It’s been proven time and time again that both small businesses and large corporations that are active on social media are helping their enterprises. In 2014, Hubspot reported that 92% of marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure to their businesses and more than half of marketers that utilize social media reported it helped them improve sales.
Statistics continue to reflect that social media presence helps gain new partnerships, improve search engine rankings, increase traffic on websites, build loyal fan bases, and influence marketplace intelligence.
However, it’s justified why business owners may shy away from signing up for Facebook or Twitter in 2017.
Privacy and safety concerns, a productivity perpetrator, a gateway to possible social isolation – it’s understandable that not all aspects of social media are approved by its users and individuals who may not use it at all.
However, used in the appropriate setting and utilized in the correct way social media should be embraced my business owners, not shied away from. Social media is the apparatus that paves the way to fruitful marketing strategies and successful methods to remain relevant in a society that consistently develops technologically, economically, politically, and socially.
So how do we as business owners utilize social media to our advantage without hurting our business platform?
There are precautions and methods to utilize to allow both you and your enterprise to be on social media.
1. Use the correct forms of social media. According to a 2017 study done by DreamGrow, a popular digital marketing company, the top 15 most popular networking sites listed Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Vine, Tumblr, and Pinterest among other well-known applications.
Never fear, there should be no pressure on which application you need and not need to be on.
This is when you, as a business owner, or vessel of an enterprise must research and decide which sites are relevant to your business.
Of all the websites and applications that are offered to businesses, Facebook is a tool all businesses should be using. Reported in May by Forbes, the social media site dominates with over 1.38 billion users. Setting up a page is free, sharing your business venture with your friends and family is free and is easy marketing, and allows you to link your personal account to your business account for your customers to learn more about you personally and professionally.
Arguably, Twitter, LinkedIn, and GooglePlus are great options for your business. As far as other social media sites go, such as Snapchat and Instagram, those are personal choices for your business.
If you feel your business can be properly represented through the popular applications that allow you to share photos and videos to your followers, you should absolutely be using the application to promote your enterprise. Be aware that the two applications are used by mainly the millennial generation. Omnicore reported in 2017 that users between the ages of 18 and 29 are 28% while just 4% of users lie between the ages of 30 and 49.
For a graphic design company, or an up and coming entrepreneur, for a music business, the applications are great for recognition. Recording five second videos on Snapchat to show audience members what’s in the works, or posting a picture of the new designs you’re working on on Instagram is great marketing. Even if you aren’t in these businesses you can still use the applications to your advantage.
You can take your audience behind the scenes of your company, what’s in the works for a board meeting, tell customers about events you may hold by giving them VIP access to the behind the scenes, upload promo codes, feature the people you work with in a photo, etc.
2. Be professional.
Be warned: not everything presented to you on your timeline, or every though you have should be posted on your wall. Always present yourself in a professional setting. On both of your accounts be aware of what you share, what you post, and what you like. It’s okay to be liberal with what you share on your personal account.
Posting photos of family outings, sharing news from acclaimed sources, and liking posts you agree or disagree with is fair – but only on your personal account. Slandering against other individuals, yes, even politicians, should never be done. Slandering counts as spewing hate against appearance, religious backgrounds, gender and sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc. Talk and share on your personal account as if you would in front of your grandmother. Disagree or agree with your friends in a respectful tone. Be professional.
On your company’s account represent your company. Share articles your audience would be interested in, share photos and videos of what your company is involved in or what you’re working on. Tag your clients and contractors to help them gain a greater audience as well as promoting your own business to show off your clientele.
Remember that your professional page is for your business. Stray away from sharing political beliefs, religious beliefs, and or social beliefs to your page unless of course your business is based off those platforms.
If you find yourself struggling to keep your professional and personal accounts separate or if you worry about who can and can’t see your pages, there’s no issue with keeping them both private. Though it’s advised you to keep your professional page public for more audience attention.
3. Know when enough is enough. Put the phone down, shut the laptop, and engage with your audience not via social media. Control who controls the social media platforms.
As stated before, one of the concerns of having a social media is the fear of being sucked into the webular platform and not finding yourself able to log off. This is when self-control and business control come into play.
It’s an old trick in the book, especially with the influx of social media in the early 2000s, to limit your screen time with a simple timer. Set twenty minutes on either your smart phone or your computer, and browse the web for possible content to post on your website.
You may feel that this tactic lessens you as an adult, but it’s no different when you designate ‘x’ number of hours for your other work.
If you worry that you would still abuse this method, or you’re unsure of how to navigate social media the other option is to hire a social media intern. In the rise of social media and its obvious usage by millennials and nexters, it can be difficult for the older generation to navigate its platforms and stay up to date with its changes.
The decision to hire a social media paid or unpaid intern will help build your business’ marketing platform as well as cater to the community in search of a student who is excited to make their mark in the business world.
But then again, social media should never be required by businesses. If you feel that your business profits are on the incline without a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, retain your integrity and build your enterprise without the web.
However, your opportunities are endless with the power of social media. A reminder to use it to your best advantage, only using platforms you can keep up with and know will benefit your business. Use it professionally, both your business accounts and personal accounts. And know when to stop posting and who should be posting.