It’s difficult to believe that 10 years ago extends social media as we know it today didn’t exist. Household names such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, and many others simply didn’t exist. Social media’s growth has been exponential and its reach into society now bleeds into every portion of human socialization and communication, it occupies our attention and shapes public discussion. Even the most traditional or tech phobic businesses cannot believe it away into non-existence. The necessity to market and promote your business through social media has in part become part of the new reality. Whether you were slow to “climb on the bandwagon” or want to make your business standout on social media there are a few simple tips of things you can do today to make this possible. Let’s take a look at the “Big 3”: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook- First, Facebook exists for more reasons than posting cat memes, catching the latest gossip, or reconnecting with old friends/flames- it is a solid business platform. By incorporating Facebook into your marketing strategy you open the door potentially to a network of over 213 million active users in the US and Canada alone. How do you create a successful Facebook Business Page? According to Business2Community.com there are certain elements you cannot ignore:
1. Select the right name: Selecting the right first word (as it relates to your business) for your Facebook Business Page title is significant and will help Google associate your page with it in its search engine search results. It will also help you be discovered in Facebook searches.
2. Make sure they don’t forget your name: Tweak your vanity URL and improve brand recognition- by personalizing it with your business name, don’t settle for the generic url that is automatically generated when your Business Page is generated.
3. Make sure you are up-to-date: Nothing says inactivity, or inattentiveness than an avatar, cover photo, bio, and profile that are incomplete or provides dated or inaccurate information. A complete and up-to-date profile communicates your professionalism as a business. Focus on your brand to assure that there is visual and data consistency across Facebook and all of your social platforms.
4. “About us” section: The “About us” section is where you leave all the details about your business, such as: location, service offered, working hours, and may be a good place to mention values and benefits your product/service can provide. Since you only have 155 characters make sure you choose them well.
5. Call to Action: At the end of 2014 Facebook introduced the Call to Action button. This is a powerful button that redirects people off the Facebook page and to the website page, form, or media you have set up.
Twitter- You have 140 characters to leave an impression on 300 million monthly active users and you are trying to grab the attention of people that are likely on the move with 80% of users accessing it from a mobile device, it also provides a way to connect with influencers and improve response time to customer service (73% of SMB Twitter users said Twitter provides them with a quick way to respond to customer services issues). Twitter’s “real time information network” is the pulse of shared content and makes sense that you have your finger on it. There are simple ways to make your profile look great on Twitter. According to SocialTimes there are 5 things you can do right now.
1. Update your headshot/logo: One of the first things a person is going to see is the headshot or logo you have put on your profile page. What does it communicate about your business? Is it up-to-date? Is it quality? Is it consistent with the logos or brand images you are using on your website or other social platforms? Every Tweet you send is going to have that image right next to it.
2. Rewrite your bio: How is your bio looking? Is the information as relevant today, as when you originally created it? Have you thought about using it to increase visibility on promotions or campaigns?
3. Choosing a better URL- and the power of a link: Using custom or shortened links with Twitter can help you in many ways. First it can provide you with analytical information for the number navigating off your profile to other places such as your website or other social platform. You can also create custom pages for Twitter followers coming to your site.
4. Update and rotate your cover photo/visual for maximum impact: Keep things fresh and interesting, increase awareness of marketing campaigns and promotions by creating and using smashing visuals with Twitter.
5. Tweet often, add visuals, and use #hashtags: While Twitter fatigue is real you want to make sure that you maintain your presence on it. While the number of Tweets you send may vary depending on your organizations strategy or goals, it’s important to understand that the average Tweet has a very short life, averaging around 15 minutes. Adding visuals may help you increase engagement by 50%, and #hashtags can help your content be discovered in the corresponding feeds, increase engagement and new followers.
LinkedIn- If you do business it is almost certain that you have heard of LinkedIn, which is by far the most prevalent professional network preferred used by 380 million worldwide users, with 107 million in the US (roughly 1-3 Americans). In 2013 it was projected that over half of their users would access their site using mobile apps. LinkedIn can help you find a job, and a lot more, if used intelligently it can be a powerful tool to promote your business or establish yourself as a thought leader, which may increase your likelihood of people contacting and transacting with you. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn company page do it.
1. Complete your company page: This may seem like a no-brainer but sadly many profiles are and remain incomplete. Make sure you complete your company description (pepper this with relevant keywords). Make sure that you have an up-to-date Image and company logo. Make sure that you include all relevant company specialties in the Company Specialty fields (view these as keywords you want your company to be discovered for). Keywords should be used intelligently and appropriately to indicate relevancy to anything that might crawl your page.
2. Create a calendar: LinkedIn doesn’t work, unless you work with it, consistently. Create an editorial calendar of when you plan on updating or post on your company page- again remember to stay consistent. You want to start new discussion here and attract New Followers.
3. Use visuals for posts and updates: Content is as much about the visuals as it is about everything else. An attractive visual (infographic, text graphic, or image) might mean the difference between content that’s being engaged with or scanned over. Visuals can have a powerful effect on the responses of your audience.
4. Showcase Pages: View a Showcase Page as an off-shoot of your Company Page. With a Showcase Page you can promote a specific product or service that your business offers. You can include graphic content specific to the showcase page. This will add depth to your LinkedIn page and gives your visitors something more to look at, while helping you socialize and develop your brand.
5. Put yourself out there: This is less of an optimization strategy and more of a best practice. Some people may come across your company page purely organically- just by searching for it. For most people, especially those starting off, more effort needs to be made to for them to recognize you. Socialize yourself into LinkedIn Groups, where you can judiciously promote your LinkedIn company page or when connecting with someone or accepting the connection request of another let share it with them. LinkedIn is supposed to be promotional, just keep the right balance between building my business awareness/relationships and spam. Spam is unlikely to make you any friends.
Discover more about how SproutLoud helps brands build and manage their social media presence here: http://www.sproutloud.com/services/social-media-content-publishing
About the Author
Ben Heyworth formerly served as Marketing and Sales Coordinator at SproutLoud.More Content by Ben Heyworth