Every business needs a social media presence. Why? Because in 2019, there were 3.48 billion active social media users across the world, with people in the UK spending an average of 1 hour 50 minutes on it daily, according to a report by Hootsuite and We are Social. Some of that time could be spent interacting with your brand.
With the Covid-19 pandemic putting a strain on business, even forcing some to close for the time being, you may need to promote yours on social to maintain your customer base and, if your business model allows, encourage online sales. Customers also want to protect their go-to local businesses, so it seems support on the likes of Facebook and Twitter has ramped up.
If you’re thinking about your business’s survival, or helping those in need, it could be a good time to start making more of your social channels
But, as a business owner, there’s no doubt you’ll have plenty on your mind especially at this completely unprecedented time. Not only is time precious for you, but we’d understand if you’re not sure on which platform to focus your efforts.
We want to help, though. Learn the top-five social media platforms for businesses, together with how you can make the most out of each. Let’s get cracking…
Facebook’s the king of social media and towers above the competition when it comes to numbers. Let’s look at a few statistics:
- 2.5 billion active monthly users.
- 74% of Facebook users visit the site every day.
- 250 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook.
- 5 billion comments are left on Facebook pages each month.
- In March to date, over 31.7 million online posts and articles supporting local businesses.
Staggering, right? If you were to use just one social media platform for your business, Facebook would be the one to choose. Within it, you can create business pages that can be ‘liked’ by users to indicate interest.
Pages can also be used to post content and, if you pay to ‘boost’ it, you’ll reach target audiences. Here are six top tips on how to make the most of your Facebook business page:
- Use a recognisable profile picture – and coordinate your cover photo and pinned posts. These are the first things potential customers will see and can help build your brand identity.
- Make use of the targeting tools available – tailor your posts and engage with the right audience for your business.
- Focus on quality over quantity – posting too often can overwhelm consumers and put them off. Instead, focus on top-quality content, delivered no more than a few times a day. Research shows posts published between 1-4pm achieve the most click-throughs and shares.
- Respond quickly to customers – 42% of users who make a complaint expect a response within 60 minutes, and failure to do so could cost you.
- Don’t let your posts be boring – use photos and videos to engage consumers. You could generate 94% more views by adding graphics and visuals.
- Use Facebook insights and tracking URLs – monitor how your page is performing. With these, you’ll be able to analyse which posts are working best and which need the chop.
Twitter's registered users grow by a whopping 460,000 each day. Here are a few more statistics:
- 330 million active monthly users.
- 145 million active daily users.
- 500 million tweets posted daily.
- Throughout March, users tweeted over 11.6 million posts and articles supporting local businesses.
The way it works is very different from Facebook, and business accounts function in much the same way as a personal account. You’ll also have to contend with a 250-character limit per post, meaning what you write has to be short and snappy.
There are six main elements to a Twitter profile – handle, username, profile picture, bio, header image, and pinned tweet – and, for businesses, ensuring all these elements work together to project a cohesive brand image is key.
The aim of the game on Twitter is to build a following, engage with consumers and existing customers, and spread your business’s message. So, here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Use hashtags – Essentially a way to index words or phrases, hashtags make it easy for users to follow trends and events. This makes them a great way to increase your content views beyond your followers. Right now, choose ones that support local businesses: #supportlocal was the most used one for this purpose in March.
- Constantly monitor it – Twitter has become a bit of a hotspot for customer complaints and users expect prompt responses. Failure to do so is tantamount to ignoring your customers and isn’t likely to be well received.
- Use multimedia – Within the platform, you can post images, videos, polls, GIFs, links, and more. Seize this opportunity to engage with users and keep them interested in your business.
- Interact – Connecting with customers as well as influencers is a clever way to both attract attention and keep your followers happy. Remember, your activity will show on other people’s Twitter feeds, so focus your attention on accounts relevant to your business.
- Live tweet – This is essentially tweeting your reactions to a live event as it happens. Lots of users will be keeping an eye on the same event and it can be a great way to gain new followers.
- Advertise – You can opt to pay to promote your tweets, your account, or trends.
Similarly to Facebook, Twitter also offers analytics so you can monitor, measure and boost the impact of your tweets. It’s a good idea to use this to ensure you’re posting more of what people want, and less of what they don’t.
Instagram is all about images – with text and hashtags secondary. Let’s start off by looking at some of the numbers for Instagram:
- 53 minutes on average spent daily per user.
- 800 million active monthly users.
- 500 million active daily users.
- 95 million photos posted each day.
- 300 million users share stories every day.
On top of that, Instagram has seen the highest amount of support for local business out of all social media platforms.
With Instagram, compared to other social channels, engagement is high and customers tend to be brand loyal. So, if your business’s offering could be sold using imagery, Instagram is potentially a better social media platform for you over others.
On the platform, you can choose to use a personal account to promote your business or upgrade this to a business account. With the business option, you’ll get access to more features like analytics, ad targeting, and a contact button.
Here are some more tips for making the most out of Instagram for your business:
- Set yourself clear goals and objectives – Who do you want to target and what do you want to accomplish? Be clear on both of these before you get started.
- Optimise your profile – Make sure your 150-character bio tells consumers who you are, what you’re all about and why they should take any notice. Use a relevant profile picture too (usually your company logo).
- Share great content – As we said, it’s all about imagery and visuals on Instagram. Have a clear aesthetic look and flow to your posts, take brilliant photographs and make use of the filters on offer to maximise their impact.
- Craft captivating captions – It might be all about the visuals but your captions matter too. They give you the opportunity to tell a story and give meaning to your imagery. Pay attention to the consistency of your tone of voice and use hashtags to boost engagement.
- Stories – The numbers show more stories are shared daily than photos on the platform, so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Stories allow you to create a narrative, show authenticity and get creative. If you’re doing one, don’t forget to end it with a measurable call-to-action, too.
- Evaluate and adapt - as always, measure the success and engagement of all posts to find out what’s working and what’s not.
Did you know, YouTube’s the second biggest search engine in the world after Google? Here are some more stats on the video-sharing giant:
- 2 billion active monthly users.
- 1 billion hours of YouTube content viewed per day.
- 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute.
- Users spend 40 minutes on YouTube each and every day.
Whether YouTube is a good fit for your business will depend on the nature of your company and whether you can translate that into an engaging video.
If you can create top-quality, relevant content, then videos can perform very well. And remember, the content doesn’t just relate to adverts, more and more users are searching for ‘how-to’ videos on the site.
Striking the right balance between advertising, educating, and entertaining is key to success on this platform.
Posting existing customer testimonials is also a nifty way to use YouTube to promote your business. Here are some additional ideas on how to make it work for you:
- Put thought into your titles – They’re what will draw people in.
- Post regularly – The most popular channels are those with high volumes of content.
- Include calls to action – That way you can analyse your activity.
- Choose the right category and tags – To attract relevant consumers.
- Respond to comments – It will help build momentum and engagement.
- Customise your channel – So it stands out and reinforces your brand identity.
Like Instagram, Pinterest’s all about imagery and visuals. On the platform, users add ‘pins’ of images to ‘boards’ they’ve created. Here are the stats:
- 200 million active monthly users.
- 1 billion boards created to date.
- 100 billion pins as of November 2019.
- 14.2 minutes spent on it daily per average user.
Pinterest is useful for businesses because the images can lead to click-throughs to websites, products, videos, and more. So, if you can bring your product offering to life through pictures, it might be the one for you.
The statistics are pretty enticing too. In the US, it’s reported 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan their purchases, and over two-thirds reported discovering a new brand using the app.
As with all the other platforms we’ve touched on, you can set up a Pinterest business account via which you’ll have access to analytics and advertising to make sure your pins are performing. Here are a few other hacks:
- Pin consistently – The timing of pins has been found to be key, with evenings and weekends being optimal. The platform itself recommends pinning at least once a day but, if it’s more, consistency is important. So, if you had 14 pins to post in a week, posting two per day would be ideal.
- Visuals are key – It’s all about the imagery. Photos should be well lit, well composed, in focus and of high quality. It’s also a great idea to have a consistent style across your boards so consumers recognise your pins.
- Add ‘save’ buttons – When linking to your website, be sure to have a ‘save’ button available. It allows users to pin your content in one click and has been shown to quintuple the amount of content pinned.
So, there you have it, the top five social media platforms for businesses. Which one’s best for you?
The truth is they can all be very useful in their own way, but the key here is making sure you use them properly. If setting up an account with all five would result in you spreading yourself too thinly and not using any of them properly, then opt for one or two, to begin with.
Whether you use one or all five though, maximising the opportunities each has to offer is what’s going to serve your business best. As it stands, Instagram looks to be the best one for generating support while your business navigates the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Social media hashtag data has been collated using Linkfluence social listening tool