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Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

Wed, 26 August 2009

Social media can be an effective way to engage with potential customers, and to get the word out about your business.
Social media can be a powerful tool for new businesses, but it's important to remember that you might not need to have a presence on all social media platforms - one social media platform might be more appropriate to your business than another. The last thing you want is for social media to become a burden, which it can do if you try to do too much on it when you should perhaps be focussing on building your business. It's best to find a balance that allows you to provide consistent, quality messaging in the most effective way.
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool which enables users to post 140 character messages online about themselves and their business. By searching for topics that interest you and are relevant to your business you can quickly build up a network of people to 'Follow' and recruit your own tribe of 'Followers'. Individual posts or 'Tweets' can be posted online via the website or sent as an SMS text message from your mobile phone.  Twitter is a great way to share the conversation on topics relevant to your business and make connections.
With over 1.79 billion users worldwide in 2016, Facebook is one of the biggest social media sites of all time. Originally a way for college students to stay in touch with their friends, Facebook has since evolved into an easy and user-friendly way for individuals, businesses and groups of like-minded people to communicate with people around the world. With so many people using Facebook on a day to day basis it's worthwhile having some kind of presence for your business on there, and it can be another useful way to market and launch a new product or service.
To start a Facebook Page where people can ‘Like’ your business, comment on your products or services, interact with you and share content with their friends visit:
The moving image is one of the most powerful ways to get your message across to people quickly. Businesses can use YouTube to post individual videos about their product or service, or create their own  Channel containing a collection of videos related to what they do. Even with a basic video camera or mobile phone and a little bit of imagination, videos can quickly become viral, with some videos topping a billion views! Even if just a small number of people view your videos, YouTube is a useful and compelling medium for marketing and promoting your business that should not be ignored. Videos uploaded to YouTube can also be shared easily on other social media sites and embedded into websites.
Boasting over 460 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is a useful place for business professionals to host an online CV which can be used to find work or networking opportunities with other users.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social network with over 400 million users. By utilising hashtags to find followers with your shared interests you can grow your presence and connect with potential customers, as well as follow relevant users. 
Though Google+ is one of the less popular social media channels with around 111 million active users (in 2016), it can still be a useful way to connect with people. You can make a Google+ Profile, gain followers, and also post collections, where you can build content collections based on your different topics and interests.
Blogs (an abbreviation of the word 'weblog') are a type of website that allow an individual or business to write a running commentary or diary of their activities which can be made available for anyone to see. Blogs can be purely text-based, but really come to life when enriched with other Social Media tools like YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, photos, audio and links to other external sites of interest. There are a number of free blogging tools available, including WordPress and Blogger which provide users with a simple way to establish an online presence without having to pay for a website. 
While it is valuable to have a good social media presence, it is very easy to invest a lot of time maintaining various social media channels with no real payback for your business. Make sure the time you spend building your online presence translates to progress, and if it doesn’t, your time may be better spent working on your business in other ways.
Social Media Analytics
Many social media sites provide you with data about the people following you and engaging with the content you put on social media. Through this information you can gain an insight into the demographics you are reaching and how they interact with what you publish. It can be useful to find out whether the following you have correlates with the demographics you are aiming your product at.
Paid Promotion
Many sites are making it harder and harder to get your content seen for free, and are prioritising sponsored content. Sponsored content is content where the author has paid for it to be featured more prominently on the site where it has been posted. For example, a sponsored tweet on Twitter will show at the top of your twitter feed. Sponsored content can be an effective way to increase your reach and make your posts visible to lots of people quickly and it’s well worth thinking carefully about whether the benefits outweigh the cost.

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