Social media can be overwhelming. There are so many different platforms, from Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Snapchat. And there’s so much to think about – how do I start, what do we share, how do we interact with customers, where do we find the time. We’ve put together some tips that we hope will get you started.
First things first, it pays to be social. Social media is where your customers are and it’s where they’re shopping, researching, browsing and making connections. By having a social media presence you can keep your brand in front of your customers and form connections with them.
Choose the best platform for your business
The good news is you don’t have to be on every social media platform. Not every platform will suit every type of business. So before you create a profile on all the platforms, think about who your customer is and which social media platform they use.
• If you provide services to other businesses, creating a LinkedIn Company Page would be a good starting point.
• Facebook and Twitter are ideal for companies in the retail and services industries.
• YouTube is a great platform for brands who want to show people how to use their products or who make simple how-to videos.
• If you have a strong visual brand, why not try Instagram or Pinterest.
• Business targeting customers in their late teens or early twenties can make excellent use of newer platforms like Snapchat.
It’s all about understanding who your customer is and where they want to interact with brands.
Once you’ve set up your profile on your chosen social media platform, it’s time to get creative. This can often be a stumbling block for businesses who aren’t sure what kind of content they should share. Don’t rush into anything. For the first few days do your own research, look at what other brands are doing on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and identify what seems to be working, i.e. what kind of content is getting the most engagement.
We’ve seen a great example recently of a local hairdresser called Zinc Hair and Beauty which is making fantastic use of Facebook to sell its products, promote its brand and establish its staff as experts. Their updates are personal and informal and give behind the scenes glimpses of the salon staff at work, which is a great way to attract new business. They also produce regular weekly blog posts, which work well to showcase their work and their staff. We’re so impressed by Zinc Hair and Beauty that we’ve featured them as our very first Business under the Spotlight on our Facebook Page, where we highlight businesses that we think are using social media creatively.
If you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, Snapchat might be the platform for you.We have seen some examples of pubs using Snapchat to recruit staff for new outlets.
Think about creating video content
Video has become one of the most shareable forms of content on social media. YouTube is the main video sharing website with 1 billion users but you can also share videos directly via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (via its short video app Vine). A great example of an Irish company using video well is Hairspray Ireland, a hair products supplier, which has reached almost 10 million views on its own YouTube channel. The company creates videos showing customers how to use its various hair extension products. The videos have helped to raise brand awareness for the company.
Short, informative videos work best. Think about making short how-to videos or perhaps behind-the-scenes footage of your products being made. This kind of original, helpful content is often just what customers are looking for.
Engage with your customers
Make sure to listen to your customers too. They can often be a good source of inspiration. Do they want to get to know your staff better or find out more about your products? Ask them what they would like to see you sharing on your Facebook page. Invite them to be part of your social media activity through competitions on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers – they’ll appreciate that you’re interested in their opinion and it could help to form a closer connection.
If you’re using social media as a channel to engage or communicate with customers make sure you don’t let that activity peter out. If your customers get used to engaging with you via your Facebook Page or on Twitter, then it’s important that they can continue to do so.
Check out our Facebook Page for tips and ideas on how you can use social media for your business.