SME: Riding the digital marketing wave with Twitter, Facebook

McCoy Pauley writes on how businesses can find their virtual voice and catch consumers’ attention by tapping these major social media platforms.

  

Social media. It's a boon for business, but can be the bane of our very online existence – to tweet or not to tweet; to "like" or not to "like". It's stunning how much thought and management must go into an effective social media campaign and at the end of the day, the utility of Twitter and Facebook rely heavily on how you choose to use the platforms.

If you are trying your hand at a social media campaign, start small. Pick one vehicle and drive it until you either wind up on top of a marketing mountain or crash at the bottom, ready to pick up and try again.

FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESSES

There are two dynamics of Facebook that apply to businesses and both are worthy of your attention and consideration. The first is the advertising aspects of Facebook. This social media tool has opened up millions of pages for advertisements according to demographic information gleaned from users. Paying for Facebook advertisements can be lucrative if your business appeals to groups or types of users and you are able to find the right message.

But Facebook advertising isn't a true social media campaign. Building a page for your company on Facebook is where there is true staying power for many companies, but only if you can make that page popular among customers.

To make Facebook work for your business, you must build a page to represent your brand online. This is reasonable if you've already developed an effective customer brand online – it's simply a logical extension. Then you will need to run the Facebook media campaign in order to reach out to others and have them "Like" or "Follow" you in return.

If you are not giving anything to your customers, they are not going to do much for you. You don't have to send out coupon codes or run contests through Facebook, although this are certainly great ideas, but you should put that Facebook account to use with articles, relevant news items and articles or images that your customers find engaging and relevant.

One bonus of running a Facebook page for your business is that most individuals won't take the time to remove your company from their preferences once they "Like" you. This means that you can create viral materials (if you're able to, of course) that catch a lot of attention quickly.

The viral materials encourage people to "Like" you and then they stay connected into the foreseeable future, even if you fail to keep up your end of the media bargain. Of course, if you're not actually using Facebook to post more interesting things, you're not utilising that large base of potential customers effectively and there was never any point to develop it in the first place.

TWITTER FOR BUSINESS

Twitter has a lot of similarities to Facebook in that you can easily develop a large base of potential customers, but only if you're able to find meaningful, engaging materials. In many regards Twitter is easier to develop and maintain than Facebook profiles for businesses.

Twitter is essentially an online mouthpiece for your company. You control what is posted and what can be reposted on your own feed. You can't, however, control where your tweets go and who reads them, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's the essence of word-of-virtual-mouth marketing.

Anyone can follow your company on Twitter and this can be both an asset and a liability as you often have no idea who or what owns each handle on the network. If you're stepping into the world of social media for the first time, developing a Twitter account is not only simpler than a Facebook page, but it is easier to maintain as well.

Short 160-character links and pitches are easy enough to post, and with short messages, it's easier to keep a Twitter account active for customers and followers, especially if you have sales or special promotions often.

The biggest downside of Twitter, however, is that it can be one-sided much of the time. Where Facebook can develop a fully engaged marketing team of would-be customers responding, reviewing and engaging over the social media platform, Twitter offers you a large megaphone for faithful followers – a stepping stone to a true social media platform for success.

© ZAWYA 2020