Social media platforms are online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content sharing and collaboration. As business professionals, using social media for business purposes has many benefits including:
- It’s simple to use and can be up and running in minutes
- Cost effective, allowing you to showcase your product or organisation as a low cost
- A built-in base of members and their networks
- Increases your business’s potential to be seen, discovered, liked and followed.
Using social media for business purposes is not easy. This is understandable considering that most people engage with it mostly to interact with friends and family, not to interact with businesses and organisations.
Dos and Don’ts of social media
If you intend to use social media to promote your business and engage with customers, consider the following tips:
- Be innovative and open to new trends in social media, find out more on how to keep up with social media news and trends.
- Save time and content across different platforms. While you can post the same content on multiple platforms, it’s essential that you customise your content for the different platforms you are using it for. Facebook should not have hashtags, use a few on Twitter and a lot on Instagram.
- Re-purpose your highest performing posts, update the content that worked well and share it again.
- Make it searchable and customise your flow of information?
- Personalise the customer service, and engage in two way conversations with customers.
- Do engage with social media analytic tools to gain meaningful insights about your audience. The Social media analytics guide for beginners provides an insightful introduction.
- Be polite to your audience members, it’s difficult if not impossible to take back what was said online.
- Be slow to respond to your audience
- Ignore your audience, this includes unfavourable responses from your network. Refusing to answer or acknowledge comments and questions is poor customer relations.
- Use every social media platform. There isn’t enough time or money to effectively manage your content on every platform.
- Post controversial content or irrelevant trending hot topics, you will only risk damaging your business’s reputation.
- If you publish the same content on every platform you give your audience no incentive to follow you in multiple places.
- Engagement: The number of interactions people have with your content (likes, comments, shares etc)
- Engagement rate: Percentage of people who saw your social media post and actively engaged with it (clicked the link, expanded the image attached, replied, liked, favorited, shared, Retweeted, etc)
- Handle: Your @username on social media platforms
- Impressions: The number of times your content is displayed
- Influencer: A social media user reaches a significant audience and drives awareness about a trend, topic, company or product. From a marketer’s perspective, the ideal influencer is also a committed brand advocate
- Reach: The number of people that see your content
- Social media analytics: collecting data from social media sites and blogs then evaluating it to make business decisions
- Trending: a trending topic is often something that is hot news/conversation within the general public. Something that everyone is talking about, and everyone is sharing their views on.
2. Research Activity
Research the internet and find an example of social media marketing from a business or organisation that personally inspires you.
The winners and finalists of the New Zealand Social Media Awards are a good place to begin to find local inspiration.
Consider what is it about their approach that appeals to you?
Why does it work for you?
Who do you think would be the target audience for this business or organisation?
3. Marketing trends in social media
Social media marketing trends are constantly evolving and it is important that you adapt your use of social media to reflect this.
Stay current with reading online articles about current social media trends. Think about how these strategies could be applied to your own organisation.
4. Develop goals/social media strategy
It’s essential that you adopt a social media strategy early and set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals for your social media marketing strategy. Posting blindly and expecting to achieve massive amounts of new clients would be unlikely to result in success.
5. Helpful information: optimise your social media profile
Optimise your profile on the platforms that you will use by including the following:
- A real photograph that portrays professionalism
- A clear description of the business
- If your business has a website, connect it to the social media platforms
- Add social media buttons to your website
- Use a link shortener to simplify your URL, such as Google’s URL shortener. To find out more visit The Beginner’s Guide to URL Shorteners.
The following activity requires you to match the target audience with the social media platform logo.