Social media is vital to doing business today

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The team from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute is here to offer practical advice and support to new and growing businesses. Adviser Donald Melville shares some top tips on how to use social media to boost your company’s profile.

Social media is now an essential part of communication in today’s society and is the digital equivalent to word-of-mouth referrals. It provides a platform to create and distribute information and opens an interactive dialogue with your prospective and existing customers using various platforms.

However, many businesses don’t utilise social media in the best way and are missing out on its benefits.

Let’s start with the basics: what do you want to achieve with your social media? Do you want to broadcast information, be conversational or more customer service-based?

This will determine how to use your social media account, what content you put up, how much you listen and how you react to online engagement.

It can be used for customer service, feedback, attracting new customers and increasing sales but remember that selling is always a by-product of successful engagement.

Facebook

Facebook is a popular, mainly business to consumer platform that is easy to use and free. A vital part of Facebook is engagement. Try to post regularly to keep your account looking active and up-to-date.

Write content that will get people to engage with it – for example, if you post a picture, ask people to comment with their opinions.

Twitter

Twitter is another great medium, which is mainly business to business, and is known as an information sharing network making it fantastic for businesses to get the word out.

Key concepts of Twitter are: favourites, lists, trends and discover. Make sure to take part in popular Twitter initiatives such as Follow Friday (#FF) and, remember, it’s nice to be nice so thank all who have retweeted/#FF’d you in a reply tweet.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals to showcase their skills and network with others.

When inviting people to connect on LinkedIn, make sure to state how you know them as a more personal yet professional message is more likely to result in a connection than the standard message.

Make sure to keep your skills up-to-date with a professional profile picture that is easy to see for anyone viewing your profile.

Some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choosing the right platform is vital. Make sure you use a social media platform that you know your customers use.
  • You don’t need a presence on every platform.
  • It’s about engagement, not selling.
  • Don’t forget about your profile and keep it as up-to-date as possible.

We run regular workshops on social media and provide a range of guides to using social media on our website. Visit www.bgateway.com to see what’s on offer.