Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

We’ve worked with countless businesses over the last few years,

to help them improve their online reputation and to help them grow and reach new clients. Social Media has become an increasingly important part of a businesses online presence, and an area that the vast majority of businesses seem to think they are comfortable and happy to use without guidance.

The problem is, that using social media for your business is vastly different from using it for your social life. In personal terms, you use sites like Twitter and Facebook to catch up with friends, share photos, gossip and find out about what’s going on in people’s lives. You don’t have a particular goal, or target to meet and can either share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. 

In business, whatever your line of work, your social media should be used to help you win more customers, to help solve your customers problems, or to spread the word about your business to potential new customers. Do you see a pattern here? Social Media for your business is part of your business marketing, and you shouldn’t go into it with any other attitude.

With that in mind, I’m continuously surprised at the number of supposedly professional businesses who make very basic mistakes with their social media presence. Mistakes that can undermine the hard work they’re putting in in the real world to grow their reputation and business, and can even damage their perception or put new customers off.

Here are some of the most common errors that I come across that you could easily fix to improve your reputation.

Broken Links From Your Website

Broken Link to TwitterHaving links from your website back to your social media pages so that people can follow you is great – provided those links work! If you put in the wrong link to your social media pages then your visitors will be confronted with images like these.Broken links to Facebook

You’ll have to hope that those people are keen enough to search for your pages so that they can find and follow you some other way – the chances of this are slim as most people have too short an attention span. Fix the problem by fixing those links!

No Profile Picture

No Profile PictureThere is no excuse for not having a profile picture. Having no profile picture suggests that you can’t be bothered to complete your details, or that you have something to hide. Even if you are actively using your account, having no profile image suggests otherwise. Given how easy it is to take a picture on your phone and upload it to social media it’s hard to justify not having an image even if your account is new – you can take an image and upload it within seconds. If you have a business account, then you don’t even have to have a picture of yourself – you could use the business logo. Using a logo or image gives your business an identifiable “face”. It means that your customers and prospects know that there is someone behind the brand.

Protected Account

Protected Twitter accountAs a business, in order to grow you need to consistently attract new followers. Those new followers over time could turn into leads, referrals or clients. If, like this company on the right, you have a protected account it means that people can’t follow you unless you approve them first. It might seem like a small step to take, but it puts a lot of people off. Ask yourself what you are hiding by keeping your tweets private? If something needs to be private then there is probably a better way to deliver it than via Twitter. Do your business a favour and make your Twitter account public.

Profile Instead of a Page

Businesses should have a dedicated Facebook page. A page is different to a profile that you will have for yourself. The image below shows a business with a personal profile page, which is actually against the Facebook terms of service. As a profile, you have friends meaning that you have to either request or approve someone to be friends with you. Pages have fans, meaning anyone can Like the page and follow the updates. Pages and profiles also have different permissions when it comes to interacting in Groups and promoting offers. Pages also give you access to useful stats and insights, whereas profiles don’t. Profile not a page

If you’re using a profile for you business, close it down and set up a genuine Business page.

For more tips and advice on how to manage your business’s social media presence then you can download my free guide, 49 exclusive social media tips for business.

What are your biggest bugbears that you’ve come across with business social media accounts? Let me know in the comments!

Social Media For Business Free Download

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Big News from Twitter last week!

They are increasing the cap on how many people you can follow from 2000 to 5000.

The follower limit is been in place as a way for Twitter to try and stop Spam accounts, or what it calls aggressive following. Following other accounts is one of the ways for other users to notice your account and many people will follow back someone who follows them. Following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts is therefore one of the things that Twitter monitors as it’s seen as being outside the realms of reasonable usage.

 

With the Follow limit in place, every user is now allowed to follow 5000 other accounts, once that limit is hit you see an error message that stops you from following any more people until you have more followers of your own. The number of additional followers you can add above 5000 is different for every user, but it is based on the number of followers you have. Twitter keeps the exact science behind this a secret so as to further discourage spamming.

 

Seeing as the previous Follow limit of 2000 seems huge, you might be wondering just how exactly having a limit of 5000 could benefit you and if you should even attempt to follow so many people.

 

Find out how Twitter’s increased Follow Limit can benefit your business! <-Tweet This!

 

Growing a targeted following on Twitter is a tough task, but once you have that following it is a very valuable asset. It means that those followers are interested in what you have to say, and are likely to be amongst the first people to react to new offers, updates and information that you Tweet out. There are many ways to go about growing a targeted Twitter following, and following your ideal accounts is certainly one way to get noticed. If that is part of your plan, then Twitter now allows you to follow an extra 3000 people, so it is a big deal!

 

There are several ways to find targeted users to follow, one suggestion would be to take a look at a similar business to yours and to follow the same people they do. If a certain number of these followers follow you back then you know they are interested in the type of things you’ll be tweeting about because they already follow an account similar to yours.

 

Make Lists

If you already follow more than a few hundred other accounts on Twitter then you know how quickly the tweets come through and how easy it is to miss updates. One way to manage your followers when you follow thousands of accounts is to create lists. Lists can be public or private, and can be made up however you want them to be.

 

For example, you might want to create lists organised by industry so you can see everything that the Legal industry is tweeting about, or everything that the Estate Agents you follow are saying. You might want to create a list of accounts that you know in real life, such as people you’ve met at networking events, or a list of businesses in your local area. If lists are public then anyone can follow them. A well curated list can attract a lot of followers in itself.

 

Public Vs Private

There are reasons to keep lists private too, you might want to have a list of your own customers and not want the world to know who exactly you are working with. You might also want a list of your competitors, or prospects so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.

 

Be More Social!

Another reason to follow as many accounts as you can is that the more you follow, the more information you will see. Whether it is news, opinions, blogs, jokes or anything else, bu following more people you are giving yourself more opportunity to see something that catches your eye, and to interact with the person on the other end. The whole point of social sites such as Twitter is to develop relationships and friendships, and to discover other like-minded people, and if you interact regularly with more people then that is a major positive.

 

Twitter has raised this limit for a reason, and while we may never know Twitter’s reason for doing this, us as Twitter users are left with a two options: Ignore the changes, or work with them. Which one will you choose? Leave me a comment to let me know, or better yet, Tweet me, @Big_Thinking

 

If you’d like more Social Media tips then download my free guide – 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Social Media For Business Free Download

How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

I’m Sure You’ve Heard About Social Media.

I’m also sure that if you have a business, you’ll also have some form of social media account for that business. What I would be surprised to hear, however, is that you’re successfully using your social media channels to generate new customers, clients or patients.

 

Whilst there are many businesses who generate much of their income from social media, and others who rely on social media for a large percentage of their leads, the vast majority of businesses do not manage to gain any discernible benefit from the time they spend Tweeting, liking and commenting on social media.

 

Winning new customers and generating leads via social media is not impossible, but if you’re not successful at it right now then you need to change the way you think about it, what you do with it and consider who you are targeting.

 

Which Social Media Platform is Right for My Business?

Focus on 1 or 2 Social Media PlatformsFor your business to thrive, you need to provide your customers with the best product or service you have to offer. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to show your best self on every social platform, and it’s also unlikely that your ideal customer will use every platform in the same way. Therefore to bring in new customers, you need to determine which social platform you can effectively and consistently utilise to extend your business to new customers. If your ideal client is another business owner, try LinkedIn. If you target general consumers try Facebook, if you have a products that you sell maybe Instagram will suit you. Focus your efforts on just 1 or 2 platforms.

 

Engagement is Key

A great way to get new business on Social media is to have your existing customers engage with your pages. Most of your existing customers should be happy to like or connect with you – after all they have hired you to do something for them! Your priority initially should be to keep your social media pages updated with content that is engaging and relevant to your existing customer base, so that they will want to interact with you.Interact on Social Media

 

Build Relationships

By doing so you will start building stronger relationships with them, putting you in a position to retain business and repeat customers. These loyal social media followers are the ones who will see your updates first. Get your message right, and your followers will be compelled to like your content, sign up for your offers, and spread the word to their own friends who are likely to be interested in similar things.

 

Update Regularly

With frequent, attention grabbing status updates and content that gets “shares” and “likes”, the more your page will be exposed to other people. As your page is seen by more people, your following will start to grow also.

 

If every update is about your business, then you may end up annoying even the most loyal of your customers. Remember, the goal here is to keep your current customers here for the long term, whilst growing your following at the same time. Growth is important, because if you don’t grow your following, or increase the audience you’re talking to then your sales will plateau. This is true however you market your business – if you don’t reach out to more people you won’t make more sales.

 

How Can I Grow My Social Media Following?

Grow Your FollowersTo grow your audience with relevant followers who may actually want to buy from you, you should make it as easy as possible for other people to share what you do. If you’re already sharing great content on social media then continue to do this! But you should also make sure that you have great content on your website that people want to share and that you have sharing buttons so that they can share it. Take a look at this web page – there are sharing buttons for all the main social sites – go ahead, share this to your followers!

 

“To get more people to share your content, provide more opportunities via social share buttons in numerous places throughout your site.” <-Tweet this!

 

Growing a relevant following on social media is not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It takes continuous effort and a good amount of determination but it is worth getting right! If you can consistently grow your following month on month then guess what – you will be creating those leads and opportunities that your business needs!

Did you like these tips? If so, you can download my free e-book 49 social media tips for business for a whole lot more!

What are your best Social Media tips? Leave a comment below.

The Many Uses Of Social Media

The Many Uses Of Social Media

To get the most out of social media for your business,

You need to think of it in a completely different way than you would for your personal life. In business, social media isn’t just about liking everything your friends do, or sharing pictures of all your meals. You have to consider all the ways that you can use social media.

Customer Service

Social media is great for customer service. Not only can your customers get in touch whenever they have a question, but other people can see your answers too. This means that you may answer one question that benefits multiple people in one go. If you’re lucky, other customers may even see the question and answer it for you! Even if you are asked difficult or awkward questions publicly think of it as an opportunity to show the positive and helpful side to your service to let other customers know that you’re willing to deal with any problems.

 

Reputation Management

Your public image is a huge asset to your business – or at least it should be! Social media allows you monitor what is being said about you, try searching your business name on Twitter and see what comes up! You can also use social media to share positive feedback from your customers, and as an added bonus, now that Tweets show in Google for branded search terms if anyone Googles your business they’ll see your recent messages and know you are proactive about your brand’s image.

 

Getting Feedback

Because of the instant reactions on Social Media, it’s great for getting a snapshot of public opinion. On Facebook you can post quick polls on group pages, on Twitter you quite often see people asking “RT for X or Favourite for Y”. Next time you are working on something and need some advice, why not try asking your followers and see what they actually want? The answer might surprise you, and cause you to take your work in a slightly different direction than you’d intended.

 

Lead Generation

Whilst it’s almost impossible to sell anything directly over Social Media, what you can do is use it to find yourself some great leads and prospective customers. Social Media is excellent for building up trust in your brand, and helping people to get to know and like you. These things are key to converting followers to customers. Make sure that from each of your social media pages there is an obvious way for people to find out more about your business, sign up  for email updates, or to check out your latest offers.

 

News Updates/PR

In the not too distant past, businesses that had an announcement to make had no choice but to try and get a story published somewhere. Now, every time you have any news, whether it’s a new CEO, a great Customer Case Study or a regular blog post, you can get it out to the whole world at the click of a mouse. There is no excuse not to publicise your brand on social media! In fact, the more you put out there, the more it will do to help spread the word of your business!

 

Brand Awareness

Social media allows smaller businesses to compete against much larger rivals in a way that isn’t possible with traditional media. Whereas big brands can spend a fortune on television adverts, that’s out of reach for small businesses. However, those big brands will still use social media, and YouTube, and smaller businesses will show right alongside them. For that reason, social media is great for brand awareness.

 

Networking

Whoever your ideal customer is, they will be on social media – it’s just up to you to find them! Different social networks have different networking styles. For example, on Facebook you should try and join groups that are relevant to your business. You can also join groups on LinkedIn, but on LinkedIn you can optimise your profile so that people can find you more easily in search. On Twitter you can follow conversations via a certain hashtag, something that many groups do regularly.

 

What other ways do you like to use Social Media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, so why not follow us on your favourite network and let us know more about you.

 

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to know more, then download a FREE copy of my ebook, 49 Exclusive Social Media Tips for Business

 

Want to know more about how we help businesses to stand out online then check out our Social Media PackagesSocial Media For Business Free Download

Tweets Appearing in Google for Brand and Personal Search.

Tweets Appearing in Google for Brand and Personal Search.

It seems that the deal that Google struck with Twitter

back in February this year, to make it easier to show Tweets on search is finally coming to fruition here in the UK.

 

On Friday search results were altered as new additions were being added. Recent tweets where being added to search for Businesses/Brands, individuals and for popular #hashtags. So now not only is your Twitter handle on display, but what you said, and how long ago you said it.

 

Business / Brand Name Search

Big_Thinking_Online

Searches for Individuals

google search for individuals

 

Search for Hastags

Latest tweets for hash tags

 

Why is this happening?

Google wants to present current search results.

Users want instant results and information about what is happening now and the integration between Google and Twitter means that Google’s search results can display up to date results.

Twitter wants more users on the platform.

From Twitters point of view this will mean that more people will sign up for the micro blogging platform as people will find links to twitter in more and more places on the web.

 

What are the benefits to businesses and brands?

Provides additional exposure to companies that have invested in building out their social platforms and developing their audience.

 

It also means that those that businesses that invest in sponsored tweets will get greater exposure. By Sponsored Tweets I mean paying Twitter for their Tweets to appear in other users timelines but also companies that pay celebrities and other power users to talk about their brand.

 

This update also has reputation management implications for brands businesses and business leaders as everyone knows how important it is to stay on top of social media. Now your latest twitter conversations are on display if anyone searches for you.

 

What should you do about it?

In order for this to benefit you the it would be important to keep your social profiles up to date. If the last information that was posted was 12 months ago then it might cause the potential client to ask the question why are they not keeping their information up to date. Can they be trusted to stay on top of my business?

 

Of course there is also the fact that negative opinion from current users of your brand can be highlighted to anyone that searches for you.

 

From an online reputation management point of view the new twitter box takes up a larger amount of space on the search results page meaning that if it can be kept up to date and positive it could be used to great effect to displace any other negative listings that are displayed in search results.

For more great tips on Social Media, download our free ebook, 49 Exclusive Social Media Tips For Business, or check out our Social Media PackagesSocial Media For Business Free Download

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Social Media is a really powerful marketing tool,

After all it is where most of your customers spend their time online – no matter what line of business you are in. Unfortunately, very few businesses, whether B2B or B2C get their social media strategy right.

 

Ineffective social media is at best a waste of everyone’s time and, at worst, bad for business.

So how can you be more social media savvy?

As with any form of marketing, a good strategy is needed and with a few tweaks along the way it’s what can set you apart from your competitors.

 

What are your goals?

First of all, what do you want to achieve with social media? Is it to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Improve sales or encourage customer loyalty? Most likely you will want something of a combination of all of these, they’re not mutually exclusive! However, in order to be clear about your message you should focus on achieving one or two simple goals. If you use the scattergun approach to try and tick all the boxes you will end up with a confused audience who will pay less attention to  you as your communication to them isn’t clear.

 

Set Objectives

One place where many businesses go wrong with social media is by not setting clear enough objectives. It’s not good enough to simply post whatever you feel like to social media (as you would on your personal profile) is you expect to see clear business gains.

 

Try using SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) based on the goals you thought of earlier. Make sure you can measure the goals you set. There are dozens of different online tools available to do this, many of them free. If you find that something isn’t achieving the results you want then tweak it slightly and keep track of the changes you see.

 

Know Your Customers

The key to any successful social media strategy is understanding your audience. There’s no point in curating a beautiful Pintrest page full gorgeous images if your target audience are more likely to be sharing cat videos on Facebook.

 

If you really have no idea about who your customers are and what they like then you could run a survey of everyone you serve just asking what sites they use and what they like to see online. From here you can start to build up a detailed profile of who your perfect customer is and tailor both your content and where you post it accordingly.

 

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Social Media is a very open environment. What’s great about this is that you can clearly see what many other businesses in your niche are doing. Spend some time searching for businesses similar to yours and see what they do on social media. Find out what seems to be working for them and see if you can adapt something similar for your own business. You don’t have to stick close to home either, look for successful competitors in other cities, or in other countries and find out how they are interacting with their customers. The customers they are trying to appeal to are the same people that you want to win too, so what works for them might work well for you too.

 

Choose your Platform

Don’t ever feel like you have to have a profile for every single social media site that exists. Different social media channels suit different people and different businesses, so it’s likely that not every site will suit you. For example, Linked in is very good for B2B relationships, while Pintrest is more visual. You can’t post the same content on those two sites and expect it to work. Think about what is best for your business – for example my business doesn’t have a Pintrest page because we don’t produce enough images to really engage with people there. We do use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter though because each of those sites fulfils slightly different roles for our Business (Click the links and follow us to see for yourself!).

 

You might also find that using too many sites will stretch you too thinly and you aren’t giving the quality attention to each group of followers that they deserve.

 

Plan your content

There are two important things to consider with content. First, the frequency. In order to really build up a relationship with your followers you need to post regularly enough to stay in their minds, but not enough so that people will become annoyed and unfollow you. There’s no right way to do this, it depends a lot on your own style and message. There is a wrong way way though, and that’s to post tons of stuff all at once and then forget about your page for 6 months. If in doubt, post consistently a few times a week and build it up from there.

 

Secondly, you need to deliver a good mix of content to keep people interested. Whilst everything you post should be in line with the objectives you decided on earlier, you should try and mix the formats up to speak to people in different ways. For everyone who loves an infographic, there will be others who only watch videos and all of those people could be your potential customers, so don’t forget to speak to them in different ways. Mix up your own blog posts with interesting items from other sources, local news and events or fun snippets.

 

Finally, remember that no matter how good your content is you need to engage with people to get results. Start conversations, offer advice and don’t try too hard to sell. It’s about being social!

 

If you’re not sure where or how to get started then check out our Social Media Packages!

 

What are your top tips for social media? Has something worked really well or not worked at all? Leave your comments below!

Social Media Influence the Hunt is On!

Social Media Influence the Hunt is On!

Social Media Influence the Hunt is On!

social media influenceBlasting out update after update on social media isn’t likely to do you or your business any favours in the long run. What you need is cleverly worded updates to catch peoples’ eye and be forwarded around by influential people. Easier said than done!

Any old retweet won’t necessarily add any value to what you’re already doing – I’m sure you’ve all had the odd tweet picked up by an automated account just because it contains a certain key word.

What you really need is to build Influential people into your network who help you by commenting and forwarding your message around their friends, family and network proving that your brand is one to be trusted and respected.

Influential People aren’t necessarily the ones with the most followers, and in order to prove that you are an honest and trustworthy brand you can’t just ask influential strangers to endorse you, the best endorsements are always unprompted.

So how do encourage Influential endorsements?

Be pro-active about building your network.

Again, I don’t mean follow everyone you come across. Instead, research who the top influencers are in your niche or local area and get in touch with them. Think outside the box as well, and maybe look at who the key influencers are in complementary businesses to yours. The benefit being, that if someone isn’t in direct competition to you then they may be more likely to recommend you.

Look after your existing customers and contacts

If someone is thinking about buying from you, they’re likely to be more influenced by someone who has already had that experience from you, rather than an “outsider”. So if you have happy customers retweeting your messages then their friends and family are the people they’re most likely to influence, another reason to avoid those automated accounts as they don’t have friends or family!

Make people feel special!

For everyone who spreads good news about you on social media, make sure you publicly thank them, or send them a message of some kind. If someone has made a real difference then perhaps think about sending a gift of some sort? You could also create some kind of reward program for top influencers, invite them to an opening night, or give them a discount against future purchases.

Add a Personal Touch

Building quality relationships takes time and you can’t expect to go from nothing, to the point where you can approach trusted contacts and ask them to promote something on your behalf. To get to that point though, one of the simplest ways to build trust and show friendship is to be a bit more personal. Start simply: Mention people by name in a post to attract their attention. Get to know a little about them as a person outside of their business, and offer a little information about yourself in return. Be careful what you post publicly, as no-one wants to put themselves at risk online, but by showing a little of your personality and humanising your brand you might be surprised at the difference it makes in other peoples’ perceptions of you.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Adjust your tactics depending on the platform and the person you want to attract or impress. What works well on Twitter in 140 characters may seem a little brief for your blog. Find a voice that works well for you while at the same time gives an honest reflection of your brand. Customers will soon see through any false attitudes, and likewise will turn away from you if you’ve not got the right balance. For example, don’t bombard people with Tweet after Tweet, and if you’re on Facebook but only update it once a month then don’t expect people to automatically jump on every word you say.

Join The Conversation.

Social Media is all about conversation and relationships. If you send out a lot of updates but never respond to any messages, or never get involved in other peoples’ conversations either then you will find it very difficult to become a recognised influencer on Social Media. By staying aware of current trends, commenting on other peoples’ statuses and retweeting updates from people who you follow you will probably encourage more people to get involved with your own work.

Becoming a person of influence is a status that many people strive for their entire careers, so don’t be frustrated if you don’t seem to be making the giant waves that want after only a short time. If your message is good and you mix in the right circles then people will start to notice you. What they notice you for is up to you!

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

15 Reasons Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy.

Whether you love or loathe Social Media in your personal life, it should be something you make an effort to get to grips with for your business. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 15 facts.

1. In order to save 25% or more, 67% of customers will like a Facebook page and 17% will tweet or retweet a deal.

2. Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing

Social media and inbound marketing

3. Social media users who receive excellent customer service from brands spend on average 21% more than non-social customers

4. 74% of brand marketers saw an increase in website traffic after investing just 6 hours per week on social media

5. People are 25% more likely to buy a product that they would be proud to own if it has social media buttons next to it

6. 20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there.

7. In an analysis of more than 60 Facebook marketing campaigns, 49% reported a return on investment of more than five times, while  70% had a return on investment greater than three times.

8. 53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand

social media and branding

9. Internet users spend 22.5% of their online time social networking

10. 91% of online adults use social media regularly

11. 44% of marketers have acquired customers via Twitter

social media and twitter

12. 55% of consumers share their purchases socially on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites

13. 77% of B2C companies and 42% of B2B companies have acquired customers through Facebook

14. Brands have seen a 46% increase in user engagement with the new Timeline format in Facebook?

15. Facebook users generate 2.5 times more page views than Twitter and almost twice as many as Pinterest (FB 7, Pinterest 4.1, Twitter 2.7) There you have it, pretty powerful numbers to convince even the most sceptical of social media users.

What are your thoughts on Social media for business? Have you noticed any particular trends from using it within your own business? Let us know! 

 

 

 

 

Sources

 

Which Social Media Platform is Right For Your Business?

Which Social Media Platform is Right For Your Business?

Which Social Media Marketing Platform is Right For Your Business?

In order to run a successful social media marketing campaign you need to know which platform will work best for your business. It’s worth getting this right, as the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report* states that:

85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.

And

58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.

Large corporate businesses that may already be household names are going to have a very different approach to social media marketing than a small, local business – social media marketing is definitely not one size fits all!

While there are benefits to dipping your toe in the water of multiple social media sites, setting up multiple profiles and then not utilising them effectively may have a negative effect on your business image. It’s probably worth concentrating your energy on a couple of the main social media platforms to ensure you get the most out of them, and only focus on other platforms if you know that they suit your business style or that you’re getting a specific benefit.

If you really want to maximise time spent on social media, then the three main sites I would recommend are Facebook, Twitter and Google+

social media marketing platforms

Social Media Platforms of Choice

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular sites on the web and over the years has evolved a variable and integrated tool for business marketing. By creating a “page” for your business you’re effectively creating a website on Facebook itself, allowing your followers to keep up to date with business news, offers and updates alongside status updates from their friends. With only a limited technical know how you can also use WordPress plug-ins (or equivalent!) to automatically post your blog posts to your Facebook page.

Facebook is very much a community so you’ll probably find that your followers don’t like anything overly sales related, but on the flip side the community spirit can allow for some great interaction with customers so it’s ideal for building brand loyalty.

Twitter

The shorter format of Twitter often means it’s more difficult to really build a relationship with customers, however it’s great for getting in touch and keeping up to date. Many businesses use Twitter primarily to release news, market their products, and direct attention to special offers and new content such as blog posts. Clever use of Hashtags (a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign) means that followers or users looking for information on a certain topic might find the information from your business even if they have never come across you before.

Twitter is a great way to get in touch with key influencers in your niche, simply follow them and start a conversation with them! As well as promoting your own blog post ideas, try retweeting good content that you find from other people; you’ll find it’s a great way to get in touch with a whole host of interesting people.

Click on the following link to learn How to Use Twitter for Business – 8 Tweeting Marvelous Tips

Google+

Google+ is a relative newcomer but is quickly becoming an important tool for businesses looking to increase their presence in the world of social media marketing. It may not be as popular as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t feel this is a reason to ignore Google+ for business. Even if all you do is to create a Google+ page for your business it’ll help you in the search engine rankings.

Google+’s circles allow you to customize your content by creating different groupings of followers that you can then market differently to. There is also a “Measure” feature to give businesses an interactive measurement of how their Google+ page is being used.

Come join us at our Big Thinking Online Google Plus Business Page.

The Best of the Rest.

If you feel you have more to gain from social media marketing and without stretching yourself too thinly then you might want to consider some of these sites too.

LinkedIn

Linked in is essentially a business networking site and many people use it as an online CV and address book of past business contacts. Use LinkedIn groups to find like-minded people in your niche and engage in their community. Every time you post you get a link back to your profile or website.

YouTube

Video marketing is hugely effective. It’s also popular with the Search Engines and at the moment is a relatively less competitive way to rank as there are still fewer videos than blogs. YouTube is now also under Google’s wing, another reason to at least have a profile and an introductory video.

Pinterest

If your business doesn’t revolve around good looking images then Pinterest may not be right, but if you can tie in images and pictures to what you do then setting up a few pinboards could be a great way to showcase it. Anyone from Estate Agents, to Cake makers, furniture upholsterers or travel agents could possibly use Pinterest to build interest in their products.

Foursquare

The premise of Foursquare is around people checking in to a location so that their friends can see where they’ve been. Any business that relies on foot traffic coming through the door might do well to run offers or incentives on Foursquare.

Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon is a social bookmarking site where users can “thumb up” articles they like. Users can randomly “stumble” articles across different topics. If your business puts out a lot of specific information you can build a following on stumbleupon, and the more likes you get, the more people will stumble your stories. Stumbleupon can sometimes drive enormous traffic to specific blogs, although it is harder to convert stumblers to regular readers.

With Social Media Marketing you need to learn to play to your strengths learn what your customers like, where they like to interact and how they want to consume information from you.
* Source = 2012 social media industry report

Which social networks do you find suit your business best?

How to Use Twitter For Business – 8 Tweeting Marvelous Tips!

How to Use Twitter For Business – 8 Tweeting Marvelous Tips!

How to use Twitter for Business – 8 Tweeting Marvelous Tips!

how to use twitter for businessThere are hundreds of thousands of articles all over the internet on how to use Twitter for business. In addition, Twitter is ever evolving, as is its user base, so it is almost impossible to write a guide on how to use Twitter for business that will be current next week, let alone 6 months time! So I’m not hoping to list every possible way to use Twitter for Business, just some of the points that I think are most relevant to bear in mind.

Don’t spend too much time on Twitter!

This can be easier said than done if you are following a lot of interesting people and want to read what they have tweeted, so it’s important not to get distracted. If you find this applies to you then set yourself a time limit. Check out Is Small Business Social Media a Waste of Time?

Make lists.

If you follow more than a couple of hundred people your Home page on Twitter will fill up very quickly, meaning it’s easy to miss Tweets from the people you’re most interested in. By grouping people you follow into lists you can skim through tweets much more easily, for example you could have a list for Business contacts, another for News articles, one for Interesting people, and maybe one for Celebrity Gossip!

Automate your Tweets

While it’s never a good idea to automate every single Tweet and response, it’s really good to take advantage  of some level of automation. There are numerous different free sites as well as paid sites that you could use (Buffer, Timely, Tweriod and Hootsuite are just some examples) so really it just comes down to personal preference. You can set up multiple Tweets to be sent at intervals throughout the day meaning you  can get on with other tasks.

Understand the difference between a Reply and a Mention

This is a subtle but important difference and it comes down to where in your tweet you place someone else’s Twitter Handle. If you place it at the beginning of your Tweet, for example “@Big_Thinking I loved your article!” then that is a reply and will only appear on your profile page, the person you’ve replied to and the feeds of people who follow you both.

By placing the Twitter Handle elsewhere in the Tweet, you make it a Mention and it will be visible to everyone who follows you, whether they follow the other person or not, for example, “I really enjoyed the article by @Big_Thinking”. Click here to TWEET THIS!

If you’re just sending out a simple response to someone, a reply is usually fine, but if it’s an answer that would benefit a larger group of people then by turning it into a mention more people will be able to see it.

Let People DM you by Following them back.

Direct Messages on Twitter are not usually the preferred form of Tweeting. However, there are circumstances where only a DM will do, for example if someone wants to give you a personal phone number, ask a confidential question, or for whatever reason finds discretion important. Direct Messages are only possible if you follow the other user, so make sure that you follow any customers, important contacts or business partners so that they all have a means of getting in touch with you off the record.

Respond to Questions and Criticism

Twitter is public, so if someone has asked you a question or has criticised you publicly don’t assume you can ignore it and no-one will notice. You never know exactly who else is looking out for certain questions, keywords or phrases and it may be that a question asked by one person has an answer that’s looked for by many. Likewise with Criticism, make sure you set the record straight as you never know how many potential clients may be waiting to see what you have to say.

#Hashtag when Appropriate

Using the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase in a Tweet categorizes the Tweet to help it be found more easily in Twitter Search. If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet. It’s a good way to get your tweets noticed by more than just your existing Followers but don’t spam with hashtags or over-tag a single Tweet. Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet. It should go without saying to only use hashtags on Tweets relevant to the topic.

Twitter is the best authority on how to use Twitter for business

 How to use Twitter for Business is not an exact science. As I said at the start of this article there are already countless articles, books and blogs on the subject, and there are many people who have made a full time job out of the subject. Don’t forget though that no-one knows Twitter better than Twitter itself,  so where better to look for help on Twitter than Twitter Help!

If any of you have any other favourite tips on how to use Twitter for business to add into these then please get involved and leave a comment!