Information and commentary for the small business banking industry
Social media â€“ what works best?
These days thereâ€™s a variety of social media options available online, and they are, for the most part, free. Which means you have at your disposal a cost-free resource that can help market your brand and drive traffic to your website. Social mediaâ€™s on the rise â€“ and taking advantage of it is essential.
The best social media platform for you
If you have a website, social mediaâ€™s primary function should be to drive traffic to your website, where an audience can become acquainted with you and your business. If you donâ€™t have a website, social media can function as a valuable marketing tool.
Either way, itâ€™s important to educate yourself on the options available and decide which ones are best for your business. Remember that itâ€™s not all about Facebook, as effective as it is. In fact, a recent study revealed that YouTube drives the most traffic and has the longest visit duration.
Some research on your audience wouldnâ€™t go astray â€“ if you can figure out what social media platforms your potential customers engage on the most, itâ€™ll be a big help in deciding which ones to use. Ask people what social media platforms they prefer, and why. Find out if it makes a difference to them whether itâ€™s business or personal.
Co-ordinate your social media platforms
Once youâ€™ve decided what will work best for you, try to get them working together. The best results come from your networks co-ordinating, rather than each of them standing alone.
Depending on what platforms youâ€™ve chosen, here are a few tips for getting them working together:
Your website: the home base â€“ all your social media should be focused on driving traffic to your website, because this is where your audience and potential customers can find out all about you and your business. This is especially important if youâ€™re selling online.
Blogs â€“ a regular blog helps to define your voice and is a great way of sharing information. You can engage with your customers even more if you allow them to comment on the blog. Creating a dialogue with your audience helps your brand become more attractive, especially if you donâ€™t mind getting a bit personal now and then.
Advertise your social media outlets â€“ make sure you have an area on your website where you can prominently display your social media icons. The best way is with an â€˜includeâ€™ â€“ something that is present on all pages, not just your homepage.
Mobile â€“ social media and mobile phones are simply made for each other. When you think about how often people rely on their mobiles for all kinds of things besides as a phone, you simply canâ€™t afford to ignore it. Instead, make it work to your advantage by installing your chosen social media apps onto your mobile, and making sure you have a thorough understanding of how they work.
Social media platforms can be quite time consuming, especially if youâ€™re not used to them or are still becoming familiar with the way they work. They can also be quite addictive, so make sure youâ€™re using social media platforms to optimal effect rather than just frittering time away on Twitter or Facebook in non-productive conversations… after all, thatâ€™s what your personal account is for.
So when it comes to your business, start with a manageable load. Donâ€™t sign up for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and a blog all at the same time. Begin with one or two and get comfortable with them before deciding on others. You may discover that one or two are perfectly sufficient.
Listen, share, engage
One of the main advantages of social media is that you can get real-time feedback on your business. Itâ€™s really one of the best reasons to utilise social media. You need to pay attention to what people are saying. Getting positive feedback is always gratifying, but more focus should be on negative comments, since theyâ€™ll help you improve your product or service.
Keep your audience engaged. Acknowledge and respond to comments, even the ones that are a bit prickly. The fact that youâ€™ve got them mentioning you in the first place is a positive, even if you donâ€™t like what theyâ€™re saying. Opening a dialogue with someone whoâ€™s disgruntled gives you a prime opportunity to turn their frown upside down!