Companies of nearly any size and industry use social media for business today. It helps them to expand their customer base, boost their sales and maximize their revenue. From this article, you'll get to know how to use social media platforms for businesses and which goals you can achieve thanks to them. Plus, you'll find answers to the three most common questions on the topic.
You might use social media for business to achieve the following goals:
Improve your brand awareness. Social media help people discover new brands and products. If you create top-notch content to promote your goods or services, socnet users will be tempted to place an order.
Enhance your brand personality. You should strive to humanize your brand and create a distinct voice for it. Your potential customers should be able to effortlessly differentiate your brand with its unique values from its competitors.
Boost thought leadership. Using your social media network, you can prove that you're an industry leader and a true expert in your field. Create engaging and relevant content. Always keep an eye on what your competitors do: try to differentiate yourselves from them and outperform them. Your ultimate goal is to encourage people to turn to you as soon as they think of something related to your industry.
Drive more traffic to your website. If socnet users appreciate your content, they might be curious to check your website and order your products.
Manage your reputation. The faster you respond to your clients' queries, the better your reputation. Consider creating a special hashtag that your followers can use when they have a question or complaint. Also, you can highlight positive client reviews about your brand and products through your social media channels.
Gather insights and analyze data. Most social media platforms feature in-built analytical tools that enable you to measure your engagement rates, click-through rates and other KPIs. You can see which type of content works best for your target audience and improve your marketing strategy accordingly.
Carry out competitor analysis. You should follow your competitors on social media to scrutinize their marketing strategies and maybe borrow some tools and tricks from them. You should never copy someone else's content — but you can use it as a source of inspiration for your own creativity.
Target your advertisements. Social platforms enable you to easily create ads and target them at users with specific demographics. The more personalized messages you send to your potential clients, the more likely they will be to respond to them.
To use social media for business with maximum efficiency, you might want to install dedicated software, such as Bitrix24. It's powerful and versatile software, used by over 10 million companies from all over the world. It has a top-notch CRM, an in-built contact center, product and project management tools, time management instruments and many other useful features. When it comes to social networks, you can carry out the following tasks with the help of Bitrix24:
Plan content for social media for weeks ahead and track your KPIs
Check all the comments, shares and other user activities on your social media pages through the Bitrix24 social CRM
Assign tasks to your team members, track their progress and make sure you always meet the deadlines
Whenever you need to discuss something with your colleagues, you can use the in-built chat, voice calls or video conferencing
Calculate the budget for each of your campaigns and estimate your ROI
Link the Bitrix24 Contact Center module to WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram Business, Facebook Chat and other messengers to provide customer support to consumers
You can be sure that every pre-planned post goes online on time.
You can try the basic functionality of Bitrix24 for free, for an unlimited number of users. You'll get access to 5GB of storage space, CRM, website builder, collaboration tools, tasks and projects. Then, you can upgrade to one of the paid plans, the priciest of which costs 159 USD per month.
To make the most of your social media network, you might want to keep the following tips in mind:
Build a strategy. If you start taking random steps without any predefined plan, you will waste your funds and hardly achieve any results. You might want to outsource an expert to help you build a realistic strategy for each platform you plan to use.
Post consistently. Check the optimal post frequency for all social media platforms for businesses that you want to use. For instance, you might achieve the best results when posting 1 piece of content per day on LinkedIn, 3 pieces on Instagram and 5 on Twitter. If you make long gaps between two posts, you might fail to attract the attention of your target audience. And if you post too frequently, it might turn consumers off.
Plan ahead. You shouldn't start your morning with thinking "What should I post today?". Instead, you should compile a content plan for a couple of weeks ahead. Such an approach will help you to keep your content diverse and exciting. Plus, you'll save a lot of time and nerves.
Know your audience. The in-built tools of social media platforms enable you to get the exhaustive demographics of your audience. Plus, you can analyze their customer behavior and social media trends. You should use this knowledge to boost your engagement rates and ultimately sales. You should analyze your achievements regularly, such as once per week, and take instant measures to improve your marketing strategy.
Work with influencers. Influencers exist in every industry, both in B2B and B2C segments. You should detect those influencers who match best with your brand and products and establish relationships with them. You may start with liking and commenting on their posts so that your name begins to ring a bell with them.
Develop affiliate partners. Affiliate schemes might be very diverse. For instance, you might distribute referral codes among your subscribers: if they encourage new customers to buy your products using these codes, they will get a reward. Or, you might start a cross-promotional campaign with professionals and brands from your niche (but not your direct rivals).
Run competitions. You should run your first competition only when your brand becomes established and gathers a large number of subscribers. A competition should boost the engagement of your followers. It will motivate them to spread the word about your brand and products. Besides, it will add legitimacy to your brand. To make sure the news about your competition reaches the widest possible audience, you should invent a custom hashtag for it. Plus, you should use some popular hashtags, such as #win and #competition.
Go live. Not all social media for business offer such an opportunity — but if they do, jump on it! You can go live on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Inform your audience in advance that you'll be broadcasting but don't expect 100% of your subscribers to watch you (because they might be busy or not too interested in this type of content). You might offer educational virtual events to your viewers, host webinars or Q&A sessions. Analyze which type of content leads to the most engagement and make more lives of this type.
Use stories. Snapchat was the first to introduce self-destructing stories. People loved them so much that Facebook and Instagram gladly borrowed this idea. If you make too many posts that will stay in your feed forever, it might look spammy. Thanks to stories, you can deliver more pieces of content than the optimal post frequency that the platform suggests and still keep your subscribers happy.
Run ads. When using social media for business, it's not enough to generate content for the feed. You should create eye-catchy ads and target them at people with the required demographics. If your social media budget is limited, try to allocate at least 10% of it for ads.
Use the gig economy. This term denotes using the labor of people who don't work for you full time. More and more professionals opt for the digital nomads' lifestyle. You can hire freelancers for short-term or midterm projects to help you with generating content, building and executing marketing strategies. Thanks to the gig economy, you can minimize your expenses and increase the productivity of every team member.
Always experiment and evolve. The last thing you want when using social media for business is to make your audience feel bored. Even when you detect that your subscribers adore some specific kind of content, you shouldn't generate only this type of content. It would be wise to dedicate from 10% to 20% of your time to experimenting with new approaches. Whenever you detect a promising social media trend, think of how you could adjust it for your business.
Last but not least, you shouldn't try to use social media for business only to achieve one specific goal. Instead, you should turn social media platforms into an integral part of your company's strategic development. Don't limit yourself to just running marketing campaigns and measuring their efficiency. Your social media presence might impact all the aspects and departments of your business, from recruitment to customer service. If you understand how to make the most of social media for business, it should give your company a significant competitive edge and make it future-proof.
Here are a few examples of how social media platforms might differ from each other:
YouTube is great for driving traffic to websites, such as your company's homepage where your clients can order goods and services
Pinterest is spot-on for small and niche businesses that can market directly on the site
Twitter is ideal for receiving feedback and directly engaging with consumers
Facebook has the largest audience and offers the best customization opportunities
When building a social media marketing strategy, you should keep in mind the type and the goals of your business.
When using social media platforms for businesses, marketers should be aware of their following drawbacks:
Need for investment. You should be ready to allocate time, funds and efforts for nurturing your social media network. You should be motivated to carry on even if the results fail to impress you within the first couple of months.
Potential for bad publicity. To err is human, so you might occasionally make misprints or make jokes that not everyone understands. Sometimes, it might pass unnoticed. Otherwise, you might become a victim of bad publicity: people will start blaming you for spreading negative vibes and showing little respect to others. Even if you apologize and correct your mistake, you should be ready to withstand trolling attacks for a while.
The influence of your social media followers. Not all customers who buy your goods or services follow you on social media. Not all your subscribers on social media purchase your products. These two audiences overlap but are not identical. Let's imagine a situation when you run an opinion poll on Instagram and people say you should improve your product in this and that way. Should you follow their advice right away? Probably not. Instead, you should run additional polls on other platforms and through some other channels (such as email or short paper questionnaires in offline shops).
As you see, the drawbacks of social media for business are not too numerous and the advantages of social media marketing far outweigh them.
There is no one-fits-all answer to this question. You might try to start with spending around 20% of your total digital marketing budget on your social media network. You should be ready to consistently measure the efficiency of your efforts, reconfigure your strategy and adjust the expenses accordingly.