One of the great treasures about being a entrepreneur these days is all of the fantastic free resources which are available to help make your business a success. Many of today’s business owners don’t need to be convinced of the value of using social media to market their product or service to the world. Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn….even the clueless of us have some awareness of what’s out there, but the sheer magnitude of the options can also serve as a deterrent. The number of choices can be overwhelming and daunting. How can your business take advantage of all those social media platforms? When will you find the time to monitor and post on these platforms with limited staff and resources?
Well the first bit of good news is that you don’t have to have a presence on every form of social media out there. Trying to be on everything could actually prove to be a waste of resources. What you need to do is assess the needs specific to your business and weigh it against the strengths of the particular platform. Should you start a YouTube account for your catering business? Would LinkedIn help your consultancy company? Should you be posting pictures from your event planning business on Instagram or Pinterest?
A look at the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most popular platforms should help you make the best choice for your business.
During a recent AFETT social media workshop, Chenoa Marquis, Digital Solutions Delivery Lead of Caribbean Ideas, noted that this is predictably the number one social media platform in Trinidad and Tobago. Many consumers will assume that your company is on Facebook, and it should be a good idea to have a presence there. “I’ve found that consumer goods and services do quite well on Facebook,” said entrepreneur John Rampton in his article, “Choosing the Right Social Network For Your Business Presence”.
Facebook groups and pages each have their own advantages that will help you connect with your audience.
Most recently Facebook Live has provided a new opportunity to showcase your business to your clients. This gives you an opportunity to take advantage of the tendency of users to turn to videos to consumer content. The immediacy of the live feed provides a unique way to engage with your audience. Here’s your chance to personally some of your most constant FAQs in real time. Use Facebook live to make announcements – launch events or tease your new product and get your clientele excited to try what you have to offer.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites in Trinidad and Tobago. It combines some of the best features from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It now allows business accounts, and you can post one minute videos.
This is the perfect platform to make good use of hashtags which will allow users to find your content. Instagram advertising is also proving to be better than Facebook at drawing attention to advertising.
If your product offers a lot of interesting visual content, consider Instagram. This need not only include the beautiful cakes you decorate for example but behind the scenes pictures and videos showing the cake-making process.
While it is best tailored for product based businesses, you can creatively use Instagram for your service based business as well.
Twitter is a good way to get messages out there quickly. Breaking news speeds across this social media platform, so your announcement about a flash sale or the next location of your food truck can quickly reach your followers.
Twitter is also a great way to follow trends. Use its search feature to look up different topics or to find specific hashtags related to your business.
One of the platform’s most important uses is networking with businesses and individuals. The chances are the person who you’d like to connect with has a Twitter account and careful interactions can build a connection.
Twitter is also one of the best tools to engage with your customers. Many companies consistently use Twitter to directly address their clients’ questions and concerns.
Part of connecting with clients of course means producing content of interest to them. Carefully craft your tweets not only with marketing material, but share pictures, articles and other details which add value to your followers. Live tweet your events or host a chat with a person of interest.
With over a billion users visiting this popular site and staying for extended periods watching videos and looking for content, it’s well worth it to consider YouTube as an option for your company.
Since Google owns YouTube, the site’s videos have a considerable advantage when it comes to the results of searches. You can also use the videos to draw your users back to your website.
There’s lots of different kinds of videos you can create; interviews, behind the scenes, how-to videos are very popular. Product videos have also been shown to be helpful to consumers and encourage them to buy.
Focus on educating, entertaining and connecting and don’t get too caught up in increasing numbers. Concentrate on creating quality content and engaging and keeping your subscribers. Also be sure to use captions so more users will be able to engage with your videos.
This popular site is described as a “catalog of ideas”. Users can sort images called “pins” into whatever categories they choose in collections called “boards”. They can also “pin” items and images they see on sites across the web, so they can have all the information saved in one place.
The site has grown over the years and is proving to be excellent for business to business and business to community interactions. Many users use the site to connect with their favourite brands. According to the Pinterest administration, users use the platform “to get inspiration on what to buy” and “help to keep track of or collect things I like” while “87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest” and “93% of Pinners have used Pinterest to plan a future purchase.” The site is also second only to Facebook in its ability to drive traffic to your site.
Some of the most popular categories on the site are design, home decor and food and drink, so these relate to your business, consider it as an option. Create boards that have information of interest to your target audience and which promote your business.
Work to build relationships with influencers. The website Social Media Examiner recommends using group boards and expanding your reach by collaborating with popular users.
Once you have a board specifically for your business, you can also study the analytics to see how well your pins are doing. Sponsored pins are also a good way to pay to make sure your content is seen by the right people.
“Your content should Engage, Educate, Entertain.”
LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with other businesses, so consider this professional connection social media platform if you provide services of interest to companies.
Nearly 50% of people on LinkedIn have decision-making authority for their companies. Because of the nature of LinkedIn many people are there for the purpose of finding services that you might have to offer. Here’s your chance to encourage them to outsource some of their work to your business or to establish a collaborative relationship.
Use LinkedIn as well as an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Post articles that you’ve written, actively participate in groups in your areas of interest, establish yourself as a thought leader.
Linkedin also provides advertising opportunities. Linkedin also provides paid membership upgrades which might be useful to your business. They offer “Career,” “Business,” Sales,” and “Hiring” upgrade options which might be perfect for you.
Once you’ve chosen the social media sites which are best for your business, you’ve taken an important step toward opening important avenues which will help you promote your products or services and engage your customers. The next step is to produce content. Whether if you have one social media account or all six that I’ve listed, you won’t reap many benefits unless you produce content. Remember the importance of engaging, educating and entertaining. If you need assistance in this area, consider hiring a good social media content producer. Make sure you put in the effort to take full advantage of these platforms and make a real difference in the development of your business.
*Bio: Dixie-Ann Belle is a freelance writer and content producer who has been writing all her life. She is ready to take on social media content, writing blogs and producing web site copy for your business, so you don’t have to. Learn more about how she can help you produce strong, effective content for all your writing needs at her website, her Facebook page, her Twitter or through her e-mail: email@example.com