Going social – what you need to know

Social media strategy is a crucial part of any successful business plan. With the recent market predictions stressing the importance of social media presence for businesses, it's more important than ever to invest your time and money into marketing your company on social media.

Statistics from Social Media Examiner shows that;

  • 93% of B2B marketers use social media to market their business
  • 85% of marketers reported that the number one benefit of social marketing is that it generates more business exposure
  • 74% of marketers reported that social marketing has increased their site traffic.

Being followed on key social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram is an incredibly strong signal of online affinity for your business. These prospects are showing an active interest in your business and are asking to hear more from you.

Let's take a look the most popular social media platforms and how they can help you with marketing your business.

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool for not only marketing and promoting your business, but also engaging and connecting with the audience and attendees in real time. According to Social Media Today, Twitter's growth remains steady. Last September Twitter announced a figure of 15m users in the UK. What’s more, Twitter claims that the majority of its users are active on mobile devices. So if you’re planning to use Twitter for a large part of your social strategy, be sure to have a mobile responsive website.

Facebook

There are more than 31 million people using Facebook every day. This platform is more than just a way to stay connected to friends and family, it is a primary part of the marketing toolbox.
Facebook allows your business to be available to people on a trusted, popular platform, where prospects can see “real” people interacting with you and your business. According to the latest statistics, Facebook growth has come to an end. Comscore has recently reported a 1.5 million drop in users compared to last year's.
The largest demographic remains the 25-34 year old so if your customers fall into this age bracket, stay active on Facebook and keep engaging with your viewers. Similarly to Twitter, most Facebook users are mobile only so ensuring your website is mobile responsive is vital.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a leading social networking site for professionals. The focus is on education, work, companies and professional interest. It allows you and your business to engage in professional conversations, add product and company recommendations to show credibility and give a voice to your products through showcase pages and company updates. In April 2014 the product and services pages were replaced with Showcase Pages, allowing you to extend your company page presence by creating a dedicated page for prominent products and services. A Showcase Page should be used for building long-term relationships with members who want to follow specific aspects of your business, and not for short-term marketing campaigns.

Instagram and Pinterest

Finally, we have two image based platforms that seem to be the biggest growers: Instagram and Pinterest. According to Social Media Today, “Pinterest is very much the platform of the hour, with huge growth and a lot of innovation happening during the past year. The last time we had UK user stats they were tiny, at around 200,000 users – these figures date from late 2011/early 2012. Recent data puts the number at over two million, at July 2013. Still not huge compared to the Big Three, but if your organisation is right for Pinterest then that’s more than made up for by the levels of sharing and direct sales that the site is driving”. The runner up is Instagram showing an increase in global users of 15% in just two months.

Developing your Social Media Strategy

There are various ways to choose the best social media platform for you business. You can check your competitors, see what social media they are doing and improve on it. Another way of doing it, is to set up all described social media accounts and monitor the engagement in Google Analytics. You can create a Channel Group in your Analytics to analyze the collective performance. Set a trial period of 6 months, study the traffic and engagement level and decide which social media platforms work best and which are not worth your time and focus.