In a survey by the National Office of Statistics, 61% of respondents said they regularly used social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Happily, social media means that a vital web presence can be achieved for no financial outlay while still helping you capitalise further on your community presence and standing without a huge time investment.
Using your visual branding and staying true to the ‘voice’ you developed early on, set up social media pages in the name of your business. Whereas, previously, we’ve advocated the personal touch, with social media it’s preferable to speak for the organisation rather than using your name or expressing personal opinions.
This is a platform where telling people about the services you provide is key. It isn’t advisable to use it as a means of expressing what you think as an individual. If you do have personal accounts, think hard before you necessarily associate the two. If you’re a particularly vocal Chelsea fan, for example, you don’t want to alienate customers simply because they follow Spurs! By all means, ask your friends to ‘like’ your Facebook page but steer clear of personal chats with them. Similarly, exercise caution before following people you know on Twitter. If their language is a bit ‘colourful’ or their views somewhat controversial and outspoken, it will reflect on you!
Did you know...
Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Make sure you update your feeds regularly (there’s nothing worse than visiting a page that’s been silent for a long time. People may even think you’ve gone out of business!) and, where possible (and with permission), use photographs of work you’ve completed to highlight the quality and scope of your work. Think about the core messages you decided upon when you originally built your brand and focus on the services you provide. You should look at sharing other companies’ posts too – providing they’re relevant and, above all, interesting.
Although you’re using the voice of your company rather than your own, don’t avoid interactions with other users. Social media is about interacting with people and having ‘conversations’ with your followers. Sharing photos and stories about the work you do acts almost like a case study or portfolio. They also make you look approachable and friendly. Humour is a really valuable means of engaging people but, again, it needs to be accessible rather than an in joke. If there are community pages on Facebook or local accounts on Twitter, do like them and/or make sure you make posts and start conversations. People local to you will look here regularly and the more visible you are, the more likely they are to think of you when they’ve got work to be done.
As well as making regular posts and showcasing your achievements, it’s worth considering whether social media advertising is a worthwhile proposition for you.
For an incredibly small initial outlay, you can certainly afford to dip your toe in the water and the sheer amount Facebook knows about its users means you can target your services to those most likely to pay for them.
As with your initial branding, you need to have a clear identity, voice and strategy. Once again, understanding your customer is key. Another tip is to not give up if your first campaign doesn’t prove instantly successful.
Social media, especially Facebook advertising, is exceptionally cheap. You can afford to try, try and try again until you’re hitting the right audience and spreading the right message!
Another great aspect of social media marketing is that you can use analytics to measure their exact impact and monitor the success of your campaign.
Sage has produced a helpful guide to Social Media for small businesses: Social media success.