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Published 21 August 2015

Becci Cook

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Social Media Usage in Business

If you are a business that’s recently adopted Social Media into your Marketing Mix or are on the verge of implementing it, you need to consider first what the differences are between each platform and secondly, which are the most suitable networks for your business? I’ve had to ask myself these questions on numerous occasions fascinated with the scope and averse to miss out on anything! It can be a challenge keeping up to date with all the new Social Media Apps because like all things technology related, it is constantly evolving.

Just like mobile phones…

If you think about it, the Social Media industry is similar to that of mobile phones, as well as being an essential communication tool, there are new handsets coming out all the time with the latest features and software etc. however there will always be the big market leaders that consumers proceed to buy from such as Apple and Samsung with their ever-improving sophisticated devices.

As a business owner or marketer, you don’t physically have the capacity to do everything for everyone, the same way you won’t have time to be on every Social Media platform out there. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that it is ideal to focus on the ones that are relevant to your business and dedicate quality time to them so that your existing and prospective customers benefit from the content and get a genuine feel for your brand. By using Social Media you are basically giving your brand a voice. As with all communication, it is two way. You listen to your customers’ needs and in return advise them as best you can as well as talk about what your business can offer. It bodes well to have a decent sense of humour too that way you are instantly more likeable, furthermore approachable. There are no set rules using Social Media for business, however, it doesn’t go unnoticed by your followers when a page is dormant or the content shared is bad quality. Ultimately you want to grow your fan base and retain their interest as you do your existing customers.

Distinguishing the purpose of each platform before you start is really useful so time isn’t wasted setting up accounts that aren’t required. It isn’t just about making lots of friends and being contactable on in every available platform, although being sociable in general does help. The importance lies in establishing your brand’s online identity, providing quality content and having a good rapport with your customers and potentials.
Depending on the type of business and to whom you are aiming your products or services, you should without a doubt be on the most frequently used networks which are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Google+ is also recommended for businesses, however, I’m not sure it would make much difference if you didn’t have a Google+ account if the main three are managed well enough, it could be something you do at a later stage.

Facebook pretty much dominates the Social Media world reaching a monthly user figure of 1.49 billion and continues to grow each quarter. It isn’t just the big corporate companies that are on there, a lot of smaller businesses start with a Facebook page before they even have a website, it acts as a digital word of mouth. The analytic features available now are fantastic you can measure how successful posts are in terms of how many people they reach and you can establish your target audiences on there too, all for free. It is now not a case of how many likes a post receives, Facebook has made advertising a lot harder and encourages you to pay for it. Despite this, boosted posts, which are available on Twitter and LinkedIn too in conjunction with the analytics tools, are worth investing in because they expand your reach and are useful for accounts that don’t have many friends/followers who can share your content for you and essentially help you promote your business. Not everyone on Facebook wants their newsfeed to be flooded with advertisements, it is, after all, a social platform where users socialise. While it is a magnificent networking facility and necessary to get your brand known, the majority users on there aren’t professionals. Although it was set up initially for university students, now everyone’s Mum seems to have an account, which unless they are your target audience isn’t necessarily going to be interested in your business as much as they are to spy on other family members! Facebook for business, therefore, shouldn’t be your main focus, but do not have an account at all isn’t recommended because if anything you need to see what your competitors are doing and keep up with them.

LinkedIn is far more appropriate for communicating business to business, it is a professional networking site, although it isn’t as well developed as Facebook yet from a company page perspective. I find a lot more industry-relevant information is available on Linked in and much can be learnt from the Pulse articles. Industry leaders and experts are all using LinkedIn now to communicate with each other.
Twitters is great because it is similar to live streaming tweets are seen only for a short time on users newsfeeds. This makes information shared more current and interesting. Although it is impossible to read every tweet of all the people you follow and vice versa, the intention is to scroll through, which for businesses is preferable as your time on newsfeeds are usually limited, the emphasis is to share content and engage. It’s harder to get distracted on Twitter, having a 140 character restriction means posts are shorter and more to the point. Its interface is preferable for B2B communications as it manages to filter out all the noise you hear often on Facebook through common connections, the algorithms operate differently, faster and more efficiently.

Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are extremely popular from an end-user perspective, especially amongst younger generations and millennials. A large proportion of these is successful in business, therefore an ideal target market. Big companies that visually have a lot to demonstrate use these media forms as imagery and video content spread a lot quicker, for example, you often hear of pictures and videos going viral. These platforms are ideal for B2C communications hence why a lot of retailers use them which no doubt increases the sale of their products.

We can help your business…

It costs you nothing to open up these Social Media accounts I’ve mentioned, however, it is worth investing the time and management into maintaining them effectively if you want to see the Return on Investment. If you would like some assistance with setting up, managing your social media accounts or some more information on how to effectively use Social Media for your business, Apograph is here to help.

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