Social media is one of those things where you're told "you need to do it". And to their credit, most people do use it for their business. But what some people struggle with is how to differentiate work and home life.
Let's start at the beginning...
Benefits of Social Media for Business
Social media is a great way to share content. There are billions of users on the various networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and others. With that potential, it's clear why businesses want to use Social Media.
Increase website traffic If people are finding and seeing you on social media and they're genuinely interested, chances are they'll visit your website too. If your site is all well tuned and running well, these can lead to actual sales.
With 3.196 billion (yes, that's 3,196,000,000!) active social media users, that's a massive opportunity. Realistically, you'll only be targeting a tiny percentage of that, but it's just shows how well used social media is used.
Promote content Content is a big one for many organisations. It proves your expertise and your knowledge in your field. Social media, tied with the right followers and hashtags, can help increase the reach of your content. This ties in nicely with the top point - more interest, more readers, drives more traffic to your website.
Connect with customers Whether it's providing customer support or just connecting with your customers on a more personal level, it's a convenient way to stay in touch with your audience.
Give your brand a voice A shop is one thing, a website is another. But even in this day and age some people struggle to see the human side of a business. Social media allows you to give your brand a voice - write in a tone that suits your business.
You know you want to be on social media, so now what? There are a few things to consider:
Only sign up to relevant social networks - you don't have to be active on all of them. By all means, register them - it helps secure your name, but if you do this, make sure you point your visitors to the networks you are active on.
Make sure you have a relevant profile picture (such as a logo). It should be something your followers can identify you by.
Upload a relevant cover photo. For example, a nice photo of a sunny beach may seem a good idea, but does it tell your followers what your furniture shop actually sells?
Stay active. It can be tricky (and there are tools to help - I've included some links below), but posting regularly can help show you're active and you're still here.
Understand the purpose of the network. Facebook has a different way of working and target audience compared to LinkedIn for example.
Remember to secure your username. Twitter does this automatically, but sites like Facebook may have given you a longer name. Securing your username allows you to advertise it easier (a number and text, compared to just text, for example).
Tools to help manage social media
It can be a challenge managing your profiles. The good news is, there are tools which can help you stay on top of things.
Hootsuite is one of the better known platforms. It does start at free for up to 3 profiles. You can manage your posts, mentions, and even follow your favourite hashtags with ease. Plus, as they also have a mobile app you can manage your social media on the go.
Update August 2020: Unfortunately SumAll is no longer operating. But we've included an alternative at the end of this post.
Pre-write your tweets, schedule your Facebook posts, SumAll can help with scheduling your content ahead of time.
This is also a great way to track your followers and likes over a period. With automated emails, you can stay on top of key stats with ease.
Get started for free
Find relevant topics and new content to share with Crowdfire. Curate content from a variety of sources to help increase the variety on the social platforms.
Sharing your own content is a great way to engage with your audience, but if it's all your own it can start to feel like selling. So sharing content from elsewhere can help.
Updated Suggestions - August 2020
Brand Mentions is a neat little tool allowing you to monitor exactly what it says on the tin - mentions of your brand.
It scouts through the web 'listening' for any mentions of your brand name (or even a competitor!) and alerts you to these. This is a great way to stay on top of random mentions on social media, but also from news outlets and review websites too.
It comes with a free trial allowing you to give it a test drive before committing to a subscription, so it's worth checking out to see how it can benefit your brand.
Tying it up
This barely touches the surface of social media for business. From influencers to social media policies, from disaster management to monitoring your content - there can be a lot of things to consider and plan.