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.
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.
Free to setup
Everyone is already on there
You can heavily target promotions
Promotions are not expensive to run
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
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.
Huge customer base
You can target and speak to your clients directly
Large business presence
Once mastered, it’s pretty quick to do!
Only suitable for small bursts of information
Best results come when you pay
Easy to get drowned out in the noise
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!
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
You’ll need to have good quality images
Not great of service lead businesses
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!
You have complete control
Fantastic way to establish your authority in your business area
Can lead to genuine and sustainable business growth
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.