Social media is inescapable. A 2017 study by Sensis reported that 79 per cent of Australians are on social media, joined by 47 per cent of small-to-medium-sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses. Use social media for marketing correctly and you can give your small business an invaluable platform to reach potential customers in the business to consumer or business to business space.
In PWC’s 2016 annual global CEO Survey, 77 per cent of business leaders from around the world listed technology as one of the top three influencers to “transform stakeholder expectations of business in the next five years.” They cited mobile connectivity and social media as two of the most pertinent information channels in today’s changing landscape. There’s no escaping the digital revolution so if you haven’t already, it’s time you learnt how to use social media for business – and make it work.
Here's a summary of five main social media platforms, and tips on how to ensure your business is on the right ones and reaping their advantages.
Instagram is an image and video sharing platform with over 5,000,000 Monthly Active Australian Users. When it comes to business to consumer activity, you can easily promote your goods via visual content, connect (and interact) with your prospect audience and generate sales. To do this, share high-quality images and videos that showcase your products and highlight their appeal. Research relevant hashtags which are used to identify specific topics and themes.
For example, if you are posting a picture of a new food product you may take a high-quality photo, post it on instagram and then tag it with #instafood, #instagood, #food and so on. This will generate exposure for your post and connect you with larger communities. If you are unsure which hashtags to use, scroll through instagram and find out which ones are currently popular and what people are searching for.
If you’re serious about using social media for marketing your business, you can’t go past Facebook. It’s Australia’s most popular social media channel, with a whopping 17 million Aussie users as of January 2017. That means that 65.8 per cent of the Australian population is on the platform – making it an incredibly valuable tool for reaching your audience. When you set up a Facebook business page, consumers can easily find your company and they can interact with you.
For the best results, take advantage of the numerous tools Facebook has formulated for businesses. Features such as Messenger, targeted ads, competition management, measurement tracking and free e-learning courses make it easy for businesses to service their customers and succeed on Facebook.
When it comes to B2B, give potential partners a look inside your company culture with images and videos, and feature talented employees to highlight your capable team.
When it comes to social media for business to business B2B marketing, LinkedIn is arguably the most important network. Known as the lead generation platform, LinkedIn is essential for businesses because it connects you to a directory of more than 3.6 million Australian professionals who are all there for the same purpose as you – to connect with other people in a given field. Also, your LinkedIn profile can help capture the attention of potential recruits – and even customers.
When using LinkedIn for B2B, do your research to discover the main people you should be connecting with. Reach out to them via private message and introduce yourself, letting them know what you could to do for them. Request a phone conversation, or – better yet – a coffee date, to get your foot in the door. You’ll find it's a much more direct route to a collaboration than cold calling.
Snapchat has 4 million daily active Australian users, yet the photo and video platform – with its numerous (and often daunting) creative tools – is perhaps the hardest to figure out. However, Snapchat’s rich media experience and large audience of devoted followers makes it an appealing marketing avenue for the right small business.
Snapchat offers companies the opportunity to show their creativity in a fun and hip environment. Give followers a candid look into your day-to-day operations, share short video clips and give them a reason to follow you by offering incentives and showing your brand's personality. But be sure to keep things appropriate and 'Disney', as most users are between the ages of 12 and 34.
With approximately 3 million monthly active Australian users, Twitter has been a longstanding B2C favourite, especially when it comes to providing customer service. Many companies rely on Twitter to communicate with their consumers (answer queries, respond to feedback, provide order status updates), while also sharing important company news, offers and information. But it’s also good to remember that Twitter is such an open platform and you may encounter some slightly difficult queries at times. Follow best practice on how you should answer them.
Twitter has a variety of features businesses find helpful, including ads, direct app downloads, analytics, how-tos and other resource articles.
If you want to amplify your online marketing campaign beyond the traditional avenues, remember that you don't need to be on all channels, and quality is better than quantity.