There are tonnes of social media platforms available for you to use, with the key players being Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. There are plenty of other less-well-known platforms, but we’re going to focus on how to use the core five to boost the visibility of your SME online.
It’s also wise to only take on a few social media channels at a time, as setting yourself the task of managing multiple channels, with different target audiences can prove to be an overwhelming task.
What social channels do your customers use?
First, you must ensure that you create personas for each of your customer and prospect types. This will allow you to be more effective in tailoring the content you create to fit their needs, interests and preferred social networks.
Within this, you should consider and research where people who fall into your target personas spend their time online. Look at what social media channels they interact with, the language they use, the brands they follow, the types of media they consume, and this will help you determine on which channels you should be focussing your efforts and how.
Twitter is a platform where users and brands can post updates up to 280 characters long. These are delivered to their followers in a timeline format, which can be commented on, liked, retweeted or sent via a direct message.
The platform has over 320 million monthly active users and allows you to easily connect with new people who might be interested in your business. It’s often used by businesses to manage customer service enquiries such as updates on website functionality or updates on programming schedules.
Twitter: Benefits to SMEs
Twitter can help you more easily connect with customers and boost your brand awareness. The ability to quickly connect with people or be found by using hashtags is a great way to rapidly increase visibility.
As previously mentioned, it’s ideal for providing customer support. You can check out who’s talking about you, respond to any comments and resolve any complaints from customers before any negative opinions spread out of control.
It allows you to be reactive to your audience and offer them immediate solutions and alleviate the number of customer enquiries received via email and call.
Twitter: Key stats
- 24% of all male internet users use Twitter
- 21% of all female internet users use Twitter
- 13 million UK-based Twitter users
- 37% of Twitter users are aged 18 to 29
- 25% of Twitter users are aged 30 to 49
- 80% of Twitter users access it via mobile
- 74% of Twitter users use the network to access news
- 85% of small and medium businesses use Twitter to provide customer service support
Snapchat is the ideal platform to actively target customers under the age of 29. As a favourite amongst Millennials and Gen Z, Snapchat allows users to send multimedia messages to each, host and film live stories and view news within the ‘Discover’functionality.
The platform sees over 300 million active monthly users and more than 188 million daily users. It offers a fundamentally different approach compared to other social media platforms, reimagining the audience as contacts, rather than fans, comparable to the likes of Whatsapp. This means that the content needs to be more organic and less salesy.
Snapchat: Benefits to SMEs
Real-time interactions mean that you can showcase your appearance at an event, unboxing new products or even announcing a sale. It’s a great way to demonstrate quality by showing how your service or product works. This also helps generate a sense of urgency, with the content only accessible for 24 hours after it’s been posted, it requires your followers to regularly check in for updates. You can also use this to your advantage by implementing limited time offers to encourage them to click through to your site or encourage them to interact with your brand during a specific time.
Moreover, it’s easy to grow your following by sharing Snapcodes via cross-platform integration. Using a Snapcode on your other channels such a Twitter or Instagram, as your avatar can allow users to more easily find and follow you. You can also cross-promote such as showcasing the best bits of your Snapchat on Instagram.
Snapchat: Key stats
- 71% of the users are under 34 years old
- 70% of the users are female
- 63% access the platform daily
- Users under the age of 25 use the app for approximately 40 minutes every day
- 45% of users are aged 18-24
- Active users open the app 25 times a day
Facebook is the biggest social media site in the world, with 2.23 billion monthly active users and 1.74 billion mobile monthly users. With almost a third of the world’s population using Facebook, it would be unwise to not even have a business page on the platform.
With more than 65 million businesses using Facebook, it’s a relatively safe bet that you’ll at least reach a section of your audience here. A huge portion of Facebook users (94%) access the site via mobile, which means content should always be made with a mobile-first mentality.
Facebook: Benefits to SMEs
Facebook pages allow you to make your brand more accessible. The easier the access to the brand, the more likely users are to interact with you. With a highly customisable page, you can make your Facebook presence completely branded. Ensure you’ve got a great profile photo, cover photo, all the right details in your about section, a verified page if possible and maybe most importantly, someone to run the page effectively.
As an SME, you can be highly responsive to people on Facebook, engaging them in conversation and replating to messages. You should ensure that you can find a balance between posting regular engaging content and spamming your followers. Facebook is also great for collecting testimonials and reviews, which, depending on the experience you customers had, can make or break you.
Facebook ads are another key selling point for SMEs. Relatively easy to get to grips with, Facebook ads offer a range of options for reaching your audience and allow you to tailor your ads to fit your objectives, audience and budget. Check out our guide to understanding Facebook ads and optimising your ads.
Facebook: Key stats
- 53% of Facebook users are female
- 47% of Facebook users are male
- 83% of women on the internet use Facebook
- 75% of men on the internet use Facebook
- 62% of online seniors (aged 65+) are on Facebook
- 88% of online users aged 18-29 are on Facebook
- 84% of online users aged 30 – 49 are on Facebook
- 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly
- Facebook is host to over 5 millions advertisers
The highly-popular image sharing platform sees over 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users. Instagram is a great option for small businesses offering the ability to visually engage users and attract new customers using the hashtag and interactions.
Now, with the capability to make in app purchases and tag products in user photos, brands can combine shopping with a native social media experience. Success on Instagram reiles heavily on a strategy which balances artistic and tactical content. Content should be visually engaging but also draw in the audience, give them a reason to connect and even progress to visiting the company website.
Instagram: Benefits to SMEs
Building your SMEs instagram presence can help get people to like you. As simple as it sounds, people buy from businesses that they like, and if you can get people on board whether it’s through a great product, relatable ethical stance or a great brand ethos, people are more likely to buy from you. Instagram can help you do this by creating highly accessible content which reflects your brand.
The use of hashtags allows people to find you more easily. Placing your brand, products and people right in front of the users you want to target can be easily achieved by ensuring you hashtag your posts appropriately. Use sets of hashtags or tags based on topics to ensure you’re reaching people across a number of variations of tags and avoid being too generic to avoid getting lost in the noise.
Finally, you can utilise Instagram to better connect with customers on a native platform, using it to learn what they like by analysing when they like your posts and what kinds of things they like, them using this information to do more of the things that worked. Ensuring you implement a professional looking layouts and imagery can help you generate trust and as a result increase sales.
Instagram: Key stats
- Over 50 billion images shared
- 4.2 billion likes per day
- 68% of users are female
- 38% of female internet users use Instagram
- 26% of male internet users use Instagram
- 32% of internet users are on instagram
- 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram
- 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram
- 72% of teens use Instagram
- Posts with a location get 79% more engagement
- Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement
590 million people are registered as LinkedIn users, and just under half of those are active monthly (260 million). LinkedIn is primarily used to help people make connections professionally and for smaller businesses it can help boost your visibility, help you source and attract employees and build your brand trust through thought leadership.
LinkedIn allows you the opportunity to join industry groups, engage with a network of professionals in your industry and wider, cultivate endorsements, build recommendations, find people to work with and build a name for yourself as a thought leader.
LinkedIn: Benefits to SMEs
LinkedIn can be used for lead generation, with the capability to contact specific types of people based on their user information. You can easily message a whole bunch of people and personalise it, helping to build your network.
You can use LinkedIn to research competitors and current news in the industry, with the ability to easily search based on topic. You can also find groups to join where you can share information, grow your connections and find prospective business partners or customers.
Not only can you boost your brand visibility, build trust and find prospective leads on LinkedIn, it’s also a great place to learn and share knowledge. So many people on LinkedIn regularly share their knowledge with their connections whether this is through video, posts, links to blog posts and articles or just through interactions such as comments. If you’re looking for information on a topic or advice, there’s often at least a dozen people in your network who will be willing to help out.
LinkedIn: Key stats
- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions
- 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn
- 56% of LinkedIn users are male
- 44% of LinkedIn users are female
- There are 87 million Millennials on LinkedIn with 11 million in decision-making positions
- 28% of all male internet users use Linkedin
- 27% of all female internet users use Linkedin
- 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix
- Of 500 million users, just 3 million users share content weekly
- LinkedIn is the #1 channel B2B marketers use to distribute content at 94%