How do you know which form of social media will work the best for your business?
Which ones MUST you have and what is optional?
Well, it's a little more complicated than a 'one-size-fits-all' solution I'm afraid - but I promise, it's actually not tricky at all! Here are a few tips to help you decide what forms of social media you want to integrate into your social media strategy! (Because you have one, right? No? Call us NOW!)
I'll touch on the most prominent forms of media here in New Zealand to keep it simple.
Are you human? Then the answer will likely be yes. Sarcasm aside though, when it comes to your business the blunt answer here is - If you don't have a Facebook page for your company, you essentially don't exist.
When was the last time you used a phone book? You use Google right? When you Google a business name, chances are that within the first page, if they have a Facebook account, it will be right there. If it isn't, make sure you go into your settings and ensure your visibility is set to all countries and ages! Another tip here is to keep yous '@' handle (under your FB page name) simple.
Small businesses can either make a brand page or a personal page through Facebook, each offering has different benefits such as the ability to interact with a different array of users.
Facebook also allows businesses to create events that users can join, giving them the ability to invite customers to in-person store visits. Similar to Twitter, Facebook can be used for customer support. In terms of advertising, Facebook allows small businesses to make very targeted ads to a specific demographic, and track their success.
Are you confused around what to post on your page? It really depends what your business is but; photos, thoughts, shared news articles or posts, recommendations, use it to plug other suitable businesses to expand your visibility and anything else you can think of!
- Email address
- Description of your services
- Hours you are open
- Address(es) or stockists
- Logo as your profile image and eye catching image as your cover photo
Instagram is slightly different to Facebook, although they do seem to be getting more alike by the day at the moment as mentioned in previous WNISM's! With over 600 million users globally and over 1 million monthly advertisers - you need to give it some serious consideration.
Really good quality, clear, crisp and themed photos are key here and well photographed or interesting visuals are the only way you will encourage browsers to read the captions within them. Keep if fresh and simple and know that you can share directly to Facebook or Twitter at the click of a button!
You've heard me bang on and on about Instagram stories and this is another excellent way to promote business. Travellers, outdoorsy types and retailers are the big winners here, providing on-the-spot images and taking viewers on the adventure with them.
By holding a giveaway with a hashtag for the best use of a product, small businesses can see the different use cases from their consumers and share the best photos on their Instagram channel to improve engagement. Instagram plans to further its small business offering in 2017 by adding an integrated booking function to allow users to book a service with a business, such as a haircut, directly through the app!
I have to admit, I don't use Pinterest all that often, usually before a kids birthday party, when looking at renovation and design ideas or when looking to do some sketching - perhaps a couple or times a month at the moment? Don't let this deter you, though only look into it if you have the time. I wouldn't put this into the 'Top 3 must have' accounts.
To give you a quick look into the emerging Pinterest trends for 2017 - check this out. What I am noting here is food and recipes, interior design, fashion (hair, clothing, make up), top travel locations, health and fitness and DIY. If you are in any of those industries, Pinterest (Facebook and Instagram) is the place for you!!
Pinterest’s users are primarily female, with 45 percent of women online using the social platform compared to only 17 percent of men. Recently, Pinterest unveiled its new advertising program called Pinterest Propel that is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Pinterest Propel is tailored to the small business segment of advertisers on Pinterest, which could eventually make up one quarter of the company’s revenue.
Can you keep what you need to say within 140 characters? Does friendly banter work well in your business? Do you want to interact with celebrities or fellow techy farmers? Then Twitter could be the one for you!
Twitter is great for short, sharp discussion, less images, less personal information and more 'straight to the point' chat. It's proving to be a huge hit with dairy farmers here in NZ particularly and provides a great forum for this. At risk of sounding a little sexist - I do feel there is a slightly more masculine feel to Twitter as opposed to more visual mediums such as Instagram and Facebook.
Tweet, retweet (re-post something of interest) 'Like' by clicking the <3 on a tweet and get chatting!
It can be used for user engagement, but it can also be used for customer support, allowing businesses to respond to consumers’ questions and concerns in a timely manner.
Twitter also provides actionable insights – for free. Through Twitter, search monitoring and tracking mentions, small businesses can get a real-time snapshot of what consumers are saying about their business and the industry as a whole. By proactively monitoring Twitter, small businesses can see what’s popular and stay ahead of the competition.
LinkedIn is the social media network for career-oriented users and is known as the largest social platform for professionals. As an online CV, this is the place to be for professional employees and employers. Just a couple of years ago you would have struggled to find a kiwi farmer listed but this is rapidly changing.
Whether you are looking for a job nationally or internationally, want to belong to certain international professional groups such as agriculture of the world, biomechanical engineering, or community based blogs - this is the place. It welcomes mature discussion and friendly debates. Somewhere slightly more sophisticated than Facebook for quality conversation among a slightly different demographic and the place to be discovered and build networks.
When selling a product to another business, networking and finding potential clients is one of the best ways to improve the sales pipeline, especially for small businesses that don’t have the resources or reach of larger, more well established companies.
Another way small business owners can take advantage of LinkedIn is through writing content for the Thought Leadership section on relevant trends in their specific industry. LinkedIn groups are also a good way to connect with other small business owners to share stories and best practices, and build relationships with members of your target audience.
It does take quite a bit of activity to get followers and encourage interaction and activity so be aware it will take a more specific and different strategy to other platforms - something we would be more than happy to help you with!
Chanelle O’Sullivan is Grass Roots Media's Social Media Specialist. She originally studied agriculture, before moving south onto a Station, followed by a stint dairy farming. After three years vet nursing, she is now a Mum to two kids and creator of Farming Mums NZ and ‘Just a Farmers Wife’ while also working part-time for the NZ Landcare Trust and Grass Roots Media.
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