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 and Twitter this is primarily aimed at friends and family, whilst B2B sites like Linkedin 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 fire lighters, or drawing pins 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 these products). 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 or market leader 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 Facebook 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 clothing or equipment for golfers, it is relatively simple to create a campaign which shows only to golfers (of course it would be even better if the system allowed you to identify the wives of golfers as well, but we’re not quite at that level of sophistication yet). Other demographic filters such as age, gender, location, etc, allow for broader campaigns. Whilst the method of payment for ad delivery is on a Pay Per Click basis, unlike PPC on Google, there is no search involved. You’re reaching out to stimulate interest from your demographically selected target market. If you sell something like golf balls, you’re not likely to get a massive number of wasted clicks dragging down the cost efficiency of your campaign. But if you’re selling something very desirable, but perhaps financially unrealistic for the majority, then the attractiveness of the product could, whilst generating a great deal of traffic and interest, fail to compensate for the cost of the voyeurs. Having said that you just have to try it and see, one extra Aston Martin sold pays for a lot of window shoppers.

People will use Social Media in different ways and there are always exceptions, but for most B2C campaigns, results will be better if you are using a platform like Facebook, and results will be best where the product or service you are offering relates to those interests.

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