How to use Social Media

To determine how best to use Social media for your business you first need to understand the different elements. We can break most Social Media into two sides, Engagement and Advertising. The main functionality of most Social Media sites is built around engagement, or interaction with others. With Facebook this is primarily aimed at friends and family, whilst Linkedin and Ecademy are focussed more on business contacts and colleagues.

Again there are exceptions, but engagement is generally most effective in building and maintaining relationships with an existing audience and using that audience to virally expand your reach. The latter is very much dependant on what your message is. If you’re selling paperclips and that’s all you have to talk about, don’t expect too many people to be rushing to help you spread your social media presence (unless you’ve created something beyond the normal level of interest in paperclips. Even then it has to be something sustainable in order to create ongoing engagement rather than a one off.

Most Social Media experts will agree that simply trying to sell via Social Media doesn’t usually work. It’s about building awareness and trust, by earning a reputation as an authority in your field, or as a business which cares about more than sales.

That’s engagement and it is a slow process, which can be time consuming. On the other side of Social Media we have the Advertising opportunities. In the case of Linkedin the demographic filters you can use to determine who you show ads to are what makes this type of advertising very effective for some businesses. The better you can define your target audience, the more effective this type of advertising is likely to be for you.

If for example you are a selling a product or service which is mainly purchased by companies in the travel and leisure industry and you know from your previous sales that the decision maker is usually in the role of sales manager/director, the company could be based anywhere in the UK and is likely to be of a size where they would employ at least 50 people. All that data can go into the demographic filters, to produce an ad campaign, on a pay per click basis, showing only to your real target audience. This can be a very powerful and cost effective tool if used correctly.

People will use Social Media in different ways and there are always exceptions, but for most B2B campaigns, results will be better if you are using a platform like Linkedin or Ecademy, where people are in ‘business mode’ whilst using these sites and are therefore naturally more receptive to a business message.

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