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Social Media for Business: A Starter Guide to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn

Jan 6, 2016
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UNDERSTANDING_SOCIAL_MEDIA_FOR_BUSINESS_-__A_BEGINNERS_GUIDE_TO_FACEBOOK_TWITTER__LINKEDIN.jpgIn a world of online interaction, social media has become the center point for connection. But not all social media platforms are the same. In fact, each have their own very unique purpose and in order to use them properly, it’s important to understand what that purpose is. Businesses across the globe have been using social media to connect with customers and find new leads. This post will cover the 3 main social media platforms used by everyday Americans; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We will look at why the platform was created as well as how to get the most out of social media for your business.

Before we dive into each platform, I want to give you some best practices that apply to all social media platforms. Following these rules will help make sure that you connect and add value to your followers. So let’s get started!
  1. Know The Platform “Rules”: We will cover these in detail below.
  2. Be social: Social media is about connecting, not advertising.
  3. Be authentic: Be who you are. Be yourself. Don’t fake it.
  4. Share the Love: Make sure that you share other people's content as well as your own.
  5. Don’t over sell: Selling on social works, but over selling (or over self-promotion) will have a negative impact on your business.

Facebook

Facebook (originally called TheFacebook) is by far the largest social media platform in the world. The platform as we know it today, launched in October of 2005. It was created by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates as a way for college students to connect. It went live to the public in 2006 and has continued to grow ever since. Today Facebook has over 1 billion active users across the globe and is used for both personal and commercial purposes.

Facebook is the most personal of all the social media networks. It’s become a place to connect with old and new friends, family and co-workers. While Facebook may be the most “personal” network, this doesn’t mean you should share everything about yourself. Many companies look at the profiles of perspective clients and business partners to see who they “really are.” This also applies to consumers looking at what businesses they want to interact with. Many consumers will look up the personal accounts of business owners to learn more about them. In a connection based economy, people want to do business with people that are authentic, real and trustworthy. If your business page shows you as a clean and caring person, but your personal account contradicts your claims, this can result in lost business and a bad reputation.  

When it comes to your personal account, make sure you only share stuff you want people to see and won’t regret in the future. Make sure that your image across Facebook is consistent. It is a public site, so what you post is out there for the world to see. 

When posting for your business, planning is a smart move. The frequency and types of posts you make should be determined by your buyer personas. What you see working for a tech company is probably not the best approach for your local real estate company. Facebook posts do have a longer “shelf life” than Twitter post. But with Facebook's complex algorithm, just because you post something, doesn’t’ mean you’ll reach all of your audience. Check your analytics often to see when you have the most engagement. These can be found by clicking the “insights” tab at the top of your business page.

Facebook Marketing for Business

This will also help you find the right balance of posting. If you’re just starting out, start slow. See how your audience reacts and then add more if needed. 

Twitter

The fast pace social network known as Twitter, has over 300 million users world wide. Twitter limits their posts to only 140 characters. This keeps the conversation short and to the point. One of the main benefits of Twitter is that it’s timeline is just that, a timeline. While Facebook uses a complex algorithm to deliver you posts it thinks you want to see, Twitter shows you posts in real time. This means you can post (and should post) more often.

Twitter may be most famous for the creation of the “Hashtag”, #.  The symbol originally known as “The Pound Sign” is used by Twitter to group conversations and make it easier for users to find and track a topic they are interested in. Hashtags can be very helpful to get your message in front of the right audience. Research trends to see what people on Twitter are talking about and make sure you connect with industry leaders.

twitter marketing for small business

Twitter also has analytics that you can dive into to see if what you are doing is working for your business. Just go to https://analytics.twitter.com and login. Look at the engagement rates and how your audience is interacting. Build your audience by retweeting, using hashtags and sharing helpful content. Don’t forget to engage with others too. Answer questions and be helpful. That's what social media is all about.  

Twitter Marketing for Beginners

 LinkedIn

Business went social in 2003 when LinkedIn came on the scene. Unlike the other two networks that are used for both personal and business reasons, LinkedIn is all business. It was created to be used as a platform for business professionals to connect online as well as a way for companies to recruit and prospect top talent.

LinkedIn now has over 300 million business professionals on their platform and its reach is global. LinkedIn’s focus is business. They have a number of ways to connect, such as groups, business pages, Jobs and more. When posting to LinkedIn, keep it business focused. One of the biggest pet peeves of LinkedIn users is when people post personal information on the platform.

Another “rule” on LinkedIn is don’t over promote yourself. You want to help others and position yourself as a trusted source of information. Add helpful content, respond to others and join industry related groups.

Making sure your profile is fully completed and optimized will help increase your presence. You also want to make sure that you create a company profile. Here is a visual guide to help you create a great looking and optimized LinkedIn business page.

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Just like the other two, LinkedIn also gives you data on how your users are interacting with your content. This can be found under the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” link under “Profile.” If you have a business page, you can also access the analytics for that page. Tracking what you are doing and tweaking to maximize results is the best way to get the most out of each of these platforms.  

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Social media has changed the way we connect. There are hundreds of social networking sites across the globe and because of social media, we have the ability to be connected to the world with just a click. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the giants of social media at this time, but there are others who are climbing in popularity. Remember when using the platforms, understand the purpose, track what you are doing and add value to your followers! So now it’s your turn. Log online and get social! 

Social Media Prospecting

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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