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Social media for small businesses: how to turn likes into results

PUBLISHED: 16:04 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:06 17 November 2014

Rawpixel - Fotolia

Rawpixel - Fotolia

Rawpixel - Fotolia

In 2004 a few Harvard students created Facebook one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, and with websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest soon to follow, the way that we use the internet has changed forever.

As a small business owner social media channels could provide a lucrative way to market your business as well as provide ample opportunities to interact with your clients; and with Facebook having 1.23 billion active monthly users, there are a lot of potential clients to interact with.

To get started on social media you need to decide who you would like to engage with and which social media platform will provide the best opportunities to interact with your target audience. For example, LinkedIn is a social networking website aimed at professionals looking to build industry relationships and contacts. Twitter meanwhile is used by companies and news outlets as a platform on which to make announcements through tweets, which makes it more suited to those with an interest in current affairs.

To use social media effectively you need to make sure that you are clear on the purpose of using social channels. Do you want to increase website traffic? Advertise your products? Reach new customers? Social media has the ability to create a buzz around your business, your services and your products, but effective social media strategies can turn this activity into business results such as increased sales or website visitors.

To get results with social media you need to ensure that you choose a platform which allows you to target your intended audience. For example, a freelance photographer who would like to show their photos to potential customers may consider using a visual social media site such as Instagram or Pinterest. These channels are ideal for image based industries and provide a great way of showcasing your work, which will in turn help you get your name heard.

Once you know who you are targeting and what platform you would like to use, you need to decide what content will get the biggest reaction through likes, comments, reposts etc. You may decide to post topical content based on upcoming events or news stories. Another option is to use your skills as a specialist in your field and create content which is specific to your business or sector that will be of interest to your audience. For example, as a hairdresser you could post a haircare tip each day, or if you are a photographer you could post advice on how to take the perfect photo.

Whatever kind of content you decide to use make sure you keep track of how each post is received and measure the reaction against your initial social media objectives. Knowing what works for your business and what doesn’t means that you can adapt your content or approach accordingly.

This article was written by Anna Savitsky who works as a Copywriter at Easy Accountancy.

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