If you are a small business owner and you are looking to start an online business or even branch out into the online world with your existing business, then branding your small business with Social Media is a must.
What is social media?
You can think of social media as a digital version of ‘word of mouth’ allowing you to get the word out about your business to an endless source of consumers. Not only does is allow you to reach new customers but it means you can communicate with current ones and receive positive press that can be seen by prospective customers.
Social media marketing can be performed over a variety of social media sites simultaneously and linked to help grow your customer base. As a small business owner this may seem a little too much to take in but we’re going to break down social media branding a little more to show you the benefits.
Branding with Social Media
So why is branding your small business with social media so important? Well as we mentioned above social media is a way to get the word out about your company, but if not done correctly social media can work against you. Just like advertising your business with flyers/banners or business cards, keeping your brand image and general message consistent over all the social media sites you target is crucial. Below we’ll give you some tips to help you to take control of your brand image and how to go about promoting your brand. Alternatively we offer professional social media services where we can run your social media campaigns for you to save you the trouble, find out more here.
If you haven’t got a business logo then get one, it doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, just memorable. Some of the best logos are simple and to the point, it can be something as simple as a distinctive font or specific colours. I mention this because your logo will be a large part of social media branding for your business. This should be used as the main image when setting up any of your social media profiles.
Which Social Media networks should you use?
There are an endless amount of social media platforms out there that you could use to promote your business, but the majority of them wouldn’t be worth the time (especially for small business owners). You are best looking at the bigger and more popular networks because they allow you to connect with a larger audience. We will be looking at the more dominant social media networks in this post, find them listed below;
Twitter is a great place to post updates and let customers / interested parties know what’s happening with your business. Tweets can only use 140 characters so they need to be direct and to the point. You should include hashtags, which are words beginning with the # sign. You can use these to organize conversations around a specific topic. You can find out more about how twitter can be used for small businesses with Twitter’s Official Small Business Guide.
The first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page for your business. On this page you should include at least the basics of what you provide on your own website, I would recommend;
- Business address
- contact information
- What you do
- Staff information
- Photo’s or images
Now you can update your page with anything new going on with your company, link to any blog posts you create on your website and share interesting information / ideas to engage with customers. Once people ‘Like’ your page all of your Facebook posts will be added to their timeline so they wont miss anything you say. Getting people to like your page can be difficult depending on the niche you’re in but we will discuss this in another post.
Using Google+ for branding your small business works in the same way as Facebook, you create a Google + for business page and add the same business information I mentioned above. With Google+ you do not use ‘Likes’ instead you use ‘Circles’. When people join your circle they can see all of your posts which you should keep similar to your Facebook posts.
LinkedIn is a site for businesses and professionals, it’s great for growing connections but it is also wise for your staff to have their own profiles linked to the business. You may not find using LinkedIn offers any benefit to your business as it is less customer driven, but securing your business profile is always wise. Having a staff member profiles also creates a better image for your business and lets people know you are legitimate. This will also provide links back to your website and you can include links to your other social media profiles to help networking.
Providing relevant information
The whole purpose of branding your small business with Social Media is to connect with a wider audience, attract new customers and provide a more interactive service to customers you currently have. This means providing creative, interesting and helpful posts over your social media profiles. I mentioned sharing links to posts from your blog over different social media sites, this helps grow links back to your website and gets people reading about what you have to say. If you do not have a blog on your website then I urge you to set one up and start sharing.
Just a few last points I’d like to stress and you should probably keep to if you want your social media experience to be successful. The whole point of social media is connecting with people. Once you have all these sites set up and ready to use, make sure you actually use them! If your customers know they can communicate with you and you are active on various social media platforms, it puts a good image of you and your business out there.
Remember that these profiles will be the voice of your business on the internet, so keep your message the same throughout and let the voice be your own(I apologise for how corny that sounds).
As I said at the beginning of this post: ‘word of mouth‘ the more people you have interacting with your business in a positive way, the more people will find out about it.