Social Media Platforms Basics and How They Help Businesses Grow

February 9, 2018 Seth Spriggs

Most people realize the value of social media in their personal lives, but using it for business is another story. Successful businesses today are using social media to connect with more customers and reach people in their areas. These businesses are educating and engaging in conversations with people to help them make decisions. 

So what are you waiting for?

How social platforms can help you engage with customers

Social media platforms come in many different forms: basic messages, heavier content sharing, podcasts, video-based sites, image sharing sites, and communities. And many platforms, like Facebook, allow you to share many different types of content.

Here are 5 types of social platforms and how they can help you engage with customers:

1. Social networking sites

This includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. These sites let you build relationships and communities and share information in real-time.

Why they’re great for promoting your businesses: These sites are great for sharing practical information about your business and helping spread the word about your services. They also offer great advertising features to help you target locals in your area or that have interests similar to your current customers.

Businesses are using them to: Connect directly with people. For example, bakeries are sharing photos of fresh baked goods straight from the oven and letting people know that they’re hot and ready for purchase. Business owners are also chatting directly with customers: answering questions, promoting sales and sharing basic business information like store hours.

TIP: Don’t forget to join local interest groups. Groups are a goldmine for building your network and connecting with new people, but it’s important to start by listening. Don’t join a group and then post deals and offers. This sales approach often turns people off and can even get you banned from a group. Instead, listen to the conversations and answer peoples questions with your expertise. You can also share tips or articles that you think people will find interesting.

If you need help getting started on Facebook or don’t have time to update your page, our Advertising Experts can help refine and maintain your Facebook page so that you can reach more local customers.

2. Blogs

Originally known as web logs, blogs entries are a great way to share your business’ stories. For best results, add a dedicated page to your website and begin sharing different types of engaging information related to your business.

Why they’re great for promoting your business: Blogs help you educate and engage buyers and establish trust. Providing meaningful content can help customers learn if you’re the type of business for them. Whether you’re sharing photos of your menu’s best dishes, or posting a story about how you helped on a recent job, customers can easily learn about what you do and why you do it.

Businesses are using them to: Share stories, practical tips, and answer frequently asked questions--pretty much anything to help inform and/or engage with customers. For example, many clothing stores write “How To” blogs to show people how to put the perfect look together.

TIP: Blogs are also a great way to help new customers find your website. Written content, like blog posts, can help search engines better understand your business and ultimately send more customers your way. 

3. Video and image sharing sites/apps

This includes YouTube, Snapchat, Vimeo, Pinterest, Flickr, Slideshare, and Instagram.

Why they’re great for promoting your business: They help you instantly edit and share videos and images that can be very captivating and engaging. They also encourage sharing.

Businesses are using them to: Share videos and images that capture audience attentions, without a huge effort or time commitment. Sure, creating high-quality, professional videos can be a little time consuming, but you really only need a few of those to stand out. Many businesses find that they can be extremely successful just grabbing a smartphone and capturing a few photos of the work they’re doing or sharing a bit of their personality in a quick video. It can rally be that easy and very little planning or scripting is required.

 TIP: Use hashtags (#) in your social media posts. Hastags are a type of label used on social platforms to make it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. For example, label your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts with #Edmontonsnowremoval, so more people can find your promotion.

4. Review Sites

There are lots of great review sites that specialize in different industries, like travel, home improvement or restaurants. Additionally, sites like cater to local businesses and help buyers connect in their local areas. Consumers come to rate products and services, and can post testimonials about their experience. 

Why they’re great for promoting your business: People trust other people’s reviews. In fact, 92 per cent of local business buyers read online reviews, and 80 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In short, if you have good online reviews, people are more likely to buy your product or use your services.

Businesses are using them to: Help more people find them online. It’s important to add basic information like location, store hours, and a link to your website. Sign-up for a free Yellow Pages listing now and start connecting with more local customers.

TIP: Make sure you have a great mobile listing. Over half of Canadians use smartphones, so they’re searching for local businesses while on the go and are ready to make a purchase. Learn how Yellow Pages can improve your mobile listing.

Social media is changing the rules

If your business isn’t using any social platforms, then it is time join the conversation. Most people go online first and social media is often a first stop for seeking information, asking questions, and learning about new things. So don’t miss out.

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