socialBeing an inbound marketing professional, I often hear people dismiss social media as a fad, something for kids, or not a viable marketing tool for their business.  These derisions take me back to my school days when hooligan classmates would howl that they would never use algebra in real life. And, don’t even get me started on trigonometry… unless you want me to go off on a tangent (see what I did there?)

Unfortunately, unlike math which is introduced slowly and grasped by most of the class before moving on to another branch of mathematics, social sites are constantly being introduced before even the most popular network is mastered by a handful of our smartphone dependent population.  Can you imagine if, one day in first grade, you went from being asked “If Janet has three oranges and Mark gives her two oranges, how many oranges does Janet have? “ to “What is the total surface area of Janet’s five oranges?” Minds would be blown.  Innocence would be lost.

If only we could introduce social media just as slowly.  For example instead of identifying the basic shapes of geometry, we could introduce the icons of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, Vine, Periscope, …and I will stop there since I’ve already lost half the class. 

Perhaps it would help if we started with a social media primer to help you understand the best business uses for a few of the top social networks.

This is a great place for businesses to be since their customers are already there interacting with their friends and even following brands. This allows you to give your customers a peek inside your corporate culture, showcase your people, promote causes you support and provide industry insights that readers will find helpful – establishing your business as a familiar yet authoritative resource.

Do this: Use Facebook ads and boosted posts to cost-effectively target a desired demographic – even if they are not following your page. For as little as $20, you can share your posts with the people you want to reach quickly increase your brand visibility.

Not this:  Set up a business Facebook page and then leave it unbranded devoid of content -leaving people to wonder if you are open for business.

You Tube
If your business has webcasts or webinars, posting them to You Tube is a great way to showcase your industry expertise.  Be sure to give your videos descriptive titles select the appropriate category and tags when posting.

Do this: Use a customized cover and profile image on your You Tube channel to further enhance your brand.  You should also place your video transcript in the video description to help the search engines find your keyword-rich content.

Not this:  Not monitoring or responding to comments is the same as not answering the phone.  Engage with your viewers. Think of unfavorable comments as an opportunity to gain insight and make appropriate changes.

LinkedIn encourages members to compete in-depth professional profiles complete with job titles and specific skills, making it the perfect tool for business development.  LinkedIn also provides a forum for you to address trending industry topics.

Do this: Post industry specific blogs, preferably created by your business, which will establish you as a trusted resource in the minds of your followers. You can also identify prospects by searching for businesses in the industries likely to use your services and the titles of your typical customer or decision maker.

Not this:  Posting photos from Annie in Accounting’s baby shower. It may have happened at the office, but it’s not business related. Save content like this for Facebook.

With more than 500 million active accounts, Instagram is a great place to tell your brand story visually. By tagging your photos with relevant keywords, potential customers can find you, like your post and begin to follow you. Engagement launched!

Do this: At every touch point from your menu to the receipt, make your customers aware of your Instagram handle and invite them to post and share content.  User generated content (USG) is a great way to engage your customers.

Not this: Posting a photo without tagging it is the equivalent of a website that’s not optimized for search. No one will ever find it.

With more than 500 million tweets being sent each day, Twitter remains the go-to site for what’s happening right now.  Posts are limited in size, so your message should be a teaser that preferably links to your website.

Do this: Using hashtags (keywords) relevant to your business and specific posts enables potential followers to find you.  You can also use hashtags to identify online conversations about your industry and services. Also, adding visuals can also improve engagement threefold. #PicturePerfectOpportunity

Not this: #Overusing #Hashtags #Can #Dilute #Your #Message.  Keep hashtags to one or two per post.   Posts.

The bad news is that what you know you don’t know about social media is probably a mere fraction of what you truly do not understand.  The good news is that you only have to know what is going to boost your brand visibility and engage with your customers.  The best news is that you can focus on your business and hire a social media professional to generate content, monitor and manage your brand’s social media presence.

Are you confused but still wanting to make social media add up for your business?  Contact the certified social media professionals at Electrum Branding.