While social media pages can’t replace your company’s website, they can help to boost its internet presence and SEO ranking. Many small businesses will either jump to the opportunity to use a social media platform exclusively, ignoring the personal website which will diminish the potential customers and clients visiting your website, while others will spend too little time on social media platforms and jeopardize valuable interactive advertisement opportunities.
Exploring your options
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to start an account on every social media platform—in fact there are so many now that it would be nearly impossible. However, it is recommended to utilize 2-4. Before opening an account and beginning your social media campaign, it is important to consider what each site can offer your business, and how you can benefit from their resources. Without a fully developed plan for your social media and social networking activities, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money on a fruitless venture. Be sure to explore what makes each site unique, how many people are active on them, and analyze exactly what your social media strategy is before implementing your sites; determine exactly what your demographics are and which social media outlets they would most likely be using and target those. Typically these platforms fall under three broad categories:
Free for all Sites: Free for all sites include those like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Each of these sites primarily serves as a hotspot of friendly traffic, and are extremely popular. These sites constitute more casual interactions, and it is common that companies will ask broad, open-ended questions specific to their business model in hopes that visiting and prospective customers will respond. Socializing is key on websites such as this, and they allow for a more personal and immediate way to address customer needs and complaints.
Professional Sites: These are sites such as FastPitch or LinkedIn that allow for a more professional approach to social media interaction. The professional sites can be utilized as an online contact database, as well as a place for companies to ask more industry specific questions or post job openings. Likewise, they are popular places for those seeking employment to post professional resumes and apply for positions at companies. These sites also include a question thread area, similar to a forum board, where companies can ask questions specific to their industry, and can interact not only with personal users, but other company profiles.
Industry Specific Sites: While not nearly as popular as the first two, sites such as I-Meet and Moz.com are specifically geared toward event planners or SEO, social media marketing, and web developers, respectively. Industry specific sites help to narrow down searches when you’re looking for services or people with skills in specific fields or trades. Because social media sites are continuously growing in popularity, you may even want to have different departments in your company join different specific sites, such as sites specific to marketing, IT, or web design.
Setting up your Profile
When setting up your profile on a social media site, be sure to include the same information on all of the sites you manage across all social media platforms. This includes address, phone number, etc. If your company has multiple locations, it is generally advised to create a site for each location and to specific in the page’s title what location that page represents. For example: Hyperlinks Media, LLC has a Google+ page for each of its locations; Hyperlinks Media, LLC Katy; Hyperlinks Media, LLC Houston; and Hyperlinks Media, LLC Dallas. It is advised that other small businesses do the same across all social media platforms.
Likewise, it is recommended to add a more personal touch to the pages your company is managing on free-for-all sites such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Asking questions in an open-ended format promotes an interactive experience for visiting customers to respond to. It is important to continue interactions by having a conversation with each person that replies and comments on your questions and statuses posted on your company’s social media sites. However, it is important not to get too personal. Posting photos from around the office or at company events is encouraged, but each member of your company is suggested to start his or her own personal page for social media unaffiliated with the company to post personal material to.
Posting on your Site
As mentioned before, it is important to post interactive questions with your user-base. It is also recommended to post 2-4 times daily during your business hours. This promotes more interactive avenues for your user-base to be able to communicate with you. Likewise, it allows you to enter the newsfeed of your followers without being obnoxious.
Another popular tactic is to post links to recent additions or changes to your site. Doing this allows for more traffic to your website through clicks, and it also keeps your user-base up-to-date with changes and improvements within your company. In the same way, it is always recommended to post links to your blog every time you make a new post. While nearly none of the social media platforms share link equality with websites, Google+ does. It is highly recommended for all businesses to utilize the advantages of having a Google+ account, and while it may take some time out of your day to post and respond, the pros far outweigh the cons. Google+ shares link equality, which essentially gives you a much higher SEO rating in regards to traffic, and many recent studies show that Google +1s go hand-in-hand with placing higher on SEO and SERPs. Because Google+’s advantages are so high, it is recommended to sign up for the free social media site, along with Facebook and Twitter to help boost internet presence and traffic.
Supplement your website
While the social media sites shouldn’t serve as your primary website, they will do wonders to supplement your primary site. Social media platforms allow for a customer service experience that no other medium provides—instant communications and, if necessary, censorship regarding all interactions with customers. It provides an outlet for customers to give suggestions, leave reviews, and ask questions and for an immediate and public way for your company to respond to these. The fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world are utilizing social media platforms also gives some incentive to start a page; the free advertising pays tenfold for all time lost posting to it. If your company is not taking advantage of the social networking boom that has erupted of the last decade, now is the perfect time to begin.