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Use social media to generate business

Gone are the days when all you needed to do to generate customers for your business was simply to put up a website and build a few backlinks to it. These days customers are expecting to not only see a website but are also expecting to see a range of social media options like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Linkedin etc.

Just when the majority of small business owners had got their head around keeping their website up to date and posting the occasional blog they are now faced with the daunting task of keeping multiple social media platforms fed. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning you can combine a number of tasks and make it reasonable.

What platforms to use

The social media platforms that you use will depend to a great extent on the type of business that you have. Firstly, all businesses should probably set up a Facebook account as it extremely popular with users and seems to work across the spectrum of businesses. Similarly, I would suggest that the majority of businesses also go with a Twitter account as it has broad popularity. Linkedin on the other hand has much more of a corporate flavour to it so is probably not essential for a beauty salon or corner store. It may however be perfect for a professional services company like a chartered accounting firm, architects or a legal firm. Similarly, Pintrest and similar photo sharing platforms may be great for a homewares store or a swimwear seller however it is probably not going to work for an accounting firm or an insolvency practice.

Get your design right

While we would certainly recommend posting your own posts and maintaining your own accounts, we would only suggest creating your own artwork if you are either an experienced designer or if you have a really good feel for design. While social media may feel like it is a bit more casual, from a business point of view it is important that all of the design synchronises and works really well together. Our suggestion would be to talk to whoever has designed your website and get them to build the artwork for the other sites. That way you can present the same theme across each of those sites seamlessly and really give your visitors a professional experience.

Outsource your posting?

Once you start getting into the whole social media for business scene, you will end up finding that you are spending a good chunk of your day (or evening) putting your posts together and uploading images etc. It will be at this point that you may well start thinking to yourself that it could make sense to outsource some or part of this task to either an external resource or someone else within your organisation. Our advice in this regard would be to proceed with caution. Whilst it may be tempting to recruit a social media person from India or the Philippines who charges $5 per hour it may actually not be a great fit with your organisation. Our advice if you do choose to outsource your social media posting would be to pick someone who has a reasonably good idea about your business or about your industry. Pick someone who can answer questions and communicate at a reasonable level with your visitors. Whilst this may cost you a little extra however in the long run it should pay off.

What to post about?

Once you have your design sorted across all of the different platforms and you have worked out who is going to be doing your posting you need to work out a schedule of topics of what you are going to post and when you are going to post it. You should probably start by sitting down and brainstorming the types of topics that your audience will find appealing. If you are a tax accountant then maybe you should post about some of the latest tax rulings or some recent case law that could add value to your readers business. If your business is more of a social business like a personal trainer or a hairdresser then you may want to post images of your latest venues or some of the latest styles that you have been doing. Regardless of your business type you should probably think about mixing it up a little and having a few humorous posts that might appeal to your readers on a Friday afternoon or when they are viewing your posts on the weekend. Something to always keep in mind however is that if there is a controversial issue that you are commenting about or that you would like to comment on you should probably refrain from expressing an opinion one way or the other. If it is a controversial issue and you align yourself with one side it is likely that you will offend a percentage of your followers who are aligned with the other side.

Make use of automation

There are a number of software packages out there that automate the posting of your social media entries. These packages allow you to post the same post to a number of different platforms as well as setting up a schedule for when your posts go through. Examples of the packages that are available would be Hootsuit.com or Zoho.com. Both of these packages help to simplify the tasks of posting and scheduling.

Follow your competitors

If you are considering getting into social media then it is likely that your competitors will also be either considering it or will already be involved with it. Following them serves 2 purposes, firstly, it will give you an idea of how well they are competing on this front and whether you need to lift your game or throw more resources at the project. Secondly, if you follow what they are posting it will give you some ideas in terms of topics that you can post on. Also, if you look at how many views, shares or likes they have for those posts it will give you a good idea of what the market wants to see.

Link back to your website

Don't forget to link your social media content back to your website content (and vice versa). This will then add to the authority of your website and should help with your Google rankings. It should also hopefully drive additional traffic back to your website which will hopefully then convert into customers.

Summing up

Unfortunately the online landscape is changing rapidly. One of the major changes over the past few years is that social media has become extremely prominent and is almost a must have for every business out there. When you do get around to launching your social media presence you should make sure that your design flows across all platforms and gives the same professional impression regardless of where your visitor is. Where possible, you should also look at getting an automated platform that can help you to spread your posts across a number of platforms plus also allowing you to schedule your posts.

Getting a live telephone answering service from Ruby Receptionist makes good business and financial sense. If you would like to find out more about our services then why not give one of our helpful sales representatives a call on 1300 72 10 73. We will be happy to help.