Our friend Nickie O'Hara is a digital consultant, who helps businesses work towards their digital goals and build a strong online presence. She also manages a blog in which she discusses all things of social interest, as well as hosting her own podcast (http://www.nickieohara.co.uk). She’s taken some time out to explain why getting your business seen on social media is vital.
In the 21st century, a search engine is the first place many people turn to when looking for a service or advice.
Simply put, if you are not online you cannot be found. It's not as easy as having a website any more (although this is an absolute necessity) because the digital world lives in real time and, therefore, when starting a new business, it is important to consider social media in your business plan.
Here are some of the key players when it comes to social media:
Twitter has 302 million active users per month (although just under 10% of them are not human and are without user-initiated action). This is a great place to strike up conversations with your clients and be there for them when they need assistance. Use Twitter search and hashtags to hook yourself up with existing and prospective customers. Once connected, you will find your customers sharing invaluable feedback that will help you improve your product and your services.
Facebook has 700 million daily users, and you can use your brand page to provide your customers with news and updates that are relevant and will get your readers talking. Facebook now has an algorithm-driven news feed which means it displays content it thinks your fans will like based on their interaction with you and their friends – this is a great opportunity to test content types to see what works for your brand.
Google+ has 300 million monthly active users. Establishing a presence on this platform can be hugely beneficial to businesses and improve their online visibility. Use the search bar to find related companies and individuals to include in your circles then share relevant content (your own and other people's) with them. If you are a local business, ensure you register your location and all company details for Google+ Local.
Other social platforms can be used to enhance your brand-to-customer experience. YouTube is a great platform to demonstrate your products or to show the real face of your brand. Pinterest and Instagram are very image-based and can be used to exhibit products. Alternatively, if your business is B2B focused, then it may be worth considering how best to leverage LinkedIn. However, there is no reason for one brand to be on all of the social platforms available all of the time. You have to work out where your customers are and how to engage with them most effectively.