The world of social media is vast.

From Whatsapp, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to newer platforms like Tik Tok and SnapChat. There are new social media platforms popping up every day. You might be wondering which one you should be using. You might not be sure what is the best way to use them to market your business.

Carly Barnes, Lulalend’s Customer Relationship Marketing specialist, discusses how to:

  • Find the best social network for your business
  • Use social media to promote and grow your business
  • Find data to inform your social media strategy

Which social media networks should you be using?

The best way to answer this question is to put yourself in the shoes—or in this case the browser—of your customer. 

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Which social media platforms are your current customers using? Perhaps it’s worth having a few conversations with them or including this in a quick service survey once they’ve completed an order. If your business is B2B, then it might be worth checking to see how many of your customers have a Facebook Page or Instagram profile. Take some cues from there. 
  • Are there companies in a similar or competitor industry that have been particularly successful on social media? Which platforms are they using? How big are their audiences?
  • What capacity and resources do you have to manage multiple social media platforms? It might be that you start with just one and give that all of your focus, ensuring you respond to customers quickly and share content regularly. 

Why should you be using social media platforms?

This will depend on the nature of your business, but there are a couple of general things to think about:

  • Sharing content

Share articles or, even better, original content that you’ve created in-house that potential customers would want to read.

  • Having conversations

Social media has opened up a whole new way of communicating with our customers. It creates a kind of immediacy and intimacy that we never had before. A lot of the time customers or potential customers will actually bypass traditional channels in order to make contact with your business. Your response and the time in which you respond can largely determine whether they will choose you over competitors. 

  • Generating referral business

Building a community online means that you are giving people the opportunity to shout about your service and the quality of your products. They can leave a review, comment on a post you’ve shared, or even generate a post on their own and tag your business. This takes word of mouth to a whole new level: the value of a recommendation from one of your peers is probably one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. 

This works both ways. If a customer is unhappy with your service or product, this also gives them a platform to share those feelings publicly which might feel scary and off putting. But I’d challenge you to think about how those conversations would play out offline or without you having the opportunity to step in and make things right. Now you have the opportunity to offer clarity or a fix for the problem. 

This could actually be seen as an even bigger opportunity to build trust and show transparency with your customers. It sends the message that you really care and that their voice is important. 

  • Building relationships

Relationships are a two-way thing and social media gives your customer the opportunity to get to know you and your business on a whole other level. Showcase your staff, your company culture, your monthly internal awards, and empower your team to engage and get involved in those conversations too. Your staff can be your biggest brand ambassadors. 

  • Establishing credibility 

When a potential customer is looking for a service, the fact that you are on social media at all may impact their decision. Google also takes this into consideration. Having a presence on social media means that you are more likely to appear higher up in a Google search by someone who is searching for information or services that are linked to your industry. The higher up you are in these search results, the more likely people are to click on your page and explore what you have to offer. 

How much does it cost?

There are ways to do paid advertising on social media and these have actually proven to be very cost effective strategies. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay to get good exposure on social media, or that you need to spend massive amounts  of business funding if you do. Something as simple as putting a little bit of spend to boost a post that you notice has been getting good engagement can go a long way in sparking interest in new customers. 

Facebook, for example, gives you the option to boost a post to your existing audience, a specific audience that you choose, or to an audience that looks and behaves like the one you have already. There are other ways of advertising on social media, but they can get quite complex and technical if it’s not something you’re familiar with or if you don’t have a digital marketer on your team. 

Always go back to the data

There’s no point in running a bunch of campaigns and posting to your heart’s content if you don’t go back and look at how it has been received. Did one blog post shoot the lights out and get a significant amount of likes and comments? Well, you should probably put some focus and effort into creating more content like that. The goal is always to serve your customers with more of the stuff they like and less of the stuff they don’t. Use the analytics tools that each platform has to understand your audience and make sure your juice (what you produce and put out there) is worth the squeeze (your effort). 

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