When talking to clients the initial conversation, is often around the usual suspects in terms of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. It is fair to say that recently other platforms that are increasingly in the public consciousness are also getting a mention, such as Pinterest and Instagram. However, the world of social media has an ever growing list of options available to users and identifying and using the right one for your company and target audience can create amazing results.
So, here are a few social media platforms that you might not have considered before, but could well be worth a look.
A discussion forum enabling users to seek and exchange advice on a wide range of topics including parenting.
It is possible to register as a blogger on their site and contribute tailored content on a regular basis rather than just contributing to the forum feeds, although this also has a great value.
For those in the hospitality & tourism industry this is an invaluable tool for staying in touch with your customers and responding to both positive and negative comments.
A great platform for businesses to speak to the right audience.
This may seem yet another unusual choice, however this cross mobile messaging app can be used to set up groups and could potential be used as a customer service tool to deal with inbound enquiries.
Another option could be to use it to offer unique promotions and important news updates relevant to your clients.
Blab is along the same lines of both Periscope and Meerkat, although it allows a two way conversation rather than the user just live streaming their content. It differs from YouTube where record content is uploaded for viewers to access as and when.
The main drawback with Blab is that it currently has a comparatively small user base, however this is growing.
There are many more social media platforms out there and undoubtedly many more yet going through the production process as I type. The aim of this article is to highlight that there are other options available to businesses beyond the standard platforms that are mentioned on a more regular basis.
As social media becomes increasingly attractive to a wider range of business types and sizes, the pressure is on to utilise the options out there in a more creative and audience specific targeted way, to ensure your voice is not lost amongst the crowd.
Social media is an integral part of a marketing strategy brands around the globe. We all aware that we ought to be doing it at some level and we need to be creating and sharing "great content".
However, the day job is keeping you busy and you can't seem to find the time to concentrate on your social media campaign on a regular daily basis.
However, fear not there are a number of easy to use tools out there that can help to take the stress out of social media and help you find and create great content as well as scheduling it.
Here are 3 great tools to help you with your Social Media content.......
Let Google Alerts take the stress out of finding regular quality content that is relevant to your industry, business or clients.
From Buffer to Hootsuite to Socialpilot or Facebook's own scheduling system, there is no need to be permanently glued to your PC or mobile device to ensure your posts appear on your feed at the optimum moment.
Scheduling tools allow your original content to be shared to your social media platform of choice, whilst you are out doing the day job or simply taking some well-deserved time out.
Overall images gain greater engagement on social media than just text posts, but for most of us design is best left to graphic designers.
However, Canva is as their slogan states "amazingly simple graphic design software" enabling even the least creative of us, to design eye-catching info graphics and social media posts.
If social media whisperings and rumours are to be believed, Twitter is in the process of working on a new product that potentially would not be restricted by the current 140 character limit.
Although currently it is unknown how this change would be introduced or what it could look like, the possibility of introducing a long content tweet function has been referred to on some social media blogging sites.
Since the launch of the company in 2006, the 140 character feature has been intrinsically linked to the brand. Since its launch the restriction has come under some scrutiny from outsiders and has recently come to the fore again under interim CEO and founder Jack Dorsey.
The last 12 months have already seen a number of changes introduced to users, which have enabled them to go beyond the 140 characters. The “Quote a Tweet” option that had been available on some mobile devices but still required the total tweet to be no more than 140 characters, has now been replaced by the “Retweet with Comment” function allowing additional characters to be added. Very recently the “Direct Messaging” function was expanded allowing up to 1000 characters.
As other social media platforms appear to be eclipsing Twitter follower numbers, the pressure is on to make the platform more accessible to a broader spectrum of users. However is the removing of the character limit the way forward?
A possible tweak rather than wholesale removal of restriction could see links and usernames not included in the character count, but who knows?
At the moment no one is clear as to what the future may or may not hold for the format of Twitter and some of these suggested possibilities may get dismissed along the way. Ultimately evolving constantly is a key requirement for businesses growth and survival in an ever changing highly competitive market; but possibly tweaking the character limit which is so strongly identified with the brand would be preferably to removing it altogether?
In this digital age of virtual shop fronts located on the internet and social media the new networking space, do companies need to go out and promote themselves at networking events and exhibitions?
Like with so much this is very much down to the individual company. However, in our opinion the answer is a definite yes.
The fact of the matter is that no matter how far we have come, even in the 21st Century, people do business with people. Both networking and exhibitions allow your brand to engage directly with potential customers, build relationships and often to realise that there are potential customer needs or business opportunities you had not considered.
With this in mind Social Media Solutions are heading off and exhibiting for the first time in October at The Yorkshire Business Festival.
Although quite prolific in attending a broad variety of events and networking opportunities, we have never crossed over from the side of delegate, but (after much debate at SMS HQ); we feel it is time to dip our toe in the water and see what happens.
Like with any marketing, we have considered the cost against the potential gain and will be keeping track of the R.O.I. Although, coming face to face with our target audience and with the opportunity to have relevant conversations with individuals who may or may not be aware of what we do, is potentially priceless……….fingers crossed!
Currently there are around 40 million business pages on Facebook, which by anyone’s standards is a lot of competition when looking to make your page stand out.
However, there are a number of simple steps you can take, to make your page gain greater interaction and help you stand out from the crowd.
Here is our top 10 guide.......
1. Provide a look behind the scenes
Audiences love to see what is behind a brand and “behind the scenes” photos are a great way of promoting your company, team and products. Images of how products are made, setting up or taking part at events or even the odd general office post, can all help connect you with your audience.
2. Get shouting about your customers successes
Social media is, as the name suggests, social and a great way to link with other brands and audiences is to highlight your customers’ successes. Mention them in a post and if you know they have a page on Facebook, link their page to your post.
Start typing the Facebook name of your customer using ‘@’ as a prefix; Facebook will suggest corresponding company pages as you type.
Select the relevant page and include the link in your comment. The company will receive a notification that you have mentioned them. Not only will this help to keep you at the forefront of their mind, but you are also likely to receive an interaction from them in return, be it a comment, share or ‘Like’.
3. Get Sharing
Ask your customers to share some of their photos to your page, for you to comment and ‘Like’ and gain mutual interaction and engagement.
4. It's not all about me?
Okay, we know we are always saying that social media is not about an “all about me" approach; however, there are exceptions and you can use your Facebook page to showcase your successes. Just launched a new product, nominated or won an award or maybe been asked to speak at an event?
These are all fantastic news for you and your company and you should rightly let people know what’s going on.
5. Get creative
6. Have your finger on the pulse
Use images that reflect current events or time of year to tap in to what is happening and of interest to people. A good content strategy can really help to ensure you don’t miss tapping in to important events that are relevant to your business and your audience.
7. What's in a #Hashtag?
Admittedly hashtags on Facebook have not become as established and user friendly as on Twitter. However, this does not mean that they are not relevant and including a carefully chosen hashtag on your post, can help piggy back your business in to relevant conversations.
However, we would suggest using this approach sparingly.
8. Inspiration & Motivation
Research shows, that overall, images on social media receive better interaction than plain text. Inspirational quotes can be very effective and teaming the two together can engage your audience, where text alone may not.
9. History in the making
As you and your business grow and develop, you will undoubtedly pass certain milestones. Share these with your audience and make them feel they are taking part in the journey. From completing your first year in business to taking on your first employee or landing a particular contract, share the news and you will more than likely find that your audience will respond and celebrate these milestones with you.
10. Make it personable
People buy from people and with any company it is important to reach out beyond the branding and show some personality. It is not necessary to give out personal details, but by being personable and responding accordingly to comments, your personality will be reflected in your brand.
We hope that these tips help you increase audience engagement on your business page. However, if you have questions we can help you with, just post them on our Facebook page.
From Facebook to Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter and countless social media sites in between; these platforms have become a common focus for businesses looking to market their brand and raise consumer awareness.
However, there are still a number of frequently asked questions around social media marketing that we hear on a regular basis.
1# What is the difference between a Facebook profile and a business page?
A Facebook “Profile” or “Timeline” is the personal Facebook experience, which allows you to show your preferences, experiences and interact with connections.
The Facebook business page option, gives a company a social media presence, where it can raise brand awareness and interact with followers and their potential target audience.
As a sole trader or single entrepreneur it may be preferable to connect with potential prospects via a personal profile, instead of using the business page option. However, before making this decision, it is worth taking a look at Facebook’s terms of service to clearly understand the differences.
One of the main advantages of a company page over a personal profile is search engine visibility. In addition to this, it enables brand consistence across the web presence of a company and attract individuals that are truly interested in the brand.
Please note that in order to set up a business page, it is necessary to have an active personal profile.
2# Why do I need a Blog?
The overall aims of social media are to raise brand awareness and drive a potential audience back to your website; a blog is an excellent tool for promoting expertise, sharing experiences and giving advice.
It can also be used multiple times to ensure you are getting the most from your blog, in terms of raising the profile of a brand and directing footfall back to a website.
3# How much time should I spend on Social Media?
This is very dependent on which and how many social media platforms are being used. However, with a content strategy in place; spending just 10 - 15 min on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or similar each a day, can be enough to greatly increase awareness of your brand with no cost in paid advertising.
In addition to this, there are a number of scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer that can help promote a brand through scheduled post, without the need to be tied to a desk.
4# What do I need to do to be successful on Social Media?
To maximise the return on social media it is necessary to set realistic goals and audit the social media strategy of the company on a regular basis.
Ensure that you identify and connect with influencers in your industry, share and interact on the relevant platforms and respond to your followers.
5# What mistakes will I make using Social Media?
We hope that this guide has been of use; however, if you have a question you would like help with and we have not covered please let us know.....
Following several requests, here is our quick ‘How to Guide’ on setting up your own Company Page on LinkedIn to promote your business.
Before starting, ensure a company page does not already exist.
Are you eligible to set up a page?
For LinkedIn to consider you eligible to set up a Company Page you must:
Are you ready?
LinkedIn does not offer a save or preview function here, which means as soon as you publish your page it will be live on the site. So, once you have checked that you fall within the relevant criteria, to set up the company page, ensure you have:
Min 646x220 pixels in a PNG/JPEG/GIF format and landscape layout
100x60 pixels (image will be resized to fit) in a PNG/JPEG/GIF format and landscape layout
50x50 pixels (image will be resized to fit) in a PNG/JPEG/GIF format
A company description of 250 – 2000 words is required as part of the company page. Think about what and how you wish to inform your potential audience about your company.
The relevant contact details, registered address, year founded, industry type and website details etc.
Time to set up your page
1. Go to your Homepage and hover over the interests tab and select Companies
2. Select Create in the Create a Company Page option on the right
3. Enter your company’s official name together with your work e-mail address. If the e-mail address differs from the one linked to your personal profile an e-mail message will be generated to confirm the different details.
4. Click on Continue and enter the relevant company information
LinkedIn also offers the opportunity to create up to 10 Showcase Pages linked to your Company Page, but that we will save for another time and another blog!
All set up and ready to go on Twitter, but now wondering how to find and engage relevant followers? Not sure how to maximise the time you have available to work on your social media strategy?
This workshop will look at how to make Twitter work for you, including:
1. How to find and engage followers
2. How to source good content
3. Scheduling & Automation
Over the course of the session we will look to help business owners maximise their social media presence on Twitter, engage with potential customers and raise brand awareness.
To find out more and register for your place, click here
You have cleared some time in your diary, made yourself a cup of tea and sat down to write your next blog or social media post and then…………….nothing!
This scenario is one we often hear from our clients and the solution to this can be found by creating a ”Content Strategy”.
By planning slightly ahead, when you come to write your blog, tweet or post you will already have an outline of what to write about.
We tend to advise clients, that they should start with a 3 month plan which they then can add to and review on a regular basis. The first attempt is often the hardest, however here are some suggestions on how to approach the task.
Each business and industry is different, however often exhibitions, national days to mark certain occasions, trade shows etc. are detailed well in advance. Include these on your plan together with any #hashtags, website details and relevant social media accounts you may wish to mention when tweeting or posting at a later date.
From website launches, to promotions and competitions; if it is your business you will know about what is happening and what will be of interest and relevance to your audience.
Also mark in your diary the dates you wish to start promoting these events, together with a note of how e.g. as a teaser post, a potential post share, image etc.
2# Google Alerts
It is impossible for an individual to accurately monitor the web for all potentially relevant articles, so why not let Google help? Simply google “Google Alerts” and set up a relevant search for keywords that are of interest.
Once you have set up the alert together with the relevant parameters you will receive regular updates in your inbox of news stories that you can share, comment on etc.
Depending on your business answering questions relevant to your business and industry, can be an easy way to find great ideas for your blog content. Often we are far too close to our businesses to see what others may find of interest or relevance.
If you deal with clients, ensure you note down any questions they have as these are more than likely to be of interest to other potential clients and always ensure that you are getting the most from your blogs.
Hello & welcome to the Social Media Solutions Blog! The aim of our blog is to bring you news, hints and useful guides to help you take charge of your social media strategy and promote your brand.