So­cial me­dia is now cru­cial for busi­ness

The Oban Times - - BUSINESS -

THE team from Busi­ness Gate­way Argyll and Bute is here to of­fer prac­ti­cal ad­vice and sup­port to new and grow­ing busi­nesses. Ad­viser Don­ald Melville shares some top tips on how to use so­cial me­dia to boost your com­pany’s profile.

So­cial me­dia is now an es­sen­tial part of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in to­day’s so­ci­ety and is the dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent to word- of­mouth re­fer­rals.

It pro­vides a plat­form to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute in­for­ma­tion and opens an in­ter­ac­tive dia­logue with your prospec­tive and ex­ist­ing cus­tomers us­ing var­i­ous plat­forms.

How­ever, many busi­nesses don’t utilise so­cial me­dia in the best way and are miss­ing out on its ben­e­fits.

Let’s start with the ba­sics: what do you want to achieve with your so­cial me­dia? Do you want to broad­cast in­for­ma­tion, be con­ver­sa­tional or more cus­tomer ser­vice-based?

This will de­ter­mine how to use your so­cial me­dia ac­count, what con­tent you put up, how much you lis­ten and how you re­act to online engagement.

It can be used for cus­tomer ser­vice, feed­back, at­tract­ing new cus­tomers and in­creas­ing sales but re­mem­ber that sell­ing is al­ways a by-prod­uct of suc­cess­ful engagement.

Face­book

Face­book is a popular, mainly busi­ness to con­sumer plat­form that is easy to use and free. A vi­tal part of Face­book is engagement. Try to post reg­u­larly to keep your ac­count look­ing ac­tive and up-to- date.

Write con­tent that will get people to en­gage with it – for ex­am­ple, if you post a pic­ture, ask people to com­ment with their opin­ions.

Twitter

Twitter is an­other great medium, which is mainly busi­ness to busi­ness, and is known as an in­for­ma­tion shar­ing net­work mak­ing it fan­tas­tic for busi­nesses to get the word out.

Key con­cepts of Twitter are: favourites, lists, trends and discover. Take part in popular Twitter ini­tia­tives such as Follow Fri­day (#FF) and, re­mem­ber, it’s nice to be nice so thank all who have retweeted/#FF’d you in a re­ply tweet.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a so­cial net­work­ing site for pro­fes­sion­als to show­case their skills and net­work with oth­ers.

When invit­ing people to con­nect on LinkedIn, make sure to state how you know them as a more per­sonal yet pro­fes­sional mes­sage is more likely to re­sult in a con­nec­tion than the stan­dard mes­sage.

Make sure to keep your skills up-to- date with a pro­fes­sional profile pic­ture that is easy to see for any­one view­ing your profile. Some key points to keep in mind:

■ Choos­ing the right plat­form is vi­tal. Make sure you use a so­cial me­dia plat­form that you know your cus­tomers use.

■ You don’t need a pres­ence on ev­ery plat­form.

■ It’s about engagement, not sell­ing.

■ Don’t for­get about your profile and keep it as up-to­date as pos­si­ble.

Busi­ness Gate­way runs reg­u­lar work­shops on so­cial me­dia and pro­vide a range of guides to us­ing so­cial me­dia on our web­site. Visit www.bgate­way.com to see what’s on of­fer.

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