Leveraging social media for business

Diversity is good — but it is also important that it remains somewhat consistent

In this photo illustration, social media apps are seen on a mobile phone on July 29, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

In this photo illustration, social media apps are seen on a mobile phone on July 29, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Over the past 10 years in particular, social media has been a vehicle for new business, market trends, politics, consumerism across all sectors and social change. It has been a platform for both mainstream and niche conversations, and an invaluable component to any business.

So how does one leverage social media for business in a way that leads to the right kind of growth? While the initial instinct may be to rush onto every single platform and share content ASAP, remember that social media represents the face of your business, and it is important to assess each avenue’s unique capabilities. Here are five things to consider.

Identify your platforms

Knowing which ones will work best for you and putting your focus into those specific platforms is essential to not becoming spread too thin (or becoming too redundant) across all platforms. Things to keep in mind are audience demographics for each platform, how each is used to communicate, and what type of content would work best. I recommend Twitter and Linkedin for all business-to-business entities, as these are the most news-focused and are great ways to share wins within the industry and participate in industry conversations. However, for business-to-customer companies, I recommend Instagram and TikTok to quickly grow a consumer audience. When assessing what platforms are best for your purposes, a great place to start is to take a look at where your competition spends their time. What is their strategy and is it working for them? How can you utilize what is working for them to make your strategy even better?

Identify your content

Diversity is good — but it is also important that it remains somewhat consistent. Determine three specific verticals of content types from the get-go: Brand, career, and engagement. Brand content should speak to either your personal brand, the brand of your business or both and should focus on telling the story of what it is about and what it does. Career content should tie into your brand, but is more personalized messaging. It should offer motivating and inspirational insight as far as what goes into building your business. It can also tie in future plans and the actions that are being taken to get there. This helps to take your audience along the journey with you, and it makes it personal. It also gives them a sense of optimism for what is to come. Engagement content is equally important, as this is what creates a conversation between you and your audience. It is the big relationship builder and a great source for building trust as well. From questions to polls to games to live streams, it offers a unique opportunity to garner feedback and is a valuable yet often underutilized source of free and direct market research.

Determine your parameters

Similar to a branding exercise, you need to reflect on what is not your brand in order to define what it is. And when it comes to leveraging business on social media, the only thing more important than what you post is what you do not post. Start with your audience. What would drive them away or lose faith in your company? Identifying that which is outside your parameters is essential to staying within it.

Leverage your best performing content for new content

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen companies make with social media is to immediately stop trying new things when they do not get the same results as their best content. It is part of human nature to be resistant to change to some extent, and your audience is no different. But do not forget that your audience can also grow bored very quickly. Instead, leverage what is working into fresh content. Two great examples I have seen are beauty bloggers showcasing a makeup look while discussing a topic unrelated to beauty, or brands with large YouTube audiences leveraging ad revenue on proven content for fundraising purposes.

Build trust

The greatest overall value that social media can bring to business is building and establishing trust with your audience. This goes for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. By getting your messaging clear and understanding your parameters, you are already at a huge advantage. However, authenticity, taking responsibility and transparency (to a safe degree) are important. Being consistent in these is the only way to maintain the trust you have worked so hard to build. As a global community, we have moved past life’s highlight reels. Above all else, we seek real connection. Offer this to your audience and you may be pleasantly surprised by the support they offer in return.

• Carla DiBello is a documentarian and founder and CEO of CDB Advisory, a bespoke consulting firm that bridges connections across private sectors throughout the Middle East and North America.

Twitter: @CarlaDiBello

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