The BookingBug small business guide to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

We all know the benefits of using social media as part of your business’ marketing strategy – the high exposure, the low costs involved, and the vast, wide audience right at your fingertips.

And here at BookingBug, we understand how costly social media can be in terms of the time and effort it requires from small businesses, and how hard it can be to keep up with the various platforms available.

So we have compiled a social media guide to ensure small businesses are well-informed about three of the most popular and widely-used social media platforms, and how best to utilise these channels effectively.

Facebook

Facebook is often viewed as an extension of your brand, showing your company’s personality through team photos and quirky updates and shares. However, it is also a place where you can post external content or anything other links you think your readers may find interesting.

When it comes to posting about your product or service, there is no right or wrong way to do this, as it depends on your product and your audience. It all depends on how you are posting about your product or service also, the less pushy you sound about selling, the more likely you are to get a positive reaction from your audience. As well as this, users are also more engaged if you’re sharing non-promotional content, such as blog posts from external sources. It shows the genuine side of your business, showing how you want to build a relationship with your customers.

It’s important to recognise that communicating with your customers should never be just about trying to get them to do something that will benefit your business. After all, relationships are a two-way thing, so make sure you post plenty of content for your customers to benefit from too. Using the 80/20 rule is a great way to ensure you have this balance just right.

If you’ve not come across the 80/20 rule before, it’s a balancing rule that can be used in many areas, including the economy and even dieting. In this case, it can be used for content marketing, and it can help marketers and business owners find the right balance between posting self-promotive content and non-promotive content.

The idea here is that 20% of your posts should be promoting your product or service, and the other 80% should be about you sharing fun and interesting content for your customers, engaging with them and building relationships.

This rule can help you to not overdo self-promotion, and encourage you to really get to know your customers, by sharing content with them that you think they will enjoy and benefit from in another way.

Verdict:Post shareable content that will be of genuine interest to your audience. Anything team-based, such as behind-the-scenes photos, are also great for engagement. Keep *self-promotion to a minimum, considering the 80/20 rule.*
Twitter

Twitter, for the most part, is an information pool. The fast-paced nature of the Twitter feed means that a lot of the information circulating is bite-sized and shareable, and relatively disposable.

Twitter is often used as a first port of call for news and updates, functioning a bit like a newspaper. Although a lot of content on Twitter is based on business and the professional industry, that doesn’t stop it from being a news source for other more leisurely industries, such as the sport and beauty industries.

So on Twitter, you’ve got the green light for posting external, informative content from your industry. But you need to make sure it is enticing and eye-catching in order to be noticed amongst all the other tweets in a user’s feed. Using images and hashtagging buzzwords is a great way to do this, as the images will make your tweet more striking, and the hashtagging will extend the reach of your tweet to users that are seeking out that term.

You also want to show sincerity when tweeting to your audience. The last thing you want to do is spew out information like some sort of short-circuiting information-robot. Consumers aren’t fools – they know what tweets are genuine, and what tweets aren’t so much. So give the post some context, tell your users why you are posting it and how it may be helpful to them.

Verdict: Post bite-sized information frequently, adding images to the odd tweet and hashtagging to extend reach. Be genuine and sincere. Engage with others in your industry, such as potential customers and clients, and don’t be afraid to show off your knowledge in the field.

Instagram

Instagram is used for editing and posting photographs. Since its growth in popularity, many companies have since joined the social media platform.

Contrary to popular belief, companies don’t have to have a visual product/service to promote on the platform – because it is not necessarily about product promotion, but rather brand promotion. Instagram is a great way to show your brand’s personality, namely through team photos. Consumers often really respond to seeing behind-the-scenes content from a company, as it shows their ‘human’ side.

Instagram is a great excuse to post pictures of your team and business – any physical evidence of your company personality. Got a new coffee machine in the office you’re all excited about? Post it. One of the team brought in homemade cupcakes? Post it.

When it comes to taking pictures of your product/service, post pictures of it in action and anything that shows it in a fun light, rather than a you-should-buy-this-right-now kind of light. it’s worth mentioning that links do not work on Instagram, so promoting is actually quite difficult – You have to get creative and give your followers an incentive to find out more themselves!

Verdict: Instagram is perfect for showing off your brand’s unique personality, through team photos and quirky office moments. Product promotion is accepted but best shown in action or in a humorous kind of light.

This guide aims to help you gain a better understanding of some of the most popular social media channels available. It’s important to remember that what may work for one business, may not work for another. So it’s worth taking the time to experiment with different posting techniques, recording the results and seeing what does and doesn’t work for your audience, all the while building your own marketing strategy – one that’s tailored to your business.

Social media can be difficult to keep up with, and these are only three of all the available platforms out there. But there are tools available that can help you manage your social media channels. For instance, Twitter tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can help you schedule your posts, manage who is talking about your business and filter content that is relevant to your industry.

Generally, social media platforms also offer business accounts, which come kitted out with analytics and lots of other performance-measuring tools and goodies to help you turn your social media page into an all singing, all dancing customer engagement centre.

And why stop at social media? Why not channel your efforts into other platforms too? See how you can tailor your emails to boost your response rate. With the right upkeep and dedication, you’ll be an expert in managing your customer engagement channels.