How to Use Social Media for Business

Social media networks can be very effective marketing tools for any business. They provide a quick, convenient and economical way of reaching your audience with marketing messages. In addition, they are very powerful tools for networking with other businesses. Here are some tips for using social networks effectively for business:

1. Twitter

Twitter is a popular social network with over 650 million users all over the world. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a 140-characters limit for its updates, also known as tweets. It is therefore ideal for businesses that would want to send clear and brief marketing messages to its audience. So how can you make use of Twitter for business?

  • Create a business profile – Your business profile creates the initial impression about your business or brand. Therefore, make sure your profile accurately describes who you are and what you have to offer.
  • Follow others – Follow individuals or businesses who would be interested in what you have to offer. Take time to follow their conversations and engage with them.
  • Learn the lingo - To use Twitter effectively for business, you will need to get familiar with terms such as retweets, hashtags, direct messages and mentions.
  • Post regularly – Use Twitter to inform your customers and prospects about the latest developments in your industry or business. You should also take time to retweet helpful information posted by others.
  • Monitor conversations - One of the best things about Twitter is that you can keep track of what people are saying about your brand or industry. This can be done using tools such as Commun.itTweetDeck and HootSuite.  

2. Google Plus

With over 550 million users, Google Plus is one of the fastest growing social media networks. It offers a great opportunity for networking with customers as well as other businesses. Here are some guidelines for using Google+ for business:

  • Create a profile – Make sure your profile projects you as an authority in your field. Remember to use keywords relevant to your industry in your descriptions and titles. It is also very important to add a clear photo of yourself.
  • Create different circles – Google+ Circles is a feature which allows you to divide your connections into different categories. For instance, you could create circles for customers, prospects, business associates or friends.
  • Post consistently – Once you have created circles, you need to share helpful posts regularly with your different audiences. This could be updates about your business or brand, or the latest industry information.
  • Join a Google+ community – Google+ communities are groups where people discuss different topics of interest. Participating in relevant groups will give you the chance of connecting with potential customers.

3. Pinterest

With more than 70 million users, Pinterest is a social platform where people share visual content. This could be anything from DIY projects to exciting recipes and attractive artworks. Businesses that deal in visually-oriented brands will find this social media network especially useful for marketing their products and services. Here are tips for making the most of this social network:

  • Organize your boards – Pinterest allows you to create ‘boards’ where you can pin images. Make sure you have separate boards for different services and products.
  • Include Pinterest widgets – This will make it easier for people to ‘repin’ your images, thus enabling you to reach a wider audience with your marketing messages.
  • Write descriptive text – Though Pinterest is visually oriented, you need to accompany your images with text. This is particularly vital when showing product images.
  • Participate actively – To succeed with Pinterest, you need to engage other users actively. Take time to follow others, repin their images or leave comment. This will allow you to build a strong relationship with prospects.

4. Instagram

This mobile-based social media app, which is now owned by Facebook, currently boasts more than 150 million users. Most of these users are young people under the age of 35. Instagram allows you to share photos instantly with your connections. Businesses and brands can use Instagram in different ways:

  • Display products – Instagram is an ideal platform for showing off images of your products. If you offer services, you could share photos of a successfully completed project.
  • Show the production process – Customers and prospects would want to have an idea of how your products are created. You can share images which take your audience step-by-step through the production process.
  • Demonstrate product uses – You could post images showing the different ways your product can be used. Service-oriented businesses can show ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of a project.
  • Introduce your personnel – Your audience would be interested to know who works at your business. Instagram is ideal for sharing photos and profiles of your staff.

5. LinkedIn

With a user base of about 280 million, LinkedIn appeals to a well-educated and mature audience. It targets professionals in different industries and thus offers a great opportunity for businesses to network with others in related industries. Here are some guidelines for using LinkedIn for business:

  • Create a professional profile – A LinkedIn profile could be considered your online resume. It should contain information such as your current and past positions, your education and your experience. Remember to include a clear photo of yourself.
  • Include recommendations – LinkedIn allows you to add recommendations from people you have interacted with previously. Having such endorsements will make your business or brand appear credible.
  • Customize your URL – When you create a LinkedIn account, you will get a default URL. Make sure you edit this URL to include your name.  
  • Connect with others – Find other people who share your interests and connect with them.
  • Utilize LinkedIn apps – LinkedIn offers different apps which can improve your user experience. For instance, people who travel a lot would find an app such as TripIt useful.

When used properly, social media networks can significantly improve the reputation and bottom line of your business. Other platforms you could explore include YouTubeLevel Up, Reddit and FourSquare.




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