Using social media in a business

Why should I use social media?

Make sure all your marketing activities are linked together.
Make sure all your marketing activities are linked together.

Most businesses now use social media as part of their marketing effort, but why use them and which should you use?

The first thing to emphasise is that social media is just one arm of the marketing that a business may do. Other aspects  of marketing include your website, blogging, networking and all the traditional “offline” activities such as networking, leaflets and adverts.  Your whole marketing approach needs to be integrated. It main aim is to increase awareness of your business so that in the longer term you make more sales and therefore money.

All marketing needs time and money allocated to it, so before you start using social media you need to be clear about what you want to achieve and how much time you can invest.

So why should you use social media at all?

Not “Because”

Our clients often ask us if they should use social media and why. Obviously, we can’t simply answer “Because”. Whether you should use social media or not depends on what your business is and how you find your customers. You need to understand your market first.

Not if you are content with what you do now

If your business functions well enough on word-of-mouth, local advertising or by some other means, then branching out into social media is probably not absolutely necessary.

Not just because you want to use social media

If you want to grow your business and reach more customers, then social media is the one of the obvious places to do it. Most of the business and social world is moving online and if your customers are there, then you should be too. That said, you also need to be serious about using any marketing medium. It takes time to use it properly and a half-hearted effort is probably not going to earn you a good reputation.

Which social media should I use?

There are many different social media you can use and more spring up all the time. There isn’t the time in the day to use all of them successfully, unless you have a huge, dedicated marketing team, so you have to decide which would fit your business best.

Find out where your customer are

Having decided to use social media, you need to find out which your customer is using. If they are on Facebook and not Twitter, then there would be little point spending much time on Twitter. It would be like going to France for you holidays and insisting on speaking German or Chinese: not much use and a waste of time.

Here are a few tips to help you decide which social media are for you.

  • If you are selling to consumers, then Facebook is the mostly likely place to find your customers.
  • If you are in a creative market, then Pinterest is worth a shout.
  • If you are selling to business, then Twitter or LinkedIn may be better bet.
  • GooglePlus is another option, though its growth is larger in the US than in the UK

Still trying to decide?

If you are not already signed up for some of the well-used ones, do so and have a listen to what’s going on. The aim is to get a feel for what is being said rather than participating at this stage.

Do some searches:

  • Look for your competitors and find out how they are using the tool (or not).
  • Think about your keywords: the words you use on your website to attract people.  Do searches with these and study the results.
  • Look at the styles people use for words and pictures.
  • Look for your customers and find out what they are talking about on the tool.

And when you’ve decided which social media to use

Plan how you are going to use them.

We will cover more of this in the coming weeks.