When you consider that it is only just over ten years since the first social network opened to the public, it is amazing to think how engrained social media has become in todayâ€™s culture. When Friendster first went online in 2002 with the first real social network, it was hard to imagine that in 2013 half of UK adults would be using a social media on a daily basis.
There have been constant and significant improvements to the technology since the early days. First Myspace, then Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all borrowed ideas from their predecessors and developed the concept to suit their target demographic. However, whilst there is absolutely no question about the popularity of social media for communication and entertainment amongst friends, there is still a big question mark over how useful it really is for marketing a business.
Big companies have started to use sponsored community pages as an extension of their branding activity, and there is evidence that suggests this is worthwhile. However, for small businesses looking to sell products and services via direct response marketing, social media certainly has much to prove before it can ever really demand a significant portion of time or money to be spent.
At Rosco Digital Media we provide affordable website design services for many small businesses, and regularly discuss social media strategy with our clients. The general feedback that we receive, and also promote ourselves, is that social media activity should be undertaken as cheaply and efficiently as possible. In reality, spending hours randomly tweeting or uploading photo albums to Facebook is very unlikely to result in the generation of revenue for your business.
Having said that, there are a number of ways that you can include social media in your marketing strategy, and a number of benefits that even a small amount of activity can deliver. Setting up and maintaining profiles with the main networks can help prove your credibility as a business, both to potential customers and to the search engines. This in turn can lead to buyer confidence and better SEO and search engine rankings. If you have a great small business website design then also engaging in some social media activity can really help to show that you are a modern and relevant company.
Here are the main activities that we suggest for small businesses:
Create Your Accounts
For most companies we would suggest that you sign up with any of the biggest and most established sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Youtube and Pinterest. Once you have done the registrations, spend a little time branding the pages with your logo, contact details and a short description of your services.
Add Links to Your Website
This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most common is by adding the small logo icons for each website, which link to your profile pages. These should be placed somewhere consistent on every page of your website, which will encourage any interested visitors to â€˜followâ€™ your profiles.
Add Feeds to Your Website
If you actually intend to make regular and useful updates to any of your profiles, it may be worth adding a live feed of these to your website. This can help to make your website more engaging and also show that you are active and interested in new media. However, this should only be done if you are realistically going to add regular updates. Having a Twitter feed showing potential customers that your most recent tweet was 6 months ago could end up having the opposite effect that you are trying to achieve. This type of integration is very straightforward and should be included for free with every budget web design package.
Post Your Blog
A great way of generating content for your website is to write a regular blog on relevant areas of your industry. This can be a good way to attract interested visitors to your website, and will also improve your rankings with the search engines because they put a lot of emphasis on regular new content. If you sign up with a free service like HootSuite it will enable you to link all of your profiles together and just post once to update all of the simultaneously. This can be a great way to share your blog posts and get them in front of potential customers.
If you are looking to integrate social media into your marketing, but have neither the time nor the inclination to get started, we can help. Rosco Digital Media offers a range of low cost website design and graphic design services to suit all budgets. We can take care of the creation and branding of your social media profiles, leaving you to concentrate on making money for your business. Please get in touch to find out more.