An introduction to Social Media and how it can benefit your business

I have grown up in the age of Social Media - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all second nature to my generation and it's easy to operate under the assumption that everyone else can understand them as easily. Furthermore, as a digital marketer, I cannot neglect the fact that there are a lot of experienced, successful business owners that don't necessarily understand Social Media, let alone how it can benefit their business.

I recently met with Roger Govier - a well respected IT Consultant, Microsoft Excel MVP and self confessed 'skeptic' of Social Media. Roger admitted that his knowledge was limited and he simply didn't understand how Social Networks work or how they can benefit a business. Following our discussion, Roger suggested that I produce an guide that breaks social media down for people and business owners just like him.

What is Social Media? 

Social Media is defined as any website or mobile function that allows the sharing of content, ideas and messages between users. It is not just a webpage for broadcasting content (many mistakes are made in assuming this), it interacts with you while providing that information. Social Media is a two way street that allows you to communicate directly with like-minded individuals, influential professionals and most importantly customers.

What are the main Social Media sites?

Blog - This is one of, if not, the most important Social Media site. Regular, updated content helps maintain your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ranking, this helps increase your visibility online and ensures that your website appears early on in search engine results. Blog content also forms the basis for other Social Media activities and content scheduling.

Facebook (1.23 billion users) - Facebook isn't just a place for personal profiles consisting of pictures of your dog and latest holiday snaps. It's actually an opportunity to get thousands of people interacting with your business both online and offline. Users can share your Page and content with their friends, “check in” at your business location(s) and interact with your business directly.

Twitter (243 million users) - Twitter is a great way to stay up to date with real-time news and information around a particular sector or subject. Most importantly for a business owner, it allows you to 'listen' to the conversations that are happening around your brand, product or industry and engage with those users.

LinkedIn (277 million users) - On the face of it LinkedIn is pretty much a virtual CV, but as a business owner you can connect with experts, service providers, potential clients and could help with recruitment efforts. A LinkedIn company page functions in a similar way to Facebook in terms of content.

Instagram (150 million users) - Instagram isn't just a place for pictures of dinner, pets and sunsets. It can be used to elegantly showcase your products, update people on your latest promotions and offers, or let followers go 'behind the scenes' of your business. 

YouTube (1 billion users) - YouTube is a tool for providing quality video content for people who want to learn about what you do or useful “how to” type videos. The viral potential for quality digital marketing campaigns is huge.

Google + (300 million users) - This is Google's answer to the Facebook, the basis of which is to integrate your social media activity and content with your search engine. As well as personal profiles and 'circles', a Google + business page and regular content does wonders for your SEO. 

Others - There are a huge number of other Social Media sites like Pinterest, Vine, Foursquare, Snapchat and Flikr. There are always new Social Media sites being developed and staying up to date allows you to leverage these new networks in creative digital campaigns. If you want to talk about any of the above Social Media sites or have any questions, we'd be happy to help! 

Which ones should you use? 

There's no simple answer to this question, it really depends on your business, message and audience. Generally speaking, every business should have a website, blog and Facebook page - other platforms will come into play depending on the type of content that is best for your business. You can book a consultation session with us and we can help you decide which ones are best for your business.

What are the benefits of Social Media?

Social Media opens up whole range of opportunities for your business to grow, connect and engage with existing and new customers. You now have access to thousands of people that you never had before, you can listen to the conversations that are happening and gain vital real-time feedback. 

The ultimate aim is to turn fans and followers into advocates and the key to making social media work for your business is to publish regular, relevant and engaging content. 

This is where we come in - we specialise in working with businesses of all sizes and industries to help you understand your online audience and build effective, engaging content for your digital channels. We can also build the schedules, strategies and campaigns that make Social Media work for you. 

If you'd like to know more about how to get started with Social Media or simply have any questions, we’re more than happy to help. You can get in touch directly or fill out an enquiry form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

A free downloadable version of our guide can be found here.