them. Youtube is the second largest search engine and integrates well with other Google applications and social media sites, and the videos are easy to embedded on your website. While you should aim for shorter videos to share on other platforms, longer videos will work well on Youtube as people are more willing to spend time on the content.
Finally, if you want to connect with other professionals or recruit new employees, you should create a LinkedIn account. Having an account on LinkedIn allows you and your employees to show thought leadership by writing thoughtful posts about your industry and establishing your brand with the content you post. Unlike other social media platforms, you should keep your tone professional as you are presenting yourself to potential business partners or employees. In addition, LinkedIn is primarily used by people searching for jobs. Audience interaction will be fairly low or passive unless the content is about an employment opportunity or the company.
- Social media accounts help improve your SEO by providing authority links to your website and driving traffic to your website.
- Social media allows you some control over your business’s reputation through your public interactions with page visitors and the content you post.
- You don’t need to be on every social media platforms. Do some research and figure out which platforms will best fit your business.
- You should be on Facebook and Twitter. These platforms have large audiences, advertising tools, are good mediums for handling customer service tasks, and can be used to drive traffic (business)to your website.
- Instagram is an easy way to showcase your work and grow your brand and integrates with other social media platforms. However, it is difficult to push traffic through to your website as links are only allowed in the profile biography or on promoted (paid for) posts.
- Pinterest is similar to Instagram. However, it is better for driving sales as most visitors are in a shopping mood. Plus, you can enhance your content by including tips or instructional graphics. Pinterest does have a small audience, so don’t expect a rush of traffic or a huge jump in sales if you use this platform.
- Snapchat can be a fun way to reach your audience. However, it has a limited audience base of preteens and teenagers, and any content you post is lost after 24 hours.
- Youtube provides a free place to host videos and allows you to integrate them with other Google platforms, social media websites, and your own website. Videos help drive traffic to your website; can be used to inform, instruct, or entertain viewers; and help create your business’s reputation and brand.
- LinkedIn is a way to connect with others in your industry and attract employees. It is another platform that allows you to develop your brand, as well as showcase your thought leadership, or insight, into your industry. However, audience size is low and most interactions are from individuals looking for jobs.
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