Social media has revolutionised the way we live our lives – how we communicate, share information, and connect (and reconnect) with others. It has also dramatically changed how we do business – and, as a business, failure to have a strong social media presence can have devastating effects on your ability to compete with the myriad of others online.
An essential component of using social media for business is getting your approach right. The way you use social media personally will differ greatly from how you should be using it for business purposes. Not only do you need to select the appropriate platforms to suit and complement your brand and your customers; you also need to understand the do’s and don’ts of social media to avoid making what can be catastrophic errors.
Why Use Social Media For Business?
Since its launch in 2004, Facebook (as one example) has completely changed how we connect with others, alongside Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and, for B2B, LinkedIn. Never has engagement between businesses and consumers been as crucial as it is in 2021, and this trend will grow and evolve. Social media offers unparalleled opportunities for businesses to connect and build stronger, more rewarding relationships with their customers and prospects.
Social media is a powerful channel for:
- Developing your brand
- Generating leads
- Creating engagement
- Building trust, authority, and authenticity
- Increasing your market reach
- Sharing valuable, compelling content
- Facilitating two-way conversations
- Building communities
- Directing clicks to your website
- Encouraging conversions and increasing revenue
- Getting feedback
- Conducting market research
- Exchanging ideas
- Supporting your SEO efforts
- Underpinning paid ads
- Keeping up with (and keeping an eye on) your competitors
Whether you are a sole trader or an international powerhouse; a fashion retailer or a medical specialist; a tradesman or a restaurant or a government agency: modern consumers expect the businesses they patronise and support to have a powerful, well-designed, seamlessly functional website as well as a strong, dynamic social media presence.
Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
Social media for business can be a fine balance between getting it perfectly right and woefully wrong. Everyone on social media has an opinion, and many people hide behind the anonymity of social media to express themselves in a way they never would dare to face-to-face in the real world. A small misstep on a social post can pack a much bigger punch to your reputation than it probably should.
Follow these basic guidelines to ensure you get it right as much as possible…and thrive through your social media presence.
- Choose Your Platform – do a little research to understand which social platforms best suit your business and your audience, and focus on no more than three. If your target audience is older or more conservative, Facebook may be your best approach. If you have a website with lots of visual content, Instagram could be your best option. B2B companies perform best on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and a millennial or adolescent target demographic are more likely to use Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. If you’re unsure, Facebook is a great, all-rounder place to start.
- Create a Robust Social Profile – complete all of your profile information, including a physical address, website URL, and contact phone number – this lends you credibility and helps with local SEO.
- Remember Quality trumps Quantity – try to not overdo it with content and post frequency. Your posts should be regular and consistent (one per day is ideal for SEO results) and the content of each must offer value to your audience. It’s also important that no more than 20% of posts are hard-selling. Instead, share captivating content such as links to your blog, news snippets, amusing and informative posts, and shareable, fun or emotive content. Too many posts are reminiscent of spam and will get you unfollowed.
- Engage With Your Audience – social media is about conversation more than broadcasting. Creating a relationship with your audience requires you to actively engage with them, and the reward for this is fostering new leads and retaining existing customers.
- Be Visual – most people are visual learners and visual information is fast, concise, and suits the limited attention span most internet users have. Create stimulating posts with images, videos, animations, and infographics. Furthermore, these are more shareable for a wider reach.
- Take a Stand – while being inappropriately opinionated is a no-no (see below), taking a stand to show your values for certain social issues can be a favourable thing to do for your brand. Consumers seek to support brands they identify with and staying silent on certain issues can be detrimental. It doesn’t mean jumping on every bandwagon, but considered participation in certain conversations that are in some way relevant to your brand is a good idea.
- Organise your Content by Campaign – this will help you analyse and understand how each of your campaigns performs – whether it is event promotion, customer service, a new product line, etc. Keep an eye on which posts elicit the greatest number of likes, shares, and positive comments.
- Prioritise Customer Service – more consumers are expecting customer service to be conducted via social channels. Offering exceptional customer care through Facebook Messenger or other social direct messaging routes is an investment in your brand and will further strengthen your customer relationships.
- Forget to Proofread – quality content is critical – and this means proofreading to ensure spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and message are all up to scratch before you hit the button to post. If you’re unsure, or this is not your forte, it may be worth it to outsource content creation or editing.
- Ignore TikTok – many brands currently struggle with the concept of TikTok, which is widely favoured by a younger audience, however, there is no better way to “go viral”. TikTok is an emerging platform and even if your audience is not yet using TikTok, they soon will be.
- Be Overly Opinionated or Controversial – unless your unique brand is based on controversy, avoid sharing overly opinionated content or commentary on your part. Never post anything that could be construed as offensive. Many people out there seem to be looking for reasons to be offended in the digital social space, and it’s simply not worth alienating customers or prospects.
- Ignore Negative Comments – a genuine, authentic online presence is the key to building trust as a business or brand. It may be tempting to ignore or delete negative feedback – but this is a mistake. These are the people you should engage with, in a calm, professional way. Remember, “the customer is always right” – even when they are not. Being heard and acknowledged is what most negative commenters seek and by demonstrating this openly (but inviting them to continue the conversation privately), you can boost your standing in the eyes of your overall audience.
These are just a few of many things to do and things to avoid when using social media for business.
Get Social Media Savvy with Sparx!
Sparx Digital is a boutique digital agency offering a variety of services to businesses all over Australia. One of these is Facebook Ads – we can help get you seen online through high-quality social media advertising that’s on-brand and helps you stand out for all the right reasons!
Work with us! We can help guide you through the do’s and don’ts of social media – and so much more! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us today on 1300 477 279 – we look forward to hearing from you and showing you what we can do to help you improve your business game online.