Have you ever considered why large companies around the world use Facebook, Twitter and the like? It’s because social media in business is an ever-growing platform. It gives them an almost instant connection with customers, both new and existing. Why wouldn’t they want to be able to connect with their customers?
Whether it’s answering customer queries or gripes, by being on social media they’re ensuring they can be on the pulse of things that the general public are saying about them and respond almost instantly.
Think about it, if you could reduce your email intake and be able to respond to a query quickly and in 140 characters or less, you would… wouldn’t you?
Social Media in Business – Why Should You Be Doing It?
For all of the reasons above but also at least a handful more.
It’s true, people want an instant connection with the brands and companies with which they do business. So, if you’re not on social media then how are you satisfying their instantaneous desires?
Are you relying on email to get the job done?
In 2018 email is still as popular as ever for marketing purposes, but for queries and complaints, social media use is firmly on the rise. If you want to appear more engaged with your customers then sooner or later you need to take the plunge.
Given the growing use of these platforms, a social media presence will soon become a factor in how a person chooses a company to buy from or interact with – so don’t get caught in the cold.
Which Social Media Platforms are Best for Businesses?
The social media platform that will work best for your business is the one you’re most familiar with, to begin with. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for personal use already then you’ll be familiar with how it works and so you should start there.
However, if you’re new to social media altogether then consider the following questions.
- Does your business provide a visual service such as Photography, Web Design or Landscape Gardening?
- Is your business online based and focused on content writing such as a blog or news-style website?
- Does your company tend to focus on Business to Business (B2B) sales?
- Do you provide a service that would make for interesting watching such as a Design Company or a Builder?
- Do you rely on word of mouth from friends and family to generate more business?
If you answer yes to any of the above then there’s a ready-made social media platform out there ready to help your business grow!
Top Social Media Platforms in the UK
Here are the top 5 social media platforms in the UK that would be most beneficial to your business. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and usually a combination of 2 or more works best in the long run. However, it’s just important to get started with one and build up from there. Once you have a loyal following you can simply ask them to follow you on other platforms!
Here’s a quick summary about each platform, in future posts I’ll do a more in-depth write-up on each but for now I just want to give you a high level overview of what they’re about.
As of 2017 Facebook has over 2 billion monthly users worldwide!
In the UK alone more than 32 million people have a Facebook account, making it the most popular social media platform in the UK. If your business is truly UK-wide that’s a lot of potential customers you have at your fingertips.
Using Facebook for business couldn’t be easier. You set up a page through your personal account (you will need one to get started on a business page) and then add your business information and you’re good to go!
Facebook allows you to publish written posts as well as photos and video if you wish. This functionality allows you to showcase your business in the best way possible. It’s super easy to invite friends & family to like your page, in fact, of all the social media platforms out there it’s definitely the easiest in that respect.
Facebook also offers the option to run adverts for your business. With Facebook Ads it’s very easy to target the exact people you want to see your business too, but more on that in a future post!
With almost 20 million UK users Twitter is a platform to be reckoned with. More suited to short and snappy updates (tweets) as you’re limited to just 280 characters, Twitter takes instant contact and engagement to a whole different level.
The platform clearly has plans for growth having recently, towards the end of 2017, increased the character limit from 140 to 280. Obviously they noticed that people had more to say!
Setting up a Twitter account for business is even easier than Facebook. You just need an email address to get started. You’ll need to come up with a Twitter username (handle) and then you can add a brief description of your business plus a link to your website and even the date of formation as your birthday!
Twitter also has the ability to run ads, although the performance isn’t nearly as good as Facebook the last time I checked… perhaps I’ll run an experiment soon and compare to various platforms’ performance.
Twitter was also the platform that made the hashtag (‘#’) famous. If you’re not sure what a hashtag is, it’s a way to denote the topic of a tweet. For example, when I tweet that this post is live on the blog I’ll likely use #socialmedia #business. This then allows anyone searching for either of those terms in Twitter to find my post.
Every photo-lovers paradise, Instagram is somewhere to show off your visual talents. If you’re in an industry that allows you to show off beautiful pictures or even before & after shots then consider using Instagram as your platform.
Instagram’s user-base worldwide is rumoured to be around 600 million, with around the same number as Twitter here in the UK (~ 20 million).
Creating an account is as simple as Twitter and posting is arguable even easier. Either snap a photo there and then or upload an image you’ve taken beforehand.
Instagram also makes good use of hashtags and you can write a caption alongside every photo you post. However, it does lack the ability to add links to websites in each post which means it isn’t best for people like bloggers who prefer to link directly to new posts. There is a workaround to this in that you can update your profile website link or just refer people to that each time, however, it’s not quite as simple as either Facebook or Twitter.
Instagram is probably best for creative businesses and it makes it super easy to find others doing similar work to you when searching hashtags.
Designed specifically for business networking, LinkedIn now has a UK audience of around 21 million.
Unless you’re in the B2B market this won’t be the platform for you. The premise behind the site is that you connect with people you’ve worked with or would like to work with. By connecting with theses people you’ll grow your network and potential reach.
People are increasingly using the platform as a way to get recommendations for services though. It’s through these posts that you could leverage its power and get connected with new customers.
If you offer recruitment or consultancy type services then it’s a platform you can’t live without. LinkedIn allows you to reach out to potential recruiters and companies with ease. However, if you’re a tradesman or run an online store it’s unlikely to give you even a fraction of the benefits that the previous 3 platforms can offer you.
Setting up your account is simple enough, although updating it with all of the required information could take a while. It’s a useful source of leads though and a good platform for getting endorsements.
You might be surprised to hear that YouTube is for more than just Vloggers and videos of animals doing stupid things. In 2016 YouTube had more that 35 million users, which is hardly surprising given that it’s owned by Google.
The range of videos showing up now is, quite frankly, incredible. If you want to learn how to do something or you want to watch someone playing something, you can. I’ve literally never searched for a tutorial or topic on the platform and been left disappointed.
The learning curve for video editing might feel like a little too much to approach this social media platform. However, if you’re in an industry like construction or manufacturing of products then this could be a viable option for you and your business.
YouTube is also a great platform for branching out into training and tutorials. If you provide a service that you could help teach others then this is the place for you.
Setting up an account is simple and requires very little company information to get set up. Obviously, you can only post videos. However, you could make a slideshow of photos that plays to music too if that suits your business better.
Summary – Why Social Media in Business is Key
It’s important to get started on social media for your business, so, choose a platform and get yourself set up. Gaining a large following can take time so the sooner you’re active and posting regularly the better.
Later I have plans to write up posts on how to create an account with each of the platforms above. Plus, I may venture into YouTube video tutorials as well to demonstrate the power of that particular platform.
Let me know in the comments below what platform you intend to start with or are already using. Also what would you most like help with on the subject of social media in business? Drop a comment below and I’ll choose a few to write specific articles on in the future.
Bye for now, and remember… don’t delay, take steps to grow your business today!