Social media can be a hard thing to get your head around. There are so many different types out there it can be confusing which is best to use for you and your business. In this article we will cover the basics of social media and how it can have a positive effect on your business.

FacebookLet’s start with Facebook. With well over 1 billion users it is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. The basic Facebook profile is for personal use for everything from sharing photo’s, posting a status about what you are doing and even arranging events between you and friends. On a personal profile you can send and receive friend requests to connect with your friends. Then whenever you post or share anything your friends will be able to see it, like it and comment on it. You can change your settings so that everyone can see your posts or just friends. There is also the function to privately message people. These are just the basics of the many things you can do on Facebook.

Facebook also has a function to add a business page. This is slightly different to a personal profile. You do not actually have friends on a business profile, instead people can like your business. Doing this they are basically subscribing to see all of the posts and content you put on to Facebook. This is a great way to bring in business and keep in touch with your customers. Telling your customers to like you on Facebook and share your page is also good to get more people interested, then their friends will see it and so on, potentially reaching millions of people.

Users can also share your posts. After people have bought a product and are pleased with it, they get a natural urge to share it with their friends. It only takes one person to share something on Facebook and it can potentially reach thousands of people if they all like and share it too. This is a great way to get business and it is a good idea to use Facebook like and share buttons for products on your website.

TwitterTwitter is also another social media giant. It works on a slightly different basis to Facebook. On twitter you have a profile a bit like on Facebook, but instead of doing a status update you do what is called a tweet.

You can tweet about anything like what you are doing or your opinion on something. The only catch is that you are limited to 140 characters per tweet. This is so that they are not too boring and to keep tweets short. It also encourages you to make your tweet informative. It looks hard at first, but when you get the hang of it you will be a twitter expert.

When tweeting, you can use something called a hashtag (#). A hashtag is a way of telling people what your post is about. Take this tweet for example, ‘I love my new car #Jaguar’. This post is referring to Jaguar, by using this hashtag people searching for ‘Jaguar’ will be able to see your post. A hashtag is also useful if you are staging an event so that people can comment about it using a hashtag.

There are many ways to get people engaged in your business and it is vital to keep people interested. Social media is a great way to do this. Here are some of the best things you can do to get the best engagement.

Real time engagement- When putting a post on social media, the best way to get people involved is real time. This can be making a post about a recent event in the news, something about the day e.g. Easter or Christmas and the main thing is, to be ready to reply to someone’s comments. If a user sends you a comment it is vital that you respond promptly so that they do not lose concentration and leave your page. This is also good to show people that there is an actual person behind the page.

Encourage engagement- The main outcome you want from a social media profile or page is to get people engaged in your content. That way your posts can have a dramatic impact. It is a good idea to post something every day so that people do not forget about you. The type of posts you do also have a big effect. Using things like quizzes is a great way to get people involved. Also asking people to share images or what they have been doing at the weekend is perfect to get more people involved in your business.

But, the most important thing is, your posts need to be interesting. There is nothing worse than scrolling through a page and seeing zero likes and boring posts. Make sure they are short, snappy and fun.

Getting people to check in on Facebook is also good for your business. This is a great feature on Facebook. It allows people to post their location and what they are doing. For example, if someone is in your shop and they check in it is a good advertisement for you. The more people that check in the better. Some businesses also use a ‘Selfie corner’. This has taken hold in the last year and is becoming even more popular. This works by having a hashtag or check in point painted on the wall. People then take a selfie with the hashtag and post to twitter or Facebook. The idea is then to have everyone who comes into your business do the same and you will build up lots of tweets and statuses for that hashtag and your business so that you get a bigger social media presence.

Overall, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Social media can be intimidating but once you have got the hang of it you can generate leads, new friends and most importantly new business.

If you have any questions about social media go to the message bar on the bottom right of this page and we will be happy to give some more advice and tips.