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Tuesday, 4 October 2016
Help Grow Your Business With Social Media for free!
The search engines are placing more growing emphasis on social signals as a way to determine their search results. Therefore, this article is tailored towards social media and how to gain an advantage using it.
Social media consists of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. The two most well known of these are Facebook and Twitter. They are the perfect platform for engaging, communicating and interacting with your clients outside of your website, in real time. If used productively, they can help you further build your relationships with your clients and show off what amazing services you provide. In turn, this should help your company’s growth and search engine ranking too.
If you think that your industry doesn’t suit social media and you’re not confident that your customers are online, then let us look at a few stats that would suggest otherwise:
1) 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media
2) There are now over 1.15 billion Facebook users
3) And over 550 million registered Twitter users
4) 93% of marketers use social media for business
5) 89% of adults between 18-29 use social media, but 60% of 50-60 year olds are active and so are 43% of people over the age of 65!
It is most definitely an avenue you need to explore and use to your advantage, and if you haven’t started doing so, it’s about time that you did!
FYI: There’s one thing you must make sure you’re prepared to do before creating a social media profile, and that is to commit to using it. We will warn you now, there’s nothing less appealing than a potential client finding a half pulled together, irregularly updated profile page. Firstly, there will be a competitor doing a better job and secondly, it will poorly reflect your business. You need to remember that everything you create outside of your website, visible to the public, is an extension of your brand and service. And it will require time and energy to make sure it displays how ace you are.
Where to start?
Let’s begin by addressing two of the most powerful and influential social media networks, Facebook and Twitter. If you’re totally new to social media marketing, these are the two we advise you to crack first. Both parties allow you to create ‘pay per click’ advertising campaigns, but below we’re going to discuss what you can gain for free.
Facebook for free
Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg back in 2004. It began as a means for college students to communicate online and is now used across the globe for personal and business use, by over 1 billion people. Crikey!
To make the most out of Facebook for your business the first thing you need to do is:
Create a business page
- You’ll need to have a personal Facebook account to be able to create a business page, so if you haven’t one already, go sign up
- When you create your business page, Facebook will allow you to request a web address such as www.facebook.com/Boost-Local-UK-1778664009020723/ This will allow your social page to reflect your domain name/ website, making the transition between the two easy and associable for your users
- Invite your existing clients to ‘Like’ your page. You can contact them directly through Facebook, or send an email letting all your clients know that you’ve arrived on Facebook and to ‘Like’ you for real time updates
- You can create Events on Facebook. So if you’re opening a new shop, why not invite your clients to it via Facebook? Or, if you’re about to launch a new service or product, you can create interest and demand by creating an Event for it
- You could also form a Facebook group. For example, if you have a specific service you want to discuss with a potential client/s, you could create a group to converse through and plough information into. These can be made private so only who you want to see them, will see them
- Facebook Messenger will allow you to contact people directly. For example, a client may hit you with a query on your page and you can respond via Facebook messenger directly and privately
The above points quickly summarize Facebook for business, but for more detailed info have a read here: https://www.facebook.com/business/overview
Twitter for free
Twitter was born in 2004 and allows you to ‘tweet’ a short burst of information to your followers. There are over 500 million users worldwide and hundreds of millions of tweets sent every day.
Sign up and Tweet
Write 140 character messages to engage with your clients. These updates can range from questions, to try and engage clients, links to blogs and news on any updates/ offers available.
Follow existing clients and businesses with shared interests to create a Twitter community.
Like Facebook, you can direct message followers/ those you are following, so you can engage privately through the network too.
This is also a condensed description of Twitter, but for more info on how you can utilize it for your business, head here: https://business.twitter.com/basics
Tip: Two basic symbols to know about for both:
@Name: If you @name e.g. @BoostLocal, you will be directing your message towards them, or tagging that person in the post. For example, I might write: ‘Hey @BoostLocal, why is your service so affordable?’ Boost Local would be informed of the message and be able to respond to you directly.
#word: You can use a hashtag in a tweet/ update before a relevant word to categorize it. For example, when we blog we always include #seo. This means if anyone is searching for SEO on Twitter/ Facebook, they’ll see our post in the search results.
There are tons of guides online that will assist you in far more detail than we have above (another time!) but we wanted to give you a snippet of ground knowledge to get you started.
Facebook and Twitter are just two of many popular social networks. LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are following suit and definitely ones to consider when growing your social profile portfolio.
How to use social media to help grow your business
So, you might have managed to get yourself a profile set up but it can be a little overwhelming to know what content to publish, so here are a few ideas on how to engage your followers and use it to help grow your business.
This is the type of content we prioritise publishing. By producing content that educates our client base, it helps them learn how to use our services effectively whilst also improving their knowledge of online marketing. This could be done via a blog, for example, if you specialise in web development, it would be good to write an article on the difference between template and bespoke built websites. Or, if you know that your clients aren’t utilizing a couple of your products optimally, make them aware of it by sharing more information about them.
Question and Answer
Don’t be afraid to ask your followers questions. As a suggestion; If you’re thinking of upgrading your website, ask your clients what they like most about it already and what keeps them returning time after time. These types of questions will help you learn more about your business from a user perspective and discover what works well and what doesn’t.
The questions don’t always have to be related to your service! Q&A’s are simply a great way to generate interaction. For example, if there’s a series being broadcast on TV that you know a lot of your clients are likely to be watching, ask them about it!
As your business grows, you are sure to expand on your initial product offerings. Sharing these ideas and new products via social media can be a great way to generate interest and gain feedback too.
Social media can be another platform to share your customer testimonials or success. This will be the kind of information potential clients are looking for and you want to persuade them to convert. For example, if you’re an online estate agent, you may share information about properties that you’ve just sold and how much money you have managed to save your client/s!
Let them see YOU
Behind every business are real people, would you believe, and we’re not all that different, really. So it can be good to drop the barrier and give your clients an insight into the people that keep your ship sailing. So if you’re out on a team building day, don’t hesitate to upload a picture of all those happy faces to share with your followers and potential clients. If your followers can put a few faces to the brand, it’ll help gain trust.
You might want to share news of current offers too. Occasionally, you could share a special deal solely for you Twitter/ Facebook fans. This will help generate business, increase your popularity and also give you an idea of how many people are engaging with you socially.
Another factor to consider is customer service
Your customer support is likely to extend to your social profile. If a client wants a quick response or has a complaint to make, it’s common for them to reach you by posting a public comment. Don’t be put off by this, just make sure that you check your account/s everyday so your response is quick. How quickly and in what manner you respond will impact how other potential clients view the question/ complaint/ concern. If you can rectify the situation and generate a happy outcome, then it will turn even a negative situation into a positive one.
When it comes to deciding how often to update your social media profile, this varies depending on the kind of business you run and how regularly you feel it necessary. Don’t publish content for the sake of it; quality over quantity really comes into play here. We always try to publish one educational post per week and a selection of shorter ones throughout it. If you develop a structure for your posts, you may find some regular followers that will come to anticipate them on particular days and times. Get to know your audience and establish when your posts receive the most traffic and which kind generates the most engagement. Most social networks offer some analytical tools to help you do this.
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, not only will all this hard work and socializing benefit the growth of your business and help strengthen your brand, it will assist your search engine rankings. We are confident that search engines are accommodating social networks in their algorithms and are going to do so more and more. With such a huge amount of people operating within these platforms it would be silly of them not to. Their main goal is to return the most accurate search results possible, so assessing social signals will help them choose what is most relevant to rank.
Get an unfair advantage!
Once you have set yourself up, you’ll be eager to gain some followers/ likes and attract some attention. Boost Local (www.boost-local.co.uk) offer a service that helps you to generate likes and follows to your page. All the likes/follows it generates are from reputable businesses.