Engaging with your customers online can raise awareness and build your reputation as a trusted supplier. Social media gives your business an opportunity to gain new contacts.
Social media can improve your business in a number of key areas:
- marketing and sales
- brand awareness
- customer service
- gathering business intelligence
Keep your overall marketing strategy in mind when researching which social media platforms are right for your business. You should think about your target audience and your business goals. You may find you need a combination of social media channels to cover all your needs.
Consider the following before deciding if a particular social media channel is right for you:
- Does your target demographic use this platform?
- Does the nature of the channel allow you to achieve your goals?
- What content could you post on this platform?
- What value could you bring to users on this channel?
- Do you have the skills and time resources to use this platform?
It may be useful to look at your website analytics to see if you are receiving traffic from social media platforms. This would indicate your customers use these platforms and are already sharing your content.
Types of social media
Different types of social media allow you to share content and interact with users in varied ways:
- Social networks allow users to make connections, join groups based on their interests and share content. Some of the most popular include Facebook and LinkedIn. Businesses can share content, advertise and interact with their audience on a company page.
- Media sharing platforms allow video and image based content to be shared. They usually include extra features such as profiles and comments. Snapchat is one of the most popular. YouTube and Vimeo are examples of video focused media sharing platforms, while Flickr and Instagram are mainly for images. Businesses can use these platforms to advertise, share content and interact with their audiences.
- Social bookmarking platforms like Pinterest and StumbleUpon allow users to share, organise and save online content. Businesses can use these platforms to curate branded content and encourage users to share their content. There may be opportunities to pay for extra visibility through sponsored content.
- Blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr allow users to publish content and sometimes share and comment on other users’ content. Twitter is a popular microblogging platform – allowing users to publish and share short messages. Businesses can publish their content through blogging platforms as well as engage and interact with their audiences. There are often advertising opportunities.
- News sharing and forum platforms such Reddit and Digg allow users share, vote and comment on links. The most popular links as voted for by users are shown most prominently. Businesses can submit their own content and engage in discussions. There are usually advertising opportunities available.