Getting Started with Social Media for Business

Your business is growing; reaching many people and your customer base is loyal, ever available and will happily tell their family & friends about you.

You marketing is based in newspapers, magazines & through word of mouth. But you don’t believe in online media despite everybody using Facebook & Twitter, you also don’t see the benefit it would bring your business.

This is a situation I’ve found myself in a few times over the last few years, encouraging businesses to embrace something online, utilise social media and reach a whole array of potential and existing customers. Now in a hospitality environment working on social media, I have an enormous array of images, stories & topics upon which to build a large community & talk to people.

No matter your business or the service you provide, there is at least one social media network for you; somewhere to show your wares, maybe interact with your community or even guide them in their lives. I’ve outlined what I believe are the easiest ways to get started and the simplest networks in which to build a community from scratch.

Facebook

  • There are more than 1.2billion registered Facebook users, it is the largest social network around & you can guarantee most of your customers have Facebook profiles of their own. I’d always recommend this as a base network to work from, building a page, and linking out from there to your website or other networks.

Facebook lends itself to lengthier updates, photo albums & actually has a very different demographic to other networks. Regular, active Facebook users are now more likely to be aged 30+ and it is also the network those aged 50-60+ are likely to use. This may benefit your company more than other networks, plus if you have a small marketing budget, Facebook is easily manageable by being to spend a small amount of money to promote posts to key demographics.

Twitter

  • With more interactions and a daily growing user base, probably the most popular social media network around. 140-character snapshots into your business, talking to your community & customers on a much more personal & friendly basis than Facebook which has a broader aspect to your updates. Post links, pictures, create a conversation using hashtags. Just by talking to people you’ll give a face to your business that many would not have seen before.

Just reach out and follow brand peers, similar companies & other influencers in your industry to begin with, once you’ve built up a nice following base you should receive reciprocal follows and your community has begun.

Instagram

  • Basically a smart phone & tablet based photo-sharing network; which also allows you to link into Facebook & Twitter, covering a few bases if time dedicated to social media is at a premium. Every photo is a story, telling something about your company, the people within it, your products, or just the weather in the town or city you’re based. Celebrities, big brands & sports team embrace Instagram as giving their followers a little window into their world.

Adidas are a great example, showcasing new clothes & footwear, as well as supporting their brand sponsors, players & sportstars. They also work on their #Allin hashtag across every social media network as well as their big-budget advertising, linking everything together.

Blog / News Page

  • Don’t be afraid to incorporate a news/blog page to your own website. Every company has news; new team members, new products, sales & offers. This doesn’t always have to be serious, it can provide a heart to your business, gives and insight you may want your customers to see. Then by writing a 300 words or more on the topic you have a piece you can socialise and give snapshots to your community via any of the networks you are on, driving real, interested traffic to your site.

The best way to start with dipping your toes into social media is just by trying to connect with your existing customers & building your community around them. They’re already interested in what you do, so use them to promote your business and do the legwork for you! You don’t even have to use every update to promote your company.

Give each network some nice shiny photos & images for your profiles, don’t ignore your bios and reach out & interact!

A great example, used as reference in almost every case, is that of Innocent Drinks; almost all of their social media updates are just there to be funny, be it a photo, a joke or even create some conversation around a topic. They very rarely promote their products.

Whichever networks you decide to venture into first, stick by your ideas and give it some longevity, growing your community will take time and effort, but by spending some time on it every day will bring benefits almost instantly and in the long run bring new customers to you.

About the Author

  • Simon BowersSimon Bowers

    Simon is Assistant Manager & Social Media Manager for the Victorian Chop House Company, returning to hospitality in April 2014. He has previously worked in the SEO and digital industries, as well as a lengthy career in Hotel Management. before that. He has been a blogger before, writing about fashion, social media and Manchester, his adopted home.

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