Running a business? How to maximize your social media use

    In an age in which Twitter has over one billion accounts and 68% of American people use Facebook, it’s getting less and less excusable to avoid your business having a presence on social media. The benefits, of course, are widely known: from the capacity social media offers to uncover and engage with potential new customers to the chance it provides to correct any imbalances in public perception of your brand through outreach, customer service and more.

    But there are downsides. Hiring someone to run your social media accounts can quickly become very expensive, while ensuring that you don’t walk into one of the many traps that other firms on social have done – such as inappropriate posts or even becoming vulnerable to hacking – is also tricky. But luckily there are ways around all of this – and this article will share some of the best methods for avoiding these unpleasant outcomes and to instead get as much as you can out of your social media accounts.

    Be proactive

    The first thing to do if you run a social media account on behalf of your business is to approach it in the same way you would any other aspect of your business’ operation – with a strategic mindset. Having a host of social media accounts is no good if they are updated on a sporadic basis, for example. Not only will users begin to wonder why they haven’t heard from you for a while, you may even find that you are denied reach by the algorithms which control the backends of many social media sites, as your profile may end up becoming designated as a dormant account.

    Instead, you should be proactive and ensure that your social media accounts are regularly updated with relevant and approved content. First off, draw up a social media strategy with the input of whoever will be running the accounts – and, preferably, an external expert social media consultant who can help you ensure you don’t miss anything out. When compiling this document, use it as an opportunity to answer potential future questions. What sort of content can and cannot be posted, for example? What will your audience appreciate – and what will they consider irrelevant or distasteful? How will you ensure that enough content goes up each week? By answering all of these questions in advance, you’ll be more likely to avoid problems further down the line.

    Discover aesthetics

    There’s no doubt about it: social media channels are image-heavy. Instagram, Pinterest and other image or creativity-focused social media sites are obviously key examples of this. But other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are just as image-focused in many ways. While you can create a post on these sites without having to add an image, images are often integral parts of marketing content on social – and you could be putting your firm’s profile at a disadvantage if you don’t go for them.

    But putting up any old image from your company’s marketing archive simply won’t cut it any more. In the era of social sharing and virality, it’s vital to use images which have an air of excitement about them. High resolution photos, for example, go a long way towards making users stop and engage, while images which feature shots of people can create a sense of empathy. If you’re worried about the costs involved in hiring a graphic designer or an image specialist to get the content that you need there are plenty of other options. You can create Facebook cover photos online, and you can also access large libraries of free to use stock images for all sorts of purposes.

    Consider paying

    It’s still possible to advance your marketing goals on social media without shelling out to Facebook, Twitter or wherever else to boost your posts. If you have a well-recognized brand or you have content which can easily go viral, it may well be the case that these advantages will do the heavy lifting for you. But if not, it may be worth considering using the many targeted advertising options available to you. They’re often cost-effective and can help you accrue the sort of followers you require to get your burgeoning page off the ground.

    Social media can seem frightening to someone who’s not particularly experienced in it – and if this applies to you and you’re running a business’ marketing function, it can seem even more scary. But there are lots of ways to make the most of it, even if they’re not immediately obvious. From using the post boosting tools available on major social sites to ensuring you’re strategic and proactive, you can create a social media marketing system that works for you and your firm.

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