When you hear the term ‘social media’ it’s very normal to feel nervous or uneasy about venturing into this realm with your business, even if you have been a casual user for some time.
What I’m going to do is break down my version of the pro’s and con’s attached to each of the major social media platforms. Don’t think you have to do it all! For starters It’s very unlikely you will want to do everything, some will not suit your business and trust me, you do not have the time.
To the left you can see an approximation of total daily users between the top performing social media networks.
Facebook takes the cake with a whopping 1.3 BILLION daily users, followed closely by Youtube on 1.0 Billion. These are the untapped potential leads that are out there, ready to learn about your business and consume your products or services.
Aside from lead generation the main benefit of creating a solid social media presence is allowing people to interact and get to know your brand. A great strategy used by many is to break down the walls for your customers by giving them a behind the scenes peak into the day-to-day running of your business. For example if you owned a bookstore you might take a short video of a new book delivery being made, shaking hands with the delivery driver and then doing an un-boxing and reveal of the new titles your store has on offer. If video isn’t your thing, a similar outcome could be achieved by taking a series of three photo’s.
Idea’s like the one I just outlined might be great for Facebook or Instagram but you are going to run into trouble on Twitter or Linkedin. So before we go any further lets break down each social media platform. My suggestion is to consider each option, select the one that resonates with you the most and forget all about the others! We’re trying to make this is easy as possible for now, you can always come back again later so don’t worry about missing out!
You are likely already familiar with it, this mammoth platform allows public and private interaction between people to business’s. Setting up a business profile is relatively easy and depending on which profile type you select will allow your to share useful information with those who view your page. For example user reviews (highly regarded) and contact details/location. Setting up a Facebook business account will also lean you towards Facebook marketing in the future which can be a very powerful lead generation tool.
Caters to business’s of every kind without being specifically beneficial.
- Allows content in video, image or text form.
- Positive reviews increase customer trust.
- Offers one-on-one interaction with customers.
- Posts can be scheduled in advance.
- If your business does not perform, negative reviews can become a serious issue.
- Customers may expect quick responses to their privately messaged questions.
Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook out of his dorm room for his fellow students at Harvard. Today, toddlers to grandmothers can be found on Facebook. Strengths: Widely-adopted by large segments of the population. Weaknesses: Will the younger generation stay on Facebook once Grandma has “friended” them?
Instagram is a photo-centric form of social media, allowing users to quickly share images or short videos with one another using their smartphone. Hashtag’s (#) are generally attributed to each image, allowing people to search for it as well as giving you more exposure and it’s actually a bit of an artform (check out Rival Iq’s post article if you would like to learn more). There are workarounds that will allow you to use a desktop or laptop however that is not how it was designed to work and I don’t really recommend it. It is best suited to visual business’s such as restaurants, photographers, travellers, sportspeople, journalists, those in fashion; or larger companies who are consistently performing engaging marketing campaigns.
- Simple to post
- Able to target market
- Allows limited 1-on-1 communication
- Requires high-quality camera
- Can be quite difficult to get started
- Suited to specific business types
You can think of twitter as a short-form public text. It’s largely populated by celebrities, although many clever personalities have emerged through their use of the medium and gained large followings. From a business perspective it is better suited to larger companies who market heavily, however for the small outfit it can be useful for announcing promotional activities, offering coupons/discounts and to give your company a little more personality. I recommend saving your time on this one and perhaps using a professional influencer in the future if you would like to make use of their audience, instead of investing the time needed to create your own.
- Get messages out very quickly.
- If you have a great offer you have a chance to be re-tweeted and reach a lot of eyes.
- Not too time-consuming (but easy to fall down the rabbit hole!).
- Likely an avenue your competitors will not be using.
- The character count for each tweet can be quite limiting.
- Gaining a useful following will take a reasonable time investment.
- Requires solid copy-writing or a witty writing style.
This is most easily thought of as a Facebook purely for business and networking. It isn’t ideal for capturing a new customer base but it can be a useful area in which to learn and discover connections in your local area. It works off linking professionals between each other and allowing intermediary links to suggest beneficial connections.
- Great for networking
- Only requires the time you choose to give it
- Easy to find interesting content
- Will not be a high lead generator
- Is used incorrectly by many
- Not as popular in comparison to other platforms
In a lot of ways Youtube can be thought of as Instagram’s video equivalent. You are going to need a good quality camera or smartphone to record with – poor quality videos are going to hurt you here. It is best suited to short, impact-full videos. How-to’s are a great example of this, for instance if you run a local pool store you may have a series of videos that demonstrate how to correctly maintain your pool area and fault-find minor problems. Keep between 1-3 minutes as studies have shown this is the most effective window for information retention.
- Free platform to host your video content.
- Build trust between customer’s and your business.
- Offer real beneficial content you can utilise anytime in the future.
- Requires a good recording device.
- Will generally take the longest amount of time compared with the other platforms
- You are going to need a spokesperson comfortable on camera
Time to make your selection
Take the time to think about each of the social platforms outlined above and work out which one or ones you think will best suit your business.
I personally recommend starting out with Facebook because, of all the options, Facebook has the most versatility and it really does not hurt any business to have a functioning account on this platform. It’s also a pretty easy one to start with, because you’re probably familiar with it already.
Let’s get started on Facebook! Click here to learn how to set up your Facebook business page and grow your business on Facebook
If one of the other options for your business appeals to you more, click on the links below:
Facebook – Create a page Hit the ‘Create a page’ button in the middle of the screen to get started.
For taking the time to read this, I hope it helps you in growing your business on social media and I wish you all success!
If you’re ready to move on, check out the next topic Website Preparation
And please remember to leave me a comment at the bottom.
I’m Anders Pinkerton, a Brisbane based graphic designer. I hope you enjoy the course and get a lot of useful information out of it. If you need further help with your business, I also offer one on one consultations and training. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org