In a society where business is becoming ever more anonymous and remote, social media brings back the personal touch and allows companies to build up relationships with their customers. It is also a relatively cheap form of marketing as the main cost is time, and it can have an immediate impact. Here are some things top consider.
Choosing Social Networks
There are a number of large all-encompassing social networks you can join to market your business and we'll look at a handful of these in a moment. However there may be smaller networks such as membership sites or forums that relate very specifically to your business or your niche market, and it may be worth including these in your social media strategy if you believe your customers are more likely to use them. Some of the more common social networks are:
Facebook is the best known social network with over one billion users. You can create a specific business page for your company where you can post updates, links, photos, and videos, as well as running polls and competitions. When other Facebook users 'Like' your page they will be kept up to date with everything you post. Facebook is a very versatile network and it works especially well for B2C marketing as a huge number of people have a personal Facebook account.
Twitter is a fantastic way to broadcast messages quickly to a large number of people. Once you have created a Twitter account for your company you can 'Tweet' short messages of up to 140 characters which can include links and various types of media such as photos. Twitter is good for B2B or B2C marketing as Twitter accounts can be personal or for business. It is usually easier to get a large number of followers on Twitter than on Facebook.
LinkedIn is often seen as a tool for recruitment but for businesses it can be far more than that. LinkedIn is great for B2B marketing as you can join groups that relate to your business and interact with other professionals within those groups. Members of LinkedIn tend to be executives over the age of thirty, and the network is especially useful for companies involved in information and technology services, financial services, higher education, computer software, and telecommunications
Pinterest is an image based social network so it is ideal if you are selling a product or service that is visually appealing. On Pinterest you can create pin boards of web pages or images which could include your own material or anything published online. It is a great way to associate your company with other brands or particular styles, and appeals particularly to women. You can even create a simple online shop using Pinterest.
Google+ is still relatively new in social media terms but its use is gradually increasing. It has business features that aren't available in Facebook or Twitter. You can join a community (a group based around a particular interest) as a company, not just as an individual. You can also use the 'Hangout' function to hold group meetings, discussions or demonstrations. Google+ is particularly appealing to a male audience.
Would you like to know more about how to start and grow your own small business? Then get my free guide "The Only 7 Tools You Need To Boost The Profits Of Your Business In 2014 And Beyond" at http://www.startupsuccess.co.uk/blog
Steve Carter is founder of Startup Success and a serial entrepreneur who has built and grown his own businesses in a variety of industry sectors.