Social Media 101
There was a time when millennials were the primary users of social media – using it to show off vacation trips, graduations, or a perfectly plated filet fish …. it was essentially a virtual photo album. It became a way to communicate and receive news. As the world has evolved, so has the use of social media. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to make changes and adapt to virtual living and learning making social media one of the most useful tools for communications and marketing. Now, more than ever, businesses are relying on the power of social media platforms to get their products or services out to the world and stay connected.
Social media greatly impacts the way we communicate with our audiences. It allows businesses to build relationships with their customers and market their products and services through a creative platform. It has become a powerhouse in brand representation and has replaced handing out business cards with showing up on your audiences’ news feed; live events with webinars; and verbal kudos with likes and views. If building a social media presence is not a priority for your company, you may want to reconsider. Social media branding has become the main if not the only resource to survive the pandemic; it’s imperative that businesses take heed. It allows businesses to connect with customers, increase brand awareness, and boost sales and visibility.
Where should I post?
It can be challenging to determine which social media platform is best for your business. Narrowing it down to a few platforms allows you to focus your efforts and get the best return on your time investment. Ask yourself these questions to identify your best options:
Who is your target audience?
What are you trying to accomplish?
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are a few of the more popular platforms for businesses to engage with other businesses, employees and customers. Each platform caters to a specific audience, so determining your targets is key. LinkedIn is beneficial for connections and networking on a professional level. Benefits include building your professional network, increasing exposure for products and services, and increasing credibility. LinkedIn provides a network for reviewing a supplier’s reviews and experiences. It also shows shared connections with other business. It also offers recommendations from both past employees and clients.
Instagram is the home of the hashtag which can be useful for startups trying to make a name for themselves. The right use of hashtags can set your company apart from others by making your company more recognizable. Instagram finds different ways to connect businesses to followers and gives your company personality. Instagram’s Stories feature helps to build rapport and credibility. Instagram also offers an insights feature which provides feedback on how your content is performing. This data can help to strategize what and when to post.
Facebook provides a way of interacting and engaging with customers which can also help your brand. It allows you to build an email list to stay connected and maintain long-term relationships. Facebook has the “Pages to Watch” feature which is great for getting posting ideas from other pages. If you notice a page has gained a lot of new likes, you can head over and see what they are doing differently. Providing customer support is also easy using Facebook as it allows businesses to respond quickly to resolve problems faster.
When should I post?
Knowing when to post on social platforms is just as important as the content you choose to post. However, there is no right or wrong answer. It requires research based on your audience. Typically, the best day and time to post on LinkedIn is Tuesday through Thursday, between 8 AM to 2 PM; the time when most professionals are active on the platform. A social media calendar is a good way to plan, stay organized and keep track of what to post and when. Most social media platforms have insights or analytics to keep track of how well your post does. Hootsuite, Hubspot and Airtable are a few commonly used social media management tools for businesses that are ideal for scheduling, creating content calendars, and identifying the best times to post.
There is no question, regardless of the type or size of your business, social media should be a line item in your marketing budget. It is continuing to change the way we market our brands and how we reach our customers. A good social media strategy is vital to ensure you get a return on your efforts. It will take time and commitment but can truly have a positive effect on your business.