Getting social: Five Social Platforms For Your Business

Social media has undoubtedly become an immensely important tool for small and mid-sized businesses, and it can add value in many different ways. It’s very likely that whatever your business, your customers (and potential customers) use social media everyday in their personal lives – and it has now become common practice for businesses to take advantage of this fact.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of social media is its two-way nature. It can allow for much closer personal connectivity with your customers in a way that simply wasn’t possible before now. Having worked with small and mid-sized businesses that use social media as both an engagement tool and a sales tool, here’s a list of some of the platforms that BookingBug users use to help grow their businesses:

*1. Facebook *

The sheer amount of users on Facebook makes this platform simply unavoidable as a business tool. If you only want one social outlet for your business out of this list, let that one be Facebook. Setting up a Facebook Page will allow your business to have an official profile and home, and contain all the necessary details for you to both interacts with customers as well as actually sell your service. Publishing your BookingBug widget straight onto your Facebook Page will make sharing your business with others much more convenient, and can help capture a previously untapped customer base. Moreover, Wall Posts by customers or yourself can be a great way to start a conversation that can be joined by others, and can be promoted by them for you through Likes and Shares.

2. Twitter

Also featuring a huge user base, Twitter is a quick blog platform. With only a 140 character limit to each tweet, this is a neat way to promote and make announcements instantaneously to all your followers. Due to its short one-liner nature, Twitter can be quite restrictive, but can be made useful for simple one-off statements, or answering with quick replies to queries from customers or potential customers. For example, you could announce daily deals or coupons using Twitter to your followers that can be used when making bookings on your website.

3. Google+

This platform is very much like Facebook, where you can build your company’s profile page, and provides ample space for you to present information and media. However, even though some may argue that Google+ does not have as massive a crowd as Facebook does, it has the great benefit of being a Google platform. Not only can this be handy to have a singular account across multiple outlets (such as YouTube and Gmail), there is an inherent advantage when it comes to Google-specific SEO, which is always a bonus for your business.

4. Instagram

For a more visual and fun approach to social media, Instagram is a handy tool to capture shots of your business in action. Add filters to photos you take using your smartphone, hashtag them with relevant categories, then upload and share them to the online community. Pinterest is also a very good platform for pictorial posts on social media, but Instagram is the more widely used choice, and probably most accessible to newcomers. This can be an ideal match for service businesses in the health and beauty industry due to their innately visual and appealing nature, but experiment to see what Instagram can do for yours. Be creative with it, and let the personality of your company shine through pictures!

5. YouTube

If you’ve set up a Google+ page for your business,  it will be a breeze to set up a YouTube account as well, as the two can be linked via the same Google account. YouTube can help give your business’ social media presence that extra dimension of videos and this platform is the best to do just that. Be sure to update your Channel with the relevant information about your business, as well as putting in useful links in the description of your videos. YouTube content is easily shared, so you want to make sure that viewers can also easily get to where you want them to be, no matter which video of yours they are watching.

There are plenty other platforms out there that you can experiment with, but this short list is a good place to start. You’ll be able to cover a wide audience, as well as through varied formats of media. Other types of social media that may be worth considering are blogs (using platforms such as WordPress or Tumblr) and image boards (like Pinterest), but those can come later once you’ve established a solid social media presence for your business. Don’t forget to always link back to your website and BookingBug widget so that customers will always have the quickest way to booking and purchasing your services. And finally, do let us know what other social tools you’ve experimented with for your business and tell us what’s worked for you!