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Which social network suits your company?

Social Media for Businesses

Nearly everyone has an account on a social media platform. Most famous is Facebook with roughly 191.3 million regular users. Many brands and companies take advantage of Facebook’s large user base and include social media activity in their marketing and advertisement plans. When used correctly, Facebook and other forms of social media can be a useful advertising measure, even for small and medium-sized businesses.

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Category: Net World | Tips
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Expert Interview: Social Network Features

Social networks show how your company handles customer service and can have a positive effect on your reputation.  We interviewed expert Felix Beilharz about the many social media tools and tricks that companies to learn and use.

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Category: Tips
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Social Media – Identifying the Right Platforms For Your Business

For quite some time now social media has found its way into our everyday lives, equally present in business and personal relations. It changed the way people communicate by enabling them to easily share content like news, pictures, videos etc.

For the vast majority of Internet users, social media is an essential part of their digital life, especially when it comes to interaction with businesses. Due to the incredible demand of proper management of these outlets, it’s no wonder why larger businesses have dedicated teams for these purposes.

Just as each business is unique, so are social media networks. Each holds different pro’s and con’s which can help cater to different industries and missions.

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Category: Tips
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The Social Schedule: Best Times to Post on Social Media

Social-Media-Network

Deciding how often to post to social media platforms is hard enough without having to determine what day of the week and what time of day to post. However, understanding the most opportune times to publish content in order to increase engagement is an important part of running successful campaigns on multiple social media platforms. Use the infographic below to quickly reference the best schedule for reaching your audience on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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Category: Tips
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Try Not to Stretch Your Social Presence Too Thin

With so many social networks available, it can be very difficult for a business owner to decide where they should focus their resources. Deciding to develop a presence on a social media site is a great first step, but the next challenge is to decide exactly where and how you will do it. One danger that business owners should try to avoid is spreading themselves too thin too fast. Social media strategy is something that can require a substantial time investment. By creating pages on several social media channels all at the same time, you could fail to accomplish the objectives you set out to do. Below is an explanation of a few things to consider to avoid stretching too thin with your social media strategy.

Consider the audience.

Each social network contains its own audience and a user base with unique demographics. Even the most mainstream networks like Facebook and Twitter are used by different groups of users for different purposes. When developing a social media presence for your business, you must consider which network would be most important to your target audience. If most of your customers and prospects are using Facebook, for example, it would not make sense to focus as much time on a different network like Google+.

Casting a wide net is harder than it sounds.

It might seem tempting to bypass the need to research where your audience is by creating a social presence on every social network. This is not a good idea for several reasons, but the largest reason is the time investment needed to accomplish this properly. Unless your business has a dedicated staff to handle all of the social media channels, it is likely that the pages will be created and then seldom used. A brand with a stale social media presence is almost as bad as no presence at all. The best way to get started in social media is still to research the audience for each, and determine which would be best for your business. Only after successfully integrating a social media strategy with one network should you start building your presence in others.

Consider the advantages and uses of each network.

Each social network has its own strengths and weaknesses. When developing your social media presence and slowly spreading out into other networks, make sure you understand the advantages of each. This can help you be successful while not investing time in unnecessary tactics. For example, Twitter is better for shorter updates, such as during a specific event, while Google+ could be used for more robust content such as videos or photos.

Your social media presence is what you make it.

As with any aspect of business, your success with social media is largely dependent on what you are able to invest in it. If time and resources are an issue at first, it might be best to focus only on the most important network, and branch out in the future when there is more time. If you think you can support multiple networks, make sure you develop a strategy first, and stick to it with the creation of each of your business’ social pages.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/otmarw

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Category: Tips
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Social Media Steps for Small Business

More and more small businesses are getting involved with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Before jumping into these communities with your own business, read this short list we’ve put together about what to consider before investing your time.

1. Develop Strategy
Before doing anything, you should first determine what kind of information your company can offer an audience on social media. Your preliminary analysis should include plans for marketing, public relations, and other areas such as human resources and customer service.

2. Set Goals
Businesses should set specific, realistic, and measurable goals they wish to achieve with social media to determine how to proceed with content direction. Do you wish to increase sales, brand awareness, etc.? Outline the goals from the very beginning to achieve more success.

3. Establish a Team
Social media should not be thought of as an automatic activity. It should be determined from the beginning which employee(s) will be responsible for managing the various aspects of your social media presence. Ensure that they have sufficient time and resources to coordinate the activities, because depending on the response from your audience, it could become more time consuming than originally thought.

4. Calculate Potential Cost
As mentioned in the previous point, you will want to be certain that the members of your “social media team” have the resources they need to succeed. This will likely involve very little hard cost, but will involve time. Estimate the amount of hours per week needed to operate the social media channels for your business, and make sure you are prepared to handle it.

5. Identify Target Audience
Determine where your target audience spends most of its time online, and on which social media platforms. In addition to the major social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter), there might be smaller, more specialized message boards and forums.

6. Perform Monitoring
It is important to establish a method of monitoring social media activity. Monitoring provides insight into what is being discussed about the business, its products, or its competitors. These results can be utilized in marketing and PR, as well as in sales, service, or product development.

7. Specify Content
Content shared on social media should be tailored to the information needs of the target audience, and take into account the specificities of the different social platforms. For instance, something created and shared on Facebook might not be as relevant for your audience on Twitter, and vice versa.

8. Handle Customer Complaints
One side-effect of establishing the social media presence for your business is that it makes it much easier for customers to reach out. Customer comments can range anywhere from compliments to complaints, and it is important to handle each one as you would if they were customers in your building.

9. Measure Success
The success of your social media activities should be continuously measured based on the originally defined goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be established to evaluate whether your strategy is on the right track or needs some adjustment.

10. Motivate Employees
Every business involved with social media should establish a set of social media guidelines for its employees to follow. The guidelines outline the opportunities and risks of social media, and provide specific details on how employees should behave on behalf of the company online. Information sessions and training programs will help ensure that the guidelines are implemented throughout the company.

Photo Credit: ©istockphoto.com/mattjeacock

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Demographics of Social Media Platforms

As a small business just starting to get involved in a social media strategy, it is important to understand the demographics of each platform. If you are trying to decide which network is the best place to invest the most of your time, you would ideally choose the platform that best matches up with your own business’s targeted demographics. Fortunately, the Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey that evaluates the specific demographics of each of the top networks. We will briefly summarize the findings in this article.

In a survey of over 1,800 internet users, the findings show that Facebook is the most widely-used social network, with 67 percent of users claiming to have an account. The majority of those users are adults between the ages of 18-29. Twitter was found to be used by 16 percent of users in the same age bracket, and those users are primarily urban residents. As the two most important social networks, it is important to understand the user base, to determine which might be a better area to reach your target audience.

While a majority of users with social media accounts fall into the 18-29 age bracket, Pinterest was one network that attracted the most of an older generation (and primarily women). In fact, the older generation’s use of social media in general might be surprising to some business owners. It was long believed that social media was only used by a younger demographic, but according to the research, just over half of those surveyed in the 50-64 age bracket claimed to have at least one social media account. And about one third of users 65 years and older had an account as well. This is definitely a shift from the past several years, and an important trend to consider when establishing your business’s social presence.

Another important item to note is that, while only 16 percent of those surveyed used Twitter, that number has doubled since 2010. It continues to follow the trend of more and more users joining the various social networks.

The research paints a clear picture of exactly what kinds of users are on the various social networks. The next step for small business owners is to determine who their target demographics are, and figure out which networks might be most important for their social strategy.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/cyrop

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Category: eBusiness
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Handle Social Media the Right Way for Small Business

As social media networks continue to grow and become more ingrained in our daily lives, businesses large and small need to take advantage of the new avenues for customer communication. Nearly all large businesses have some kind of social media presence at this point, and the number of small and medium businesses is on the upswing as well. Everyone seems to understand the benefits, but many small businesses are still getting it wrong.

While it may take a while to come to the decision, the idea to create a Facebook, Twitter, etc. profile page for your businesses is easy. The challenge arises when thinking about what comes next. There are several areas where a small business social media presence can go wrong. Is your business guilty of any of the following problems?

No defined strategy: As a social media user in your personal time, ask yourself how you feel about brands and businesses that intrude on your social news feeds with nothing valuable to offer. There has likely been at least one occasion where a post had no interest to you and did not provide any useful information. This can be attributed to a lack of strategy. While sites like Twitter or Pinterest are two of the most popular social networks at the moment, it doesn’t mean you need to force your business onto them. Go where your audience is, and try not to create a presence somewhere that doesn’t make sense for you.

Ignoring Customer Inquiries: The ability to easily communicate on social media opens the door for your business to receive more customer questions and complaints than you might typically be used to. Because of this, responding to everyone could be a daunting task. It is important to set aside time and resources to respond promptly. If customers take notice that you are not responding to them, they could feel ignored and have a negative impression of your actual business.

Boring Content: Finally, content is the key for any type of presence your business has on the internet. Whether it is the company’s official website or a page on a social media network, by not providing any information, photos, videos, etc. to your audience online, they are not likely to continue following what you have to say. Provide things that are useful for them, and engaging. Discuss industry trends, solve common problems, share important company news, etc. Your customers will appreciate what you have to offer them if they appreciate what you have to share.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/alexsl

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