Social Media. In 2013, successperformancesolutions.com wrote that 65% of today's schoolchildren will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created. Now we're in 2016, if you observe the world around us, it is hard to deny the accuracy of the statement. Five or ten years ago, you would have never thought people could earn money using social media, but now it's commonplace to see professional YouTubers,Bloggers and now, Social Media Agencies.
What Is A Social Media Agency?
In short, a social media agency is a company that runs your social media accounts for you. This can be incredibly beneficial for businesses looking to reach out and use the popularity of social media to attract new customers. Many businesses do not have the time to learn the nuances within social media and how to use them to their full effect. After all, they have a business to run.
This is where social media agencies come in. They are experts in a variety of platforms and can manage your accounts to their full potential. However, this leaves businesses with an entirely new problem. With such a wide variety of social media platforms available, which services should you use? When faced with many different social media platforms it is very easy to feel overwhelmed.
As a professional digital marketing agency, we have all the skills needed to give your business the boost it deserves with social media. Here is a simple to understand guide on various social media platforms, and how different businesses can benefit from them. To start, we will be discussing the following social media platforms.
A business favourite. This form of social media is offered by most social media agencies. Once you know what you're doing, it's quick and simple to use. On Twitter, users interact with each other through tweets. It's used on both a personal and a professional level, or possibly somewhere in-between depending on your business.
Twitter users interact through short messages, only 140 characters long. This promotes a fast moving dialogue. Everyone keeps what they want to say short and to the point. This form of discussion enables businesses to throw out quick and short pitches or reactions to current events, in order to boost their profile.
Twitter users react to current events in a special way. Named a 'hashtag' (#) users will post a tweet and use the special hashtag system to group their tweet with others voicing similar opinions. This feature allows for a feature known as 'trending' which showcases the most popular hashtags being used in your local area. Businesses can take advantage of these hashtags, for example if a hashtag discussing cats is trending in the local area, a pet store could take advantage of this and use the hashtag to promote their stock of cat treats.
It is not sufficient to simply post Ad after Ad after Ad. People will get bored. The current state of technology has left today's population with an eight second attention span. With countless posts available to be read on twitter, you need to capture user's attention quickly in order to encourage them to click on your content and possibly purchase something.
Let's use the above example, the pet store. #LoveCats is trending. A pet store could tweet out a gif of a funny cat, suggest people “treat their cat with some special treats" and attach a shortened link to their online store. People laugh at the funny gif of a cat, and if they own cat, they might be inspired to purchase some treats for their pet.
As you can imagine, monitoring trends and constantly interacting with customers on a regular basis can be extremely time consuming. Just one of the many reasons why entrusting a social media agency to manage your accounts is a great idea.
Sometimes described as the 'king of social media' , Facebook is an extremely popular service.
Facebook fulfills many of the roles that Twitter does. However, Facebook has many other resources available at its disposal. Facebook firstly you can post considerably longer content on Facebook than on Twitter. This allows for more information to be posted, but also means you do not have to shorten your links, so the customer knows what they're clicking on.
This changes the way the user interacts with the feed. In Twitter people scroll quickly, because all the content is short and quick to digest. On Facebook however, the content is larger; however it should still be easy to digest. Facebook also has a very active comments section. This allows for a conversation between customers and yourself.
Furthering this interaction, Facebook's direct message service is extremely popular. In fact, it is so popular it works within its own Smartphone app, whereas Twitter's DM service is built within the Twitter app and often associated with spam mail generated by auto-respond messaging systems.
Facebook's automated messages however, are far more useful. These bots are far smarter than a “thanks for following". You could have a message that works similar to an automated customer service phone line. If they want a link to a page to see what's on sale, they write something like “what's on sale" and the chatbot will provide them with a link.
Obviously the human touch is preferred. Facebook even has a feature where it tells users how often 'pages' respond to their messages so swift responses are essential. It would be preferred that a person could respond to the people who message questions to your business, but if you have a large number of incoming messages, a chat bot could be a helpful tool.
A powerful social media tool. This is primarily a video sharing tool, although it does occasionally work within live streaming. The main reason businesses may use YouTube would be to create some creative content for their users to enjoy.
You could showcase new stock, upload some tutorial videos or upload some behind the scenes footage at the office to give your customers more understanding of the personality within the working environment. One business which takes full advantage of YouTube is Andertons music shop in Guilford which has over 177,000 subscribers. On their YouTube channel they showcase their stock and also show some creative videos using stock at their store. They also frequently feature within videos created by the popular music YouTuber Rob Chapman who has over 447,500 subscribers, owns a guitar manufacturing company and plays in a band that reached number one in the UK rock charts.
Whereas almost any business directly can make use of Twitter and Facebook, YouTube is different. The amount of creativity needed in order to be a success on YouTube limits the kind of businesses which attempt to use YouTube. That's not to say it is impossible for businesses to utilise YouTube to boost their brand. Some businesses might be better off using YouTube to boost their brand through a brand deal with a current YouTuber to make a video. To learn more about YouTube brand deals, a comedy writer Thomas Ridgewell who has previously worked with the BBC made this video. So if boosting your brand using a YouTube account is not an interesting option, with brand deals, you can advertise yourself on YouTube, without actually creating any content.
Instagram is a great social network. It focuses mostly around sharing of pictures. This is a great platform for businesses to showcase new stock. A business which might use Instagram to great effect could be a tattoo shop. With the permission of the client, they could photograph a freshly tattooed tattoo and share it with others. The audience exists, famous television programs such as LA Ink and the more recent Tattoo Fixers show that there is a large audience of people who enjoy looking at other people's tattoos.
Instagram has been heavily discussed lately with one of its latest features; stories.
This feature is directly inspired from another social network, Snapchat. The CEO of Instagram even gave credit to Snapchat for the story feature.
Snapchat is well known for temporary content. As a user, if you send your friend a picture, you can choose how long that picture lasts (from 1s to 10s). After then, it's gone.
They also have a feature called a story. This is a collection of pictures (or snaps as they're known on the app) that disappear after 24 hours. This is a great feature for many businesses seeking to interact with their audiences. It's clear to see why Instagram wanted to take inspiration from this idea.
This content is empowered by its temporary nature. Snapchat content disappears, people do not want to miss out, and so they view stories.
This approach is great for businesses that are looking to add a more personal touch. It is ideal for businesses that have customers are also fans of their products. The personal connection people get from interacting via Snapchat strengthens the brand loyalty and rewards customers/fans with a 'peek behind the curtain' at one of their favourite brands.
Sadly this social network is often the victim of many jokes online. Most of it is in good fun however, as Google+ has over 500 million users, so whilst many 'love to hate' Google+, it would appear that many love Google+.
A Strong Google+ Local page can really help your local search results. Google Local pages were formally known as Google Places. As many people use SEO to try and rank higher on Google, it makes sense that using Google's social media platform would also be beneficial.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network. Whereas social media like Facebook are heavily focused on expressing your personal identity, LinkedIn is focused around your professional identity.
LinkedIn is a very valuable tool for those who mostly deal B2B. As LinkedIn is a professional social network, business is often the topic of discussion. Also combining LinkedIn blog posts and SEO would be a great way to increase your online presence. If both your main webpage and your LinkedIn page rank within page on of Google, that's a lot of attention on your business.
Also, another use of LinkedIn for businesses is as a recruitment tool. As LinkedIn is used for professional reasons, it can be a great way to look for new talent.
Various Other Platforms
There are various other platforms of social media that your business could utilise. For example an arts & crafts business may find success using services such as Tumblr and Pinterest. This list is not exhaustive, but it showcases the strengths of some of the most popular social networks currently available.
Social Media Agencies
After reading all this information, it's easy to understand why a business might be interested in hiring an agency in order to take advantage of all ofthis potential exposure. The amount of people using social media every day is huge. When you look at the figures on weekly Smartphone use in the UK, it's led by search engines, email and social media. If you can successfully advertise yourself in those three areas, you're reaching a massive audience.
Some Quick Tips For Social Media
Social media is all about sharing with others, so here at Promote we'd like to share three social media tips with you.
1. Don't Over post
If you flood your social media accounts with constant posts (known as over posting or spamming), you're going to annoy your customers/fans, resulting in your business getting unfollowed.
2. Post Regular, High Quality Content
Whilst it is important to not spam your followers, regular posting is essential for keeping your audience interested. Also high quality content is a must. If the content is bland and boring, people will either unfollow or simply ignore it, meaning all your time and effort was wasted. It's worthwhile taking an extra hour or so to come up with great high quality content that users will actually read and be interested in.
Social Media is at its best when you talk to other users. Open discussions with customers and other businesses. If people see you interacting with others online, they're more likely to approach you as a potential client.
Social Media Management From Promote
Here at Promote, we are dedicated to providing you with outstanding digital marketing services. As a professional digital marketing agency we are up to date on all the latest trends and techniques and can utilise them to boost your business' online presence.
If you're looking to learn more about social media management, or any of the other fantastic services we offer, you can contact our dedicated team on 0845 050 2500, alternatively you can also get in touch with us on Twitter by tweeting us directly @promote_agency