Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay.
Facebook usage may diminish. Twitter may evolve. A new social media platform may come along. But regardless of changes within the landscape of social media, social media is as big a part of our lives as the internet itself.
It’s like the invention of electricity and then the invention of the telephone. Electricity (the internet) paved the way for the telephone (social media) and at some point I’m sure some people considered the value and importance of telephones, especially for their business. But telephones evolved, became more integrated into our lives and now it’s hard to imagine not having a phone.
And because social media is never going away — and because it’s one of the primary channels of communication in our society — if you’re not using social media for your business (or as much as you should use it) then you’re missing out on key opportunities to attract and retain customers.
In this blog post we’ll cover reasons for using social media, tips and the differences between each social media platform.
Table of Contents
Five Main Reasons to Use Social Media for Business
We’re all humans (unless you subscribe to the theory that some of us are, indeed, aliens from another planet). However, do people see your business as human? If not, they should.
Quite simply, people are more likely to buy what you’re selling when they know there is a person (or people) genuinely trying to make their life better. It’s why you see lawyers on billboards, car dealers on TV, and other people who put their face on their products.
You don’t have to put your face on your product (I advise against it). But you do need to show there are real people in your business who truly care.
Show there are real people in your business who truly care.
With photos, videos, and other content you can post, there is no better place to show the human side of your business than through social media.
2. Lead Generation
This is kind of a ‘no-brainer,’ but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the social aspect of social media, focusing on your brand but not the outcome of your efforts. The outcome of your efforts in business is to generate revenue (or donations if you’re a non-profit), right?
If you said “yes,” then social media is the perfect place for you.
Optimize your social media pages to generate leads.
Social media generates leads by enabling conversations and engagement with people who are looking to buy what you’re selling. And most social media platforms make it pretty easy to link to a form on your website — or wherever you choose to capture leads.
3. Reputation Management
Reputation management is a buzz word you’ve probably heard. But many people incorrectly think about reputation management.
Many people think reputation management is strictly a passive activity, responding to situations when they occur, in order to protect their online reputation. And that’s true to a certain extent. You certainly need to respond to negative comments and other situations online when your reputation is at stake.
However, reputation management is actually something you should do proactively, before situations that affect your online reputation occur. The goal is to strengthen your good reputation and preemptively respond to situations you think may affect you negatively in the future.
Use social media to protect your reputation.
Examples of reputation management include:
• Posting positive reviews;
• Creating brand advocates;
• Responding to social change that permeates the business world;
• Proactively posting your policies should — let’s say a pandemic occurs.
“Carpe reputation,” as the Romans (maybe) once said.
4. Paid Advertising
Just like with Google Ads and other online platforms, social media is an incredible place to advertise. Not only can you show your ads to people who are actively seeking to buy what you’re selling, but you can track every bit of your success. So there’s no guessing how well an ad performed or how many sales you made as a result of your advertising efforts.
Social media is an incredible place to advertise.
Everything is tracked. You know your Return on Investment (ROI) and/or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by simply looking at the dashboard that is available to you on the platform you advertised.
Every brand has a story, whether you realize it or not.
For example, if you’re a tax software company your brand story might be that you started the software company to help people minimize mistakes on their taxes, get larger refunds and take less time doing their taxes. Now thousands of people have avoided audits, collectively gotten over a million dollars in tax refunds and have more time to spend doing what they love (which is not taxes).
And then with social media you can help tell that story by posting testimonials, pictures of people with their refund checks and videos of happy customers playing outside with their kids during tax season.
Social media is the best place to tell your brand story.
The sky’s the limit when telling your brand story. Social media is here to help you soar.
Before You Get Started (Or Go Further)
1. Establish your brand story.
This is the foundation for every interaction and activity on social media. There is no other place in the world where your brand is going to be more exposed than on social media.
Before your first (or next post) you should know the below elements of your brand. These elements work together to tell a story of who you are and why you exist — which inevitably will lead to people wanting to work with you or purchase what you’re selling.
(Need help with creating your brand story? We’re here to help!)
How do you behave and interact with customers on social media? Do you post funny memes and use humor to tell your brand story? Or are you mostly serious?
Just like your own personality, your business — your brand — should also have a personality.
Do you have a logo? Do you have a color scheme? What other elements of brand recognition do you have?
You should know your brand identity so that when you post an image or create a piece of content that you share with your social media followers you’re using the correct logo, colors, etc. that help identify your brand.
Repeated impressions of your brand identity over time lead to brand recognition and more credibility.
What are three to five words that guide your brand.
If you have core values these could be some of the same values that are in your core values. However, they should be words that you value and have an impact on your interactions with customers.
For example, one of your brand values might be “service.”
Behind the word “service” are actions that you live by to show how important the word “service” is to your brand. One of these actions might be to never let customers wait more than one hour to get a response when they ask a question online.
That’s just an example, but you can see how values — words that drive action — can impact and make your presence on social media even more successful!
Pretty straightforward, but this aspect of your brand is knowing why you exist as a business. What is the purpose of your business.
A great exercise is to ask your employees what they say when someone asks, “What does your company do?”. Chances are you’ll get many different answers on how employees describe your business.
However, when it comes to social media you want to make sure you have a unified voice that talks about the purpose of your business in the same way another employee might talk about its purpose while on the phone with a customer.
After all, one of the hallmarks of building a brand is consistency — and you want to make sure people are consistent in how they describe your business.
2. Put a strategy in place.
It’s fairly easy to create a social media business page. However, the mistake many (most?) businesses make is starting on social media, such as Facebook, without having a plan.
Maybe they post three or four times one week and they don’t post for another two weeks.
And then, when they do post, they post content that isn’t relevant to their customers or isn’t the type of content that will help achieve their goals.
Speaking of goals, do you know what you want to accomplish with social media? Do you know, specifically, what metrics you can track to make sure you’re meeting your goals?
These are all questions that should be answered before spending too much time trying to generate success on social media. The more time you spend now, envisioning and documenting how you’re going to use social media to achieve your goals the less time you’ll spend in the future trying to determine what content to post, among other decisions.
3. Determine management needs.
Social media takes time. It’s not as simple as posting or sharing posts. You need to make sure you have content, you’re responding to people who comment and you’re keeping your page updated with the latest info about your business.
Additionally, brands who are social media savvy are also ‘social listening’ (i.e. following other pages and taking part in online conversations that affect their respective brand.)
Needless to say, all of these activities take time, especially if you’re using multiple social media platforms (content needs to be customized for each platform). Make sure you have someone (or multiple people) to make it happen.
Hint: Social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social, make it easier to manage all of your social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) in one place. Each tool has features that are better than others, so explore each social media management tool and find one that is right for you.
What Social Media Platform to Use For Your Business
What social media platform should you use for your business?
The easy answer is: whatever platform your customers and potential customers are using.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Now-a-days, depending on the demographics of your ideal customers, your customers are probably using multiple social media platforms.
Below is a list of some current social media platforms and tips for using them.
(Note: New platforms are continuing to pop up and there are certainly platforms not listed below that you can use for your marketing strategies. However, the ones listed in this blog post are the ones we recommend the most to clients.
Have questions or need help with putting together a social media strategy? We’re here to help!)
Despite a decline in usage by adults 18-45, Facebook is still among the most widely used social media platforms in the United States. And that’s not changing any time soon.
- Telling your 360° brand story.
- Being able to use all types of content (videos, images, long posts, presentations, & more).
- Customer support & engagement.
- Paid advertising.
- Post a mix of content types (videos, images, etc.) on a consistent basis in order to keep your followers engaged.
- Always host videos on Facebook, instead of linking to them on YouTube (i.e. upload the same video to both places — Facebook and YouTube are two different platforms with different audiences, so treat them as such.)
- Post at least three times a week, but ideally post once a day — BUT try to avoid multiple posts in the same day.
- Reserve a budget, even if it’s a small budget, for “boosting” an occasional post. Unfortunately, organic results have diminished greatly in recent years and Facebook rewards people who spend $10 every now and then to boost their posts. (i.e. You’ll grow your page following and post engagements quicker.)
This is the social media platform that proves a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Using images and short videos (less than 30 seconds) to showcase your brand, products and services.
- Using hashtags — hashtags are extremely important in Instagram (unlike hashtags on some other social media platforms, such as Facebook).
- Keep videos to less than 30 seconds.
- Don’t be afraid to use too many hashtags. Unlike other social media platforms where hashtags don’t do much to further your marketing efforts, hashtags play an important role in Instagram, allowing people to discover your business through Instagram’s suggested photos and videos, as well as search filters. (Note: make sure you add some space between the text of your posts and the hashtags, since hashtags can be distracting and they don’t need to be visible.
- Allow your posts to be auto-posted to Facebook. Facebook will reward your post with a higher score in its algorithm. Instagram is owned by Facebook and both platforms make it easy to sync with each other. (Note: Make sure to edit your post, however, on Facebook once it’s posted so that any other pages or people you tagged on Instagram are also tagged on Facebook — in general, make sure the post looks good on Facebook.)
- Use Instagram stories — and don’t be afraid to post multiple stories in one day, since they disappear after 24 hours. Yes, they disappear after 24 hours. Instagram stories often get more views than posts (which live on your profile forever) since they are timely, more relaxed, and appear at the top of your feed. They are great for showing off your brand personality, so have fun with them, if that’s your style!
After a couple years of decline, Twitter use has increased in recent years. The theory is that people aren’t able to focus on long-form content as much as they used to, as our brains are being trained to take in smaller bites of content on a more routine basis.
- Short, timely posts that provide quick updates on your business.
- Commenting on and sharing industry posts that are relevant to your business.
- Following breaking news that might affect your business.
- Post often. There’s no such thing as posting too often on Twitter. Because of the way Twitter is set up, people aren’t going to see every post of yours. So the more you post the more potential customers you’ll catch.
- Use hashtags. Maybe not as many hashtags as you use on Instagram, since Twitter has a strict character limit, but hashtags will help you show up in the feeds of potential customers who might be following or searching for content related to your hashtag. Besides Instagram, Twitter is the other social media platform where hashtags are important.
- Don’t worry about the perfect post. Twitter is all about posting quickly and reacting to what other people are saying. Make sure you’re following your brand guidelines and social media policy, but the quicker you can respond to what’s trending or share news as it’s happening (e.g. communicating an issue with your company’s login, affecting customers), the better.
- Pay attention to what’s trending. Twitter allows you to see what hashtags and subjects are trending. If you see a hashtag or subject that’s trending and it’s appropriate for your business to take part in the conversation then you could get a whole lot of people viewing your post (and subsequently following you.)
LinkedIn is the social media platform for business professionals. And the number of people using it has grown each year since 2010. As of 2021, there are over 180 million people using LinkedIn in the United States (Facebook has over 300 million users in the U.S. as of 2021).
- Networking (if you’re a B2B company).
- Sharing white-papers and other content that positions your company as an industry leader.
- Finding higher-income customers (if you’re a B2C company with higher-end products).
- Attracting new employees and talent to join your company.
- Make sure your company’s leaders are actively using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the place for your leadership team to take part in conversations affecting your industry, as well as post company accomplishments.
- Focus on quality of content over quantity. With LinkedIn, it’s not how often you post, but more about the quality of content you post. Post at least once a week, but make sure the content focuses primarily on your industry and business.
- Get your employees involved. Unlike other social media platforms where your employees likely have personal profiles — that may not be appropriate for work — chances are their LinkedIn profile is strictly professional (double check though). Encourage your employees to log into LinkedIn and share your posts and be active participants in your company’s presence. It will go a long way toward showing what a great workplace you have and what great work you do.
TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform at the moment (as of August 2021). In fact, it currently has over 100 million users. It’s tough to say if that popularity will last, but while it does you should consider using it — especially if you’re targeting a young adult or teenage demographic.
- Creating short (viral) videos that target a young adult demographic.
- Showcasing your brand personality.
- Paid advertising (it has some great targeting options, similar to Facebook).
- Use hashtags. Beyond Instagram and Twitter, TikTok is another good platform for using hashtags. Hashtags will help your videos get discovered through TikTok’s suggested videos and searches.
- Have fun! Don’t be afraid to focus on content related to your products and services, but have fun with it! Add special effects, interesting background music — the videos that are most interesting get the most views.
Some people forget YouTube is a social media platform. It’s not just about posting videos. It’s also about getting people to comment on your videos, responding to video comments and getting people to share your videos. In other words, it behaves like any other social media platform. Except it’s used by over 2.1 billion people worldwide & over 120 million active users each month in the U.S.
- Creating and sharing live videos and podcasts that are also recorded.
- Offering how-to videos and other helpful content.
- Paid advertising.
- Get people to subscribe to your channel. This sometimes gets overlooked as people often only focus on getting people to watch their videos. But if you can get people to subscribe to your channel then you increase your chances of future videos being viewed.
- Keep your channel organized. Organize your videos into playlists according to theme and make sure video titles are informative. In other words, make it easy for people to find the video they want to watch when they get to your channel.
- Use eye-catching and well-designed thumbnails. The more your video cover (or thumbnail) stands out, the more likely someone will notice and want to watch. Think about when you go on YouTube. You see video thumbnail after thumbnail and too often those thumbnails are mundane still-frames of a particular moment in the video. All the thumbnails blend together. Don’t be mundane. Be the thumbnail that stands out.
Although it has waned in popularity in recent years, Pinterest is still a widely used social media platform.
- Real estate, home design, and other visual brands who have a strong female, DIY following.
- eCommerce businesses looking to showcase their products and generate sales.
- Creating themed “pins” that help to organize your products in visually compelling ways.
- Paid advertising.
- Don’t forget about videos. Pinterest has jumped aboard the video trend in marketing and videos on Pinterest get a lot of views. Create as many video pins as possible.
- Update your pins often. Keep everything you put on Pinterest extremely fresh and relevant. Pinterest’s algorithm will reward you with more views.
Social media is not going away. It will continue to evolve and change, but it’s not going anywhere. So make sure you’re putting a plan in place to utilize social media as a major program of your marketing.
And if you need help, Mighty Fine Design has the experts and resources to help you utilize social media to grow your business.
Contact us to get an audit of your current social media accounts — or to get started with social media!