You’ve decided it’s time for your business to bite the bullet and join social media. These days clients expect businesses to be available on their favourite social apps, where they spend their time – LinkedIn found the average decision maker researched ten pieces of content online before making a purchasing decision, so it’s in your interests to be in the shop window.
But where do you start? Here’s your guide to the different platforms on offer, and some first steps to getting underway.
Before you dive in
Save yourself time and effort with these sense-checks before getting underway:
- Show me the audience! Do some research to make sure your potential clients are on your target social networks before investing your time.
- Decide why you’re there. Are you up for a two-way conversation with your clients? Do you just want to advertise your services? Take time to define a simple purpose and content strategy before you start posting.
- Keep an open mind! Social media is constantly evolving and rewards experimentation and innovation. Learn what’s best for your business by trying different content and approaches, taking note of what works and what doesn’t and refining your strategy as you go.
Why should you be there? – It’s the only show in town for professional social networking with an incredibly engaged user base, 40% of which log in every day. Even people that ‘don’t do social media’ will have a LinkedIn profile. Why is it important? LinkedIn is a great place to share longer-form articles and commentary, so it's an ideal channel to establish yourself and your firm as experts in your field. And for many people, it’s the first thing you find when Googling their name, so it’s in your interest to present professional and up-to-date profiles for your whole team, as well as your business.
Here's how – Start with a business profile page that clearly explains who you are and what you do, with branding and contact information that’s correct and current. Then work with your team to make sure everyone’s profiles have aligned with the messages about your business and are up to date. Use great photography to make sure you present a professional look when clients search for your industry and business.
Why should you be there? – It started as a US college social network, but with over two billion users, it’s the largest social network in the world, as well as one of the largest advertising platforms – almost 96% of social media marketers say Facebook offers the best return on investment of all social media platforms. Facebook’s advertising tools are the most sophisticated and effective around, giving you the chance to grab potential clients’ attention for very little investment up front.
Here's how – You can set up a Facebook page for your business and start posting content and interacting with your audience for free. Then when you’re ready to take the next step, trial Facebook advertising – the tools are easy to use and become increasingly sophisticated as you gain confidence and experience.
Why should you be there? – Instagram means images and video, making it ideal for connecting emotionally with your audience and building your brand story visually. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, its advertising tools are equally as effective for reaching and building your network.
Here's how – Start by gathering content – it could be a mix of marketing material you have now, along with ‘on the fly’ videos and photos created on your phone, to present an authentic picture of what you are offering. As you start sharing content, you’ll soon build up knowledge of what resonates with your network.
Why should you be there? – Popular among politicians, journalists, sports people and celebrities. Content and controversies originating on Twitter are often picked up and shared in ‘mainstream’ media. Despite being overtaken in numbers by the larger social networks, Twitter punches above its weight when it comes to influence – if you’re confident in your ability to live by your wits and add value to a lively, often anarchic conversation online, Twitter is a great place to be part of the conversation on topical issues. You can link back to longer articles too on your website.
Here's how – Start by listening to the conversation, to get a good idea of what’s important to your audience, then join in. Be open and don’t be afraid to engage in two-way conversations. 64% of customers say sharing values helped them build a relationship with a business – by sharing your story as openly as you can, you start building trust in what you’re offering.
Why should you be there? – Four times as many people prefer watching a video than reading about a service or product – and 90% of customers say videos help their buying decisions. Getting your content on YouTube (the second largest search engine after Google) helps your customers find and engage with you and your offering.
Here's how – If you have video content, whether it’s marketing material or instructional videos, set up a YouTube channel and upload everything you have, making sure your video titles and descriptions match the keywords your clients will be searching for. Clear titles make it easier for your audience to find you. YouTube also allows you to embed videos in your website, which benefits your search engine optimisation and lets you keep track of who’s watching your videos.
What should you do next?
No matter which platform you choose, it’s important to remember the ‘social’ part! When it comes down to it, social media is one human being speaking to another and it is a great way to reach, engage and expand your network of people and businesses considering your services. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and set what you offer apart from the competition by doing something unique.
Find a platform and an approach you feel comfortable with and dive in!
BOMA brings all your communication channels together in one easy-to-use platform – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Email.