A beginners guide to Social Media, part 1

A beginners guide to Social Media, part 1

Social media, what is it? Should your business get involved? If so, what for? These are questions which many small businesses have; we’ve all seen the nightmare stories and heard the dream tales. So, should you be involved and how? At TNC, we focus mostly on this, our blog, Facebook and Twitter for our social media exploits as these suit not only our business, but provide the types of platform which our business thrives on. Below are four of the, in our opinion, best social media platforms currently in the market place. There are many others, and we’ll be covering another three next week.  

Facebook:

Facebook is a great way to promote your business
Facebook provides the biggest platform for social media in the word
There are around two BILLION users on Facebook in early 2017, yes, you read that right. That makes it one of the largest market places you can connect with. Creating a free page for your local business couldn’t be easier now and, with about thirty-minutes work, you’ll be away! The types of business which really benefit from Facebook exposure are the business-to-consumer and business-to-small-business sectors as most users view Facebook as a personal platform. To make the most of Facebook you’ll need to create interesting content, consider competitions and promotions. You’ll also need to create regular, new content and respond to people who interact with that content. That said, it seems that Facebook is increasingly not listing content from businesses on the site who are paying for advertising, so it may be necessary for you to pay for your advertising to make the most of the site. But with the level to which you can focus your adverts and monitor results, these can pay dividends if planned correctly and are not too expensive to try out. Pros: Free to setup Everyone is already on there You can heavily target promotions Promotions are not expensive to run Cons: If you don’t pay, you probably won’t get much attention Everyone is already on there… including your competition You’ll need to post two or three times a week Hot times for Facebook are out of hours, including the weekends  

Twitter:

Twitter is a time consuming but rewarding social media platform
Think you can say everything in 140 characters? Twitter is for you!
The perfect form of social media for the concentrated communicator, each post on Twitter is limited to 140 characters in total (for now)! So, this is ideal for those wishing to fire out bursts of information… but not so great if you’ve got a lot to say. Like Facebook, Twitter is huge with 330 million active users as of quarter 3, 2017. That’s a pretty big market place! Unlike Facebook, Twitter is all about interactions, your success or failure on Twitter will be as much about how you interact with others on the site as it will what you put up there. Keeping an eye on the trending hashtags (think topics of conversation, if hashtag means nothing to you) and interacting with those in a relevant way can be productive. This means that you need to be sending multiple tweets per day, not just once a month! Once you’ve mastered the art of 140 characters, you can promote individual Tweets by sponsoring them with Twitter. The average Twitter user is a younger, tech-savvy person, with 80% of Twitter users accessing the service on their mobile and 62% being below the age of 50. They’re also not doing badly financially, with 52% earning above the $50,000 mark. So, if those sounds like the type of clients you want AND you can keep it short & sweet, Twitter might be for you. Pros: Free account Huge customer base You can target and speak to your clients directly Large business presence Once mastered, it’s pretty quick to do! Cons: Only suitable for small bursts of information Time intensive Best results come when you pay Easy to get drowned out in the noise  

Pinterest:

Pinterest lets users pin images of your products to their boards and share them
Pinterest is a fantastic way to promote your physical products to your clients
Pinterest is an very different from the previous sites, focusing on the sharing and pinning of pins on boards. Think of it very much like a digital scrapbook where you can store and share ideas with other people. Your pins can be images, videos or links, amongst other things. At present, there are over 150 million users on the site, with over 80% of them female and most users below the age of 40. Pinterest is great if you have a very visual product, such as fashion, jewelry, holiday or similar. Users can then pin your images to their own boards and so share your product with their friends and family. As with Twitter, much of your success on the site will come from the time and energy you put into it. You’ll also have to have some really well shot images or videos to go on there too! Pros: Free account Speaking directly to women under 40, if that’s your market Perfect if you have a visually striking product Once setup, it’s not too time intensive Cons: You’ll need to have good quality images Not great of service lead businesses  

Your blog:

Your own blog is a great way to attract new clients
Don’t forget, your blog is social media too
That’s right, your blog counts as social media and, as you can tell, we’re a fan of them! Your blog is one of the single best ways of promoting your business, it gives you a platform to communicate directly with your clients and tell them what you think. You can let them know about what your business is doing, your products, team changes, anything really. However, one of the most unusual things about your blog is you shouldn’t sell directly from it. A successful blog is about informing your clients and establishing your authority in your chosen area of business. This means that your blog should reflect the character of your business and share ideas, not discount codes. You’ll need to pencil time in to create your blogs, including thinking about what you want to write in them. You’ll also need to allow time to respond to any feedback or questions that your readers may have on your piece. Thankfully, for a start out, you can get away with once or twice per week to post new blogs, but as you generate an audience this may need to increase. You’ll also need to be consistent; delivering new pieces as and when you say you will. Blogging can be a highly effective and useful addition to your business, you just need to make sure you do it right! Pros: You have complete control Fantastic way to establish your authority in your business area Can lead to genuine and sustainable business growth Cons: Time intensive Takes time to generate audience   So, there you have it, the first part of our guide to social media! Next week we’ll continue and also, at a later date, come back to cover blogging in more depth. Let us know if we missed any pros or cons for any of the social media platforms we’ve covered so far in the comments below or via our social media on Facebook or Twitter!

One of the founding members of The Ninja Collective, Simon is a current creative partner in the team. Specialising in all things to do with writing, blogging and social media, you'll usually find him behind his keyboard. When away from the screen, favourite distractions include reading, listening to music and walking his two dogs, Pepper and Doerak, in the fresh air.

6 thoughts on “A beginners guide to Social Media, part 1

  1. Good job! I’m always looking for info on how to optimize the use of Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m a pure blogger. Boosting posts has resulted in clicks and likes on the posts, but not followers. Would be great to hear your thoughts on that in a post.

    1. Attracting followers is an art in and of itself! One thing you can do that’s really simple, is ask? At the moment, we’re building our audience organically, but as our body of work grows, you’ll start seeing requests for follow and like within the piece itself and else where. A lot of time, users don’t see the share links and requests at the end. Don’t be afraid to feature it at the top of a piece and have it more prominently. Drop us a message if you’d like more ideas!

  2. As a new blogger of 10 months myself, I appreciate these kinds of posts because they help me figure out what the heck I’m doing. I have facebook and pinterest down, but twitter?? I keep asking myself why I’m wasting my time on it! Maybe I just don’t get it, but it’s my least favorite platform at the moment. Facebook is probably my biggest traffic generator and I agree that the sponsored ads are pretty cheap! Social media is a great way to share blogs for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Not a problem and thanks for your thoughts!

      Twitter can be a complex one, you have to throw a lot of time and thought at it, but to what end? Having a plan of what you’d like to achieve is really important here. I’d recommend making sure that you post links in Twitter using a service like bit.ly, that way you can see if Twitter is aiding your success on the other platforms. Also, turning on the Twitter metrics helps too, it might not directly be giving you results, but it COULD be feeding the others, if you see what I mean?

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