Playing Smart: How to Make the Best Use of Social Media for Business Opportunities
One visible difference between a 20th-century and the 21st-century marketplace is the ability to play smart in the latter.
To work hard was fashionable advice given to business owners to get them to promote their business in the old time. But now, this advice has seen better days and working smart is the new normal.
A necessary skill that every entrepreneur – whether greenhorn or expert – needs in the 21st-century business space is the ability to play smart in the digital space. And playing smart requires learning and acquiring vital information to help you maximise the digital space potential and be relevant. Social media in particular is crucial to business success.
To this end, below is some relevant information that you need to have about some popular social media applications in order to be a smart digital market player.
Facebook allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and videos, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
Marketing on Facebook holds a lot of opportunities. To be a relevant player on the platform, you will need to be a constant creator of good content. You will also need to actively relate and interact with people who engage your posts. Prompt response to queries is especially important for attracting customers.
Facebook allows users to create profiles for business marketing, political movement, companies, individuals, products and services.
Facebook’s Primary Audience
Facebook is simply too big to be ignored as an enduring social media platform for business digital marketing communications campaigns. Worldwide there are currently 2.93 billion monthly active users (MAU) on the platform. There is a 9% increase in Facebook’s MAUs every year. It has over 26 million monthly active users in Nigeria alone.
Facebook has users from all age demographics, making it one of the most diverse social channels. Users spend more time on Facebook (at least 40 minutes daily) than on any other social media platform. The platform can be an effective tool for small business owners to build an audience and image for their brand and business.
Optimizing Posts on Facebook
- Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 pm and 3 pm.
- Engagement is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Posting only 1 or 2 times a day attracts the most engagement.
Uses of Facebook for Business Marketing
- Building an audience and following for your brand.
- Interact with customers and fans by being there to answer questions and start discussions.
Facebook can be a hard platform to stand out organically, as it has a fancy algorithm which is constantly changing. The algorithm favours content based on fans’ usage habits and past interactions. So just because you have X number of Facebook fans, that doesn’t mean all those fans are seeing each thing you post. It’s likely only the fans that interact with your page on a regular basis will see it since they have shown the most interest in your brand.
Twitter allows users to send and read short (280 characters) messages referred to as ‘tweets’, with the possibility of grouping tweets into threads. The platform currently has over 750 million users and it is a great channel to engage with other users and make new connections. Many Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands or third-party influencers they like or follow on Twitter, so this can be a great and necessary tool for start-ups and small businesses.
Twitter marketing strategy is centred around creating, publishing and distributing short, valuable content for followers. Concision and brevity advertisement is very important on Twitter because of limited character permission. This makes messages digestible and brisk enough for deals to be sealed quickly.
Twitter’s Primary Audience
- Twitter’s largest demographic is young adults and has a pretty equal gender breakdown globally.
Uses of Twitter for Business Marketing
- Following and engaging with other users who would be interested in what you have to offer.
- Interacting with your fan base and answering questions, resolving complaints and so on.
- Building relationships with current and prospective customers, partners and people within your network.
Optimizing Posts on Twitter
- For Business to Business (B2B), weekdays provide more engagement than weekends.
- For Business to Customer (B2C), engagements and clicks are highest on weekends and midweek.
- A minimum of three tweets a day is recommended for optimal engagement.
Unlike Facebook with a complex algorithm that determines the lifecycle of your business’s content, Twitter has a very short lifecycle. A tweet only has about an 18-minute lifespan, meaning that if you aren’t active and regularly posting, your content could be completely missed.
LinkedIn is designed for the business community to network and connect. The site is clearly a popular one among the professional community. Linkedin allows you to set up a company and personal profile and connect with other professionals you may know or would like to know.
You will be notified of status updates of the profile of your connections. LinkedIn is an essential site for a successful digital media marketing campaign. At present, it has over 690 million users from over 200 countries. It is known to be the most professional of the major networking platforms. Because it focuses more on B2B, it accounts for more major business leads on social media.
LinkedIn’s Primary Audience
LinkedIn is one of the only social networks with a majority of users who don’t fall between 18 and 29 years old. It is more popular among those that fall between 30 and 65 years old, ranging from those who are college graduates, higher income-level young professionals and high-net-worth individuals.
Uses of LinkedIn for Business Marketing
- To showcase a workplace and what it’s like to work there.
- To post new job opportunities and recruit potential employees.
- To connect and engage with other business professionals.
Optimizing Posts on LinkedIn
- One post per weekday allows you to reach approximately 60% of your audience.
- Since LinkedIn is a business-oriented platform targeted at the middle-aged and older generations, it won’t provide much value to businesses that have a younger target market (think those that haven’t finished college yet) or aren’t business-centric. For example, it may be a great place for a web design company to be because they’ll be seeking new businesses as clients, but as a small ice cream shop, it is likely not going to provide much value.
Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing social networking platform that allows users to share photos and videos and interact with other users. The platform has over 300 million users sharing over 60 million photos each day.
On estimate, about 1 billion people use Instagram every month. And the business potential on the platform is around 25 million. It is a good social media platform to stimulate sales and reach career goals.
Instagram’s Primary Audience
- More than half of the age demographic for Instagram users is between the ages of 18 and 45.
Uses of Instagram for Business Marketing
- Publishing and viewing visually appealing content such as videos and photos.
Optimizing Posts on Instagram
- The best time to post is in the evening when people are ending their workday or in the early morning when fewer people are online and publishing.
- Publish two posts per day.
- Instagram doesn’t allow for links to be embedded in regular organic posts, therefore this platform isn’t great if you are trying to lead your customers elsewhere, like to a specific page on your website.
- If you don’t have highly visual, quality content you’re sharing, you aren’t going to have much success on the network.
WhatsApp Business Application
WhatsApp Business is an app which is free to download and was built with the small business owner in mind. With the app, businesses can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.
Uses of WhatsApp for Business Marketing
- It allows you to create a business profile with helpful information for your customers like your address, business description, email address, and website.
- It also lets you organize your contacts or chats with labels, so you can easily find them again.
- It allows you to access important metrics such as how many of your messages were successfully sent, delivered and read.
- It allows for the creation of automated messages. Set an away message when you are unable to answer so your customers know when to expect a response. You can also create a greeting message to introduce your customers to your business.
If you’ve read through this post carefully, you’ll understand that it is not enough to just set up a social media account, snap or type your advert in it, because it seems seamless.
You need to know how to do the right thing at the right time, in the right place, and for the right target in order to achieve the right objective. Knowing and deploying the information we’ve given you will massively increase your chances of attracting prospects for business objectives.
Temidayo Babatunde is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Information and Strategy Management (CIISM) and can be reached via his LinkedIn (firstname.lastname@example.org).