Using Facebook, Twitter and other social media is a good idea for many businesses, but there are a few things to think about before you get started. Here’s what I recommend.
- What’s important is not what you want to say, but what your audience wants to hear. So don’t go on and on about how wonderful you, your company, product or service is. At least not all the time. Think about how it will benefit the reader.
- Mix up your news with information and stories about your industry. Trends, reports, surveys, incidents, anecdotes or just something that’s caught your attention and that you think someone else would genuinely like to know about.
- There’s nothing worse than a Facebook page or Twitter account that’s been set up and never really got going. Or is abandoned after a short while. Or updated only once in a blue moon. So use it or delete it.
- Recent research suggests that chasing ‘likes’ on Facebook, is something of a dead-end, and that it’s becoming more of a plain advertising platform as far as marketing is concerned. So if you’re weighing up whether to push Facebook or Twitter, maybe go for the latter. Besides, at 140 characters max, it forces you to think more, and is likely to be quicker to do.
- Does your business lend itself well to visuals? If so, Pinterest could be useful. And most businesses would benefit from at least one video – put it on your site and also on YouTube, properly tagged.
- Google Plus is worth considering. It’s a bit more business-minded than Facebook. Also if you’re chasing rankings on Google, it stands to reason that if you’re active there it’s going to help.
- LinkedIn is an obvious one, although it’s not strictly social media. As with other media, be proactive, helpful and interesting, and don’t just push your business the whole time. Join appropriate groups, look for compatible contacts and communicate with them.
- A business blog is generally a good idea. As with everything else, look to add value – don’t just sell, sell, sell. There are arguments for and against hosting it as part of your main site, but I think you should. For one thing you’re helping to build up your main site, which is good news with the search engines. Allow comments and you’ll become more ‘social’ (and you could get invaluable feedback or even new leads) – but it’s best to screen them first and filter out the spam.
- Social media can work both ways. It’s useful for spreading good news, but bad news will spread even faster. Being truthful pays off – if you’re devious, disingenuous or just downright dishonest, it could come back to bite you.
- Whatever you post online is likely to stay online in one form or another, so think carefully before being controversial or proffering immediate and unconsidered reactions. In particular, never, ever, have a melt-down online if you’re a business. That really is putting out the fire with gasoline. You’ll be re-blogged, re-tweeted, and re-screwed before you can say ‘go viral’.
As ever, the most important thing is to get the main content of your site right, and that means choosing the best keyword terms, using them in the right way, and writing interesting, relevant content. For some examples, please see website copywriting for blue chip clients and web copywriting for small businesses