How to use Social Media for business

Social Media and PR Services

Over the past year, 77.9% of the UK population was active on social media. This high percentage shows how platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have taken over the world and become an integral part of our daily lives. Instagram stories are used to update friends on who we’re meeting, what we’re eating, and where we’re visiting; Twitter is the modern-day version of the old-fashioned diary, acting as a place to document fleeting thoughts and live updates; LinkedIn functions as a place to network, sell B2B products and services, whilst sharing your professional achievements and qualifications. These social media platforms dominate our lives, and yet, we continue to hear the question asked: how do you use social media for business?

Understanding purpose
The key to understanding how to use social media for business is to understand the purpose of each platform and why you plan on using it.

In our post-covid, virtual world, there is an expectation that all businesses will have a social media presence. Customers expect to be able to find the businesses they interact with on social media and use it as a source of information, updates, and customer service. In essence, your business needs to be on social media.

Each social media platform has a different audience and user database comprised of different demographic amalgamations. This means that a different brand strategy is needed for each platform as your content will be seen by varying and differing groups of people. Here are our recommendations for how to use each specific platform to promote your business and connect with new audiences.

Unlike the majority of social media accounts, Twitter is regarded as a personality-based platform where perfection is not desirable and wit, charm and authenticity win. For businesses, Twitter is often used as a place to have direct and real-time interactions with customers, often going viral for clever and quick responses to trending topics. See this article for examples. The users on Twitter are some of the most varied, with a huge range of demographics; the unifying trait is an interest in live updates.

For the property industry, Twitter is a great way to engage with the community surrounding any new developments. Businesses can use Twitter to inform prospective buyers about what schemes they are part of, which charities they actively support, and who they have visiting the site. For the food/drink industry, Twitter can be a place to show wit and reactive thinking with popular tweets using creative ways to link products with trending hashtags.

When first launched, LinkedIn was considered the Facebook of the business world. It was an exclusively professional social media platform that mainly functioned as a virtual address book where users could acknowledge and connect with people they met through networking. Today, LinkedIn has grown into a competitive rival to other social media platforms, still with an emphasis on professional networks, but expanding into a place people can do a lot more than connect with each other. LinkedIn has a job searching tool, a skillshop with educational resources, and groups where users with similar interests can share content and insider tips.

For businesses, LinkedIn is prime real-estate for generating B2B leads and website conversions. Your company’s posts will reach users from your staffs’ networks, allowing you to grow your account and to tap into the networks linked to that secondary network, thus creating a snowball of growth and interest. Content should inform the audience about company updates, share information to do with industry and trends, and give insight into who works at the company and the culture at its core.

Although used less and less by younger generations, Facebook remains the dominant force in the social media world with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users in 2020. Facebook (the company) also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, along with the original Facebook platform. This means that Facebook content is still a powerful tool and can dictate a large part of a business’ social media presence.

One of the most important reasons for a business to have a Facebook profile is to gain access to the Facebook business suite, including Facebook Ads Manager and the Creator Studio. Facebook’s Ads Manager is the platform used to create, schedule, and run all social media paid adverts across Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. This makes it an essential tool for digital marketing. Equally important is the Facebook Creator Studio: this is an inbuilt tool to help users create and upload quality media that can be scheduled across both Facebook and Instagram. For these reasons, Facebook is undoubtably useful.

Video content is king on Facebook and for industries such as property and food/drink, it can be an excellent place to upload video content that is seen and shared by a large number of users. The millennial to baby-boomer demographic also means that the target audience for these industries often hang out here.

The final of the four major social media platforms for business is Instagram. Instagram is arguably the most visual of the four platforms, known for its photo and video blogging capabilities. Instagram Stories are now also a key component to the platform’s feature list, with story usage outweighing feed usage.

Unlike the other three platforms, Instagram does not support links in the captions of the media posted. This means that for businesses, it’s harder to convert the audience to the company website or to specific landing pages as links have to be collated into one comprehensive Url link that sits in an account’s bio. As a result, a business’ brand strategy for Instagram should focus on brand awareness, account growth, and building a community of loyal followers. By creating a community that regularly engages with your brand, you will eventually develop brand advocates (commonly known as superfans). These users are an invaluable asset to any business due to the fact that they will frequently recommend your brand and refer to their friends. The visual nature of Instagram also means it can be a public facing portfolio for businesses to display and feature their work. Again, the platform strategy needs to focus on brand awareness rather than individual conversion.

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. For businesses unsure on how to best use social media to capitalise on its power, we can help. Here at Village, we’ve recently expanded our service offering to provide first-class social media and PR services. All you need to do is get in touch for a free consultation.

By Bobby Marsh
15 Jul 2021