Social Media For Business
Social media has a massive hold over us in 2020. From humble beginnings with Myspace in 2003 (here’s the history for those of you who weren’t around then) and Facebook in 2004, social media has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry that is used by 3.8 Billion people every single day. But what about social media for business? Does it have the same draw for the corporate world as it does for those of us on a train, or sat “watching” our kids at sports practice? Let’s find out in our Everything You Need To Know About Social Media For Business guide.
OK, let’s start with some numbers. There are over 3.8 BILLION active social media users in the world. That’s just under 50% of the global population who are actively engaged with at least one social media platform. At this point do you really need convincing that social media is important for your business?
Well if you genuinely are still on the fence let’s throw some more facts at you. According to Hootsuite, the average amount of time spent daily by internet users aged 16 to 64 on social media was 2 hours 24 minutes. Yes that is less than the 6 hours 43 minutes spent on the internet every day, but it is still a sizeable amount of time. Things get especially interesting if you are targeting Iceland, Kuwait, Qatar or the UAE (who isn’t right!) as they all have 99% internet penetration.
Simple fact – as a business you NEED to be on social media. End of story. Well not quite.
Which Social Networks Do Businesses Use?
There are now too many social media networks to sensibly count, even on the internet, but only a limited subset are relevant to the average business.
The default tool for B2B activity in the western world is LinkedIn. The site is frequented by over 660 million users and acts not only as a broadcast medium for businesses large and small, but has rapidly become a major player in the recruitment market. Numerous advertising options exist on LinkedIn for businesses, both free and paid for, and you would be hard pressed to find a medium or large business that does not have a LinkedIn presence and strategy.
But LinkedIn is not the only platform for business.
In the B2C world the consumer social networks rule. That means Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are all fair game. There are numerous resources online that will give you differing perspectives on which network is best for you. Our advice – experiment! Try the different channels, see what works and then work it!
Related Post: Information connectivity player Zapier discusses which social network to use for business.
Related Post: LinkedIn vs Facebook – which is the best for business?
How Do You Develop a Social Brand?
Any online presence (be that social, a website or a directory listing) is an extension of the overall brand of your business. Any we all know how important a brand can be. Think of the leading brands and you think of Apple, Nike, Amazon and so on – all leaders not just in their respective fields but equally importantly in the creation of their image, or their brand. Take Apple – yes the technology is fantastic, but a lot of people buy Apple kit as soon as it comes on the shelves simply because it is fashionable to buy Apple. This is brand epitomised.
Developing your own business brand to the same level as Apple may be a little ambitious, but you still do need to pay attention to brand creation, and management. Take a look at this short blog sharing 5 Tips for Creating a Social Media Brand. For me the most important aspects are consistency and cadence – people need to know who you are, what you do, and where and when they can find you. Get these aspects right first, and then move onto more elaborate branding aspects.
Related Post: 5 Tips for Creating a Social Media Brand
What Metrics Do You Need for Social Media?
The ultimate aim of course for social media marketing is to get a message or campaign that goes viral. Millions of views, shares and likes would be fantastic. But coming back to reality, for most people they are looking to show two things:
- Increases in audience and engagement
- Return on investment on their social spend
Both of these are business focused metrics that require slightly more granular measurements to be able to evaluate properly – and this is where your 5 Key Social Media Metrics come into play. What are they? Well you can get full details in the associated blog, but for completeness they are:
As a business using social media to promote your business you absolutely need to track all of these metrics. From these you can plot the growth of your audience and their engagement – check in business box 1. Once you have that, identifying the revenue that comes from social media can be a little trickier, but is absolutely achievable.
What sort of values should you be getting for each of the metrics? Well – that is a harder question to answer as every business is different. Our advice – look for percentage growth in each of these, month on month, but give it at least 2 months if you are looking at organic growth. Paid advertising (which we will talk about below) can give you faster increases, but for a cost obviously.
As an example, we recently provided our social media management service for a small tree services company. They had an established Facebook presence with a small audience, but were struggling to know what to post to generate a) a larger audience and b) real revenue from the posts. Within 8 weeks of starting the service, we had grown their reach by over 3000% and delivered a return on investment of over 250% (that means for every £1 they spent, they got £2.50 back in revenue). And remember, these figures are all based on organic growth – not paid advertising – so you would expect their audience to stick with them and keep interacting.
Related Post: 5 Social Media Metrics You Need To Track
Paid Advertising on Social Media
OK – let’s come straight to the point. At Instinctive we believe that organic growth for social media audience and engagement is by far the best, long-term strategy. It delivers a slower, but more consistent, route to achieving the social goals for most businesses. However, there are situations where an organisation might need faster results – a shot in the arm for lack of a better phrase – or be looking to enrich the organic results they are getting. In scenarios such as these paid advertising comes into play.
We could create a whole website on this topic (and many have – see below), so again we will issue the same simple advice as earlier in this article: first understand who your ideal audience are, then determine which social platforms they engage most frequently with. Once you have these, then you should know which version of paid advertising you need to be looking at.
For now, here are some of the most popular paid advertising offerings in social media for you to explore further:
Related Post: Understanding the role of organic vs paid social media
Where Do I Get Social Media Training?
As with most things marketing-related, delivering good social media results is a mix of science, art and hard work. However, the importance of good quality training is something that cannot be over-emphasised. There are lots of great resources – a number of which we will list below – but simple advice here: start with defining who your audience are, and which social channels they interact with. Once you have that understanding, then you can begin to craft messages that will resonate with them, and really use the training listed below to its best potential.
Related Post: What is Social Media Management?
- Skillshare – Introduction to Social Media Strategy
- Hubspot Social Media Training Courses
- Coursera – Social Media Monitoring
- Wordstream – Pay Per Click University
And of course, if you prefer a more hands-on learning experience we at Instinctive are more than happy to help – just get in touch.
Do Social Media Influencers For Business Exist?
There absolutely are some fantastic social media influencers for business. And thankfully finding them is normally pretty easy – a search for “top social media influencers for <x>” where X is your industry will typically yield a myriad of listing style blogs. Our tip here – don’t 100% “believe” the first listing you see. Very often these listings are heavily weighted in favour of the author’s network – for obvious reasons. Take a look at at least a half a dozen of the listings and you’ll start to see the real influencers in your space, and be able to reach out to them to work with you.
However, one set of influencers that many businesses overlook are their own employees. Think about it for a second. Everyone wants their company to succeed (ok – let’s say “most” to be entirely accurate) – and many already share social posts that they see from their employer’s social profiles. But the missing link here is that these type of posts actually hold much more weight than posts from the corporate account. People buy from people is the old saying, and people respond better to personal posts than corporate social profiles. There are a number of ways to encourage so called “employee advocacy” – ranging from incentive schemes to employee of the month awards. More details on what employee advocacy is and how to encourage it can be found in the following articles:
Social media for business promotion is here to stay. Whether you sell accountancy services, sheep or drill for oil, social media can play an important part in getting you in front of existing and potential customers. There are many parts to an effective social media management programme as detailed above – but the most important part is to actually put the time and effort into social. If you do, ultimately you will be rewarded. Good luck – and see you in social land!