Social media is an essential tool for businesses in the 21st century. It allows you to reach new customers and engage with current ones. It is a great way to spread your message and build your brand. Social media for businesses doesn't have to be complex or difficult and in this guide to social media for business I'll walk you through it in a simple, easy to understand way.
Using elements of your visual brand can help you make your profiles stand out across the board. In this age of social media for business, good visuals are imperative. Human beings are visual by nature. A well-designed image is more likely to grab people's attention and can help you be more visible amongst the 1000's of posts.
Graphically beautiful images on social will help you engage better with your target audience. But before you get to work on the look and feel of your posts, you must first get your profiles or pages looking as good as possible.
Choose your network
Different social platforms have different audiences. For example, if you run a B2B business then LinkedIn is a must have, whereas if you are selling a product aimed at the 18-25's then Instagram would be a better choice.
Research each network's demographic data to figure out which platform would work best for your brand. To get you started I've rounded up the current demographic data for the main networks:
- 51% of 13–17 year olds use Facebook
- 76% of 18–24 year olds use Facebook
- 84% of 25–30 year olds use Facebook
- 79% of 30–49 year olds use Facebook
- 68% of 50–64 year olds use Facebook
- 46% of 65+ year olds use Facebook
- 75% of 18–24 year olds use Instagram
- 57% of 25–30 year olds use Instagram
- 47% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram
- 23% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram
- 8% of 65+ year olds use Instagram
- 44% of 18–24 year olds use Twitter
- 31% of 25–30 year olds use Twitter
- 26% of 30–49 year olds use Twitter
- 17% of 50–64 year olds use Twitter
- 7% of 65+ year olds use Twitter
- 17% of 18–24 year olds use LinkedIn
- 44% of 25–30 year olds use LinkedIn
- 37% of 30–49 year olds use LinkedIn
- 24% of 50–64 year olds use LinkedIn
- 11% of 65+ year olds use LinkedIn
- 38% of 18–24 year olds use Pinterest
- 28% of 25–30 year olds use Pinterest
- 35% of 30–49 year olds use Pinterest
- 27% of 50–64 year olds use Pinterest
- 15% of 65+ year olds use Pinterest
- 73% of 18–24 year olds use Snapchat
- 47% of 25–30 year olds use Snapchat
- 25% of 30–49 year olds use Snapchat
- 9% of 50–64 year olds use Snapchat
- 3% of 65+ year olds use Snapchat
- 90% of 18–24 year olds use YouTube
- 93% of 25–30 year olds use YouTube
- 87% of 30–49 year olds use YouTube
- 70% of 50–64 year olds use YouTube
- 38% of 65+ year olds use YouTube
To get full demographic information including gender and location check out this Sprout Social guide.
Social Media for Business - Set up your business page or profile
All popular social platforms have the option of setting up a business page or profile. Business accounts tend to give you more options and access to deeper analytics and stats. When setting up your page you'll need to input information about your business - address, web site address, contact info and some blurb about what you do.
But the place that will really help you stand out is with your profile photo and on some networks cover photo.
These are the first and most prominent visual elements visible to new visitors. For the profile photo I'd recommend using your logo or if you are a one man band a photo of yourself.
The cover photo is a much larger space so you can really have some fun here. Saffron Avenue's cover photo is a great example of something that is eye-catching and shows at a glance what they do.
The best cover photo is a mix of great imagery, text, and a variation of your logo. Use your branding here - brand colours, fonts and logos. Consistency is key!
Plan out your content
Now that we have our profiles looking great we'll need to work on our content. Business should utilise an editorial calendar. It is a time-saving way to keep you organised and on track and can help you ensure you have a steady stream of well-planned, quality content. Set yourself some content-related goals. Goals should include how often you'll post, how many new followers you want and how many people your posts will reach. Keep these goals realistic.
Work out what content you'll need to create to help you reach these goals. It is a good idea to plan in certain types of content and how often each week you'll post these. For example you may want to post a piece from your portfolio weekly, give a behind the scenes look every two weeks and publicise a product or service you offer twice a week. It is entirely up to you. Keep an eye on how each type of content performs to help you know what to do more of and what pieces to reduce in frequency.
Imagery is key
Posts with images perform much better than posts without so make your images count. Bare in mind that a lot of people scroll through social media on their phones so ensure it stands out and is readable on small devices. Take inspiration from your own feeds - see what images stand out and speak to you. See what others are doing but make your own images reflect your brand.
Canva and more
There are a variety of resources available to help you design images. If you are on a tight budget and need something free then Canva is your best best. They have a wide variety of social media templates and it is easy to use.
If you're looking for more flexibility then Photoshop will be your best bet. You'll have complete control and you can access a wide variety of templates online for ease of design.
How to stand out
With social networks becoming more and more crowded you really need to ensure your posts stand out. Find some social media for business design tips below to aid you in designing your graphic.
Colour - your brand should have a designed colour palette and you can use these throughout all your imagery. I tend to go for two bold colours, two neutrals and of course black and white. Don't overdo it with too many colours.
GIFs - Leverage the use of GIFs to stand out. Videos and moving images convert well and help you to sound out through all the noise online.
Fonts - as part of your brand design you should choose a couple of fonts. Ensure you use these alongside your logo on any graphics.
Brand your message
One of our aims is to get our messaging shared by other users. When this happens the original poster can sometimes be obscured, this is why it is important to fully brand it. A small version of your logo or your website address can help you achieve this. Another thing to bear in mind is the audience we are trying to reach, all content should be catering to that audience, ultimately we are hoping to secure new customers. The first step to any marketing activity should be defining your audience so you know exactly who you are speaking to. For example, the way you speak to a professional woman in her 30s would be different to targeting men over 50.
Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
Hashtags are a vital resource. Utilise hashtags to expand your reach. This is especially applicable on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Make your hashtags relevant and do a little research to determine whether your hashtags are ultra competitive or have low search volumes. Ideally your hashtags would have a decent volume but not be so competitive that your post gets easily lost.
There you have it, those are my tips for getting to grips with social media for business to help you market your business online. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments!