We live in the age of social media everything. New platforms appear overnight and take the world by storm. Business owners, no matter their field, are kept on their toes when it comes to keeping up with modern consumers. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and a host of other apps are where businesses need to be if they are trying to compete with a tech-savvy consumer base. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about how they use social media for business and their replies are listed below. These tips might even help you find the right footing on social media for your business.
#1 – Two Pronged
I use social media as a networking tool to help develop relationships with people I've met. I connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. By following my connections and reading their posts I can see their interests, what they're passionate about, where they're traveling to and any business projects they mention or articles they post. Because of this when I see them again at a networking or business event we have more meaningful conversations and seem more like friends than mere acquaintances. I reinforce my brand recognition by posting strategically on Facebook. I adhere to the rule that only twenty percent of posts should be business so my ‘personal' posts reflect my personality and interests. Posting photos of events I'm attending and people I'm meeting with helps to position the type people I'm associated with and causes that interest me. Photos from my travels and convertible rides reinforces my Enjoy Life and Do Good! tag line. Photos of me posing with people at events where I'm speaking and my book signings reinforces my business but isn't salesy. It helps people get to know me and keeps them aware of my work.
Thanks to Myra McElhaney
#2 – Showing Testimonials
Since I am a millennial, I am able to actually understand how many people use social media on a daily basis. Many of my employees, as well as my friends, use social media at least once a day, I would be crazy to miss this opportunity. I use social media mainly to market my services and show heart touching testimonials. I can show many potential clients that many of my former clients had actually invited me to their graduation ceremonies because they were so satisfied and some were so happy of the achievements they felt that they could not achieve without my company. In addition, I use a web assistant which is included in my Founders’ Society membership which allows me to advertise to potential clients through social media by targeting demographics. Since a majority of people value others’ opinions rather than brand, I believe I have a chance!
Thanks to AJ Saleem, Suprex Learning
#3 – Targeting Potential
Social media has been invaluable for our business because of its targeting potential. Because we cater to the men's grooming market our audience is a relatively smaller portion of the overall market. Within that niche many of our products are targeted toward men interested in beard and facial hair products. To reach customers interested in purchasing our products we use social media to reach out to consumers with similar interests and in the process expand our reach to consumers that match the same profile. With the wide range of targeting options available on the larger social medial platforms we are able to fine tune our desired audience to those people most likely to purchase to prevent wasting our advertising dollars. By engaging directly with our audience we build a valuable source of high quality traffic to our site that is difficult to replicate with other advertising platforms.
Thanks to Thomas Cox, Ethos Grooming
#4 – Daily Updates
I just opened a brick and mortar art teaching studio after running a mobile art program in my local elementary school for two years. I use Facebook as a way to post photos of a day's art project and to let people know about upcoming classes. I tell a different story with Instagram, posting interesting art stuff that I come across. My best use of social media is Pinterest. I make boards to showcase my inspiration for a particular art project. I also post DIY images of the projects, as well as my students' work and articles related to the subject. I also do a free art blog for the RB Landmark where I write about art and link back to my projects, Pinterest pages, etc. It's one big loop!
Thanks to Kathleen Thometz, Doodle Art & Design
#5 – Connecting
I regularly meet potential clients, and I endeavor to have them think of me when they are in need of the services that I provide. To accomplish this, I use a two-pronged social media strategy. First, immediately after meeting potential clients, I connect with them via social media. Second, I regularly post status updates on social media so that those connected with me will see me show up on their newsfeeds. I try to keep these status updates split roughly evenly between posts about my professional accomplishments (so that those connected with me will remember what I do) and posts about what I'm doing outside of work (so that those connected with me will feel they know me better as a person). My small law firm just celebrated its tenth anniversary, and I attribute my success to this social media strategy.
Thanks to Chad Ruback, Appellate Lawyer
#6 – Aligning Your Business
Making sure you're present where your audience is vitally important. There's no point setting yourself up on social if your target audience isn't using it. If your target audience, for example, is young people, making sure you're present on Twitter and Instagram is vital. Making sure your social media accounts align is another thing to remember. Make sure they have a consistent look and feel to them, using same colourways and tone across all platforms. Lastly, don't try too hard. If you're new to social media for your business, it does take time to build up a following. Don't consistent bombard your followers with content and don't tag every Tom, Dick and Harry too. Spamming is never seen as a good idea in social media and will have a negative effect.
Thanks to Elena Lockett, FM Outsource
#7 – Brand Awareness
We use social media to create brand awareness, promote our content and build a relationship with your customers and potential customers. We post fresh content weekly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Many consumers today rely on a company's social media for current information on products and services and/or use social media as a gauge to determine if the company is active and open for business. A social media presence where the last post is six months old sends the message of a stagnant company. Facebook in particular is very cost effective with the ability to micro target content to a particular audience, i.e. insurance agents or companies with less than ten employees. We have a very active Facebook presence including regular posting of fresh content, paid ads and paid boosting of our posts. We also have a re-marketing campaign to show our ads in Facebook to those who have visited our web site and a campaign to gain new page likes.
Thanks to John Kinskey, AccessDirect, Inc.
#8 – Show Expertise
I use social media to help further position myself as an expert in my field, which is as a creative strategist and content marketer. I also use it to help share good press I or my business receives to help demonstrate our worth to clients and potential clients. Social media is a great tool to reach new audiences that you wouldn't otherwise have access to. Trust is one of the most important factors to consider when building a brand and using social media to help showcase my brand value and knowledge helps to create more trust for the client.
Thanks to Hilary Young, Hilary Young Creative
#9 – Promoting Blog Content
At Company Folders, we use social media platforms to promote our blog content. Social media is the ideal way to connect with an audience, because you can choose who you want to see your post and how you want to reach out to them. Our blog is aimed at helping graphic designers do their jobs better, so rather than just tossing our posts out into cyberspace, we use social media to connect specifically to the design community. We share our content with our current followers on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook. Then we promote those posts, which lets us reach out and connect with new people. By constantly working to cultivate our social media circles, we're growing our blog's reach as well.
Thanks to Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc
#10 – Audience Education
We are in the business of manufacturing sticky products, such as stickers, labels and decals. With our products, we help small businesses create sticky brands. Social Media are the best media for us to educate a large audience on the benefits of using sticky products for branding purposes. We’ve created a series of educational videos on Youtube that saw great success (Some with more than 100,000 views). If a picture is a thousand words, a video must be a million! Especially if you have a physical product, we recommend the use of social media tools that are image and video focused. And before you sell your product, educate your audience on the benefits of using your product. Customers will thank you later!
Thanks to Andrew Witkin, STickerYou
#11 – Building Campaigns
My company uses Social Media in two different ways. We build and manage campaigns for our clients as well as maintain Social sites for our own business. Our goal in both cases is to create brand awareness through our Social Media campaigns. Too often we meet with clients that believe Social Media will drive sales and increase the bottom line of their businesses profitability. Our approach is much different than this theory. We don't believe customers are using Social Media to find and make buying decisions. It's more common that a potential customer might find a business through an engaging post or a creative giveaway that might capture the users attention. Giveaways are by far the most popular way to create engaging content for our clients. These giveaways will often receive a large amount of shares, likes, and net new followers. The most challenging part of a giveaway can be talking our client into giving something away for free. They might not always see the value in doing this type of campaign.
Thanks to Michael Buckner, MB Marketing Group
#12 – Networking
I find social media is an excellent tool for networking, staying current on industry news, and building valuable connections and awareness for my startup. Of course, like many people out there I’m always sharing our latest product releases, press features and blog posts on Facebook. But actually, my favorite platform as an entrepreneur is Meetup. Unlike many other social media outlets, it offers a great combination of modern social media and good old-fashioned networking. Not only do the events offer great take-aways for my business, but it’s also much easier to engage and build relationships with potential clients, partners and reporters when you meet them in-person. I don’t think any other social media outlet offers that same advantage, and as an entrepreneur I find all these benefits to be especially significant.
Thanks to Sagi Gidali, SaferVPN
#13 – Involving Strategy
Social media strategy is something that may seem frivolous from the outside looking in, but in reality it requires a deep and cohesive vision in order to see success that actually pertains to your goals. More followers does not always equal higher online brand equity. Believe it or not, we don’t care about market share! Having 5,000 followers who have no intention in buying your products or services are completely useless. It is far more effective to garner a following who actually engages with your brand and has the ability and intention to buy from you. To take your social media strategy to the next level, a secret tool that most brands do not include in their strategy is engaging with Facebook communities and subcultures. This tool takes more involvement and time, but it is well worth it (and free!). There are Facebook groups that foster a community for all kinds of interests and topics. There are Facebook communities for everything ranging from health conscious parenting to left handed business owners. These communities and sub-communities are constantly engaged on these pages and love to have a dialogue about their special interests. Thanks to social media and human nature, it is easy to find relevant Facebook communities to spark a dialogue that both introduces your brand and creates a personal connection with the audience. This is one of the most meaningful ways that a business can really grow their brand on social media.
Thanks to Eric Farlow
#14 – Customer Engagement
While there is a lot to be said for the value of social media in terms of customer engagement, the one overlooked aspect for business is its effectiveness as part of the overall SEO plan. When strategizing for business applications, we stick to an active posting calendar, but ensure that when new blog posts are shared those social posts are liked and reshared by all the members of the team. This creates a massive boost in the virality of the posts, which increases the search positioning of the blog post itself. That backlink is crucial as part of the overall authority scheme, and while it does require company-wide buy-in on the daily planning, it turns out to be one of the simplest ways to boost authority ranking for the company website.
Thanks to Steve Baric, SMB Web Services
#15 – Distributing Material
As a digital marketing company that handles social media for multiple businesses and organizations, we believe social media as a distribution method for marketing material. However marketing has changed into a personality rather than a form of business communication. For example, just the fact a business who has social media profiles and one who doesn’t already gives the formal more credibility. We help our clients (businesses) form their own personality by concentrating on what makes them different from their competitors (Like an actual person Woah~). Recently social media networks are pushing more tools to advertisers and business owners to directly communicate with their following. It is easier to cultivate a community like this which strengthens a business’s reputation and performance. The people taking pictures of your food? Location Based Tagging? All marketing opportunities.
Thanks to Abraham Kim, Kiovic