Executive Takeover: Promoting your business on social media

Welcome to Executive Takeover

Jonathan Midwood, General Manager of Up & Running

Sports Insight,Outdoor Insight, Cycling Insight and Fitness & Leisure Insight is being take over for 2 weeks.

By Jonathan Midwood, General Manager of Up & Running Known as Executive Insight – it is your your chance to listen to a leading industry figure speaking about the industry, with subjects from Staff Training to Easy ways to increase footfall and more……….

Social media is the paper based tabloid for the modern era. A short lived snapshot of what is current and trending in the world today. It can bring down regimes, spread joy and happiness and even help find the lost teddy of a sad little girl. But how can it be used to promote your business? To work that out you need to know what each one does and what you have to say. There are many, many platforms out there, too many to list here, but here are the 3 main ones and the ones that are most commonly used to promote businesses now-a-days and here is a brief overview from a retailers perspective.

Twitter is a free social networking microblogging service that allows you to broadcast short 140 character posts called tweets out to the ‘Twittersphere’. This is the most ‘conversational’ of the 3 platforms as it is very text heavy, but it is perhaps deceiving in that aspect as the chatter (tweets) are very short lived indeed. Once the time line moves on it is gone. So it can be very labour intense as it requires ‘in the moment’ responses. Not great when there are a 1001 other things that your business may need at that moment. Including serving customers.

Facebook is arguably the most popular free social networking website and is perhaps the most versatile in that that allows users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family, colleagues and importantly customers. The site now also includes features such as:
• Marketplace – allows members to post, read and respond to classified ads.
• Groups – allows members who have common interests to find each other and interact.
• Events – allows members to publicize an event, invite guests and track who plans to attend.
• Pages – allows members to create and promote a public page built around a specific topic.
• Presence technology – allows members to see which contacts are online and chat.

This opens up a whole world of marketing opportunities, but it comes at a cost. This is a whole other area that will take a lot more time to explain. However if you have some marketing budget to play with then Facebook is perhaps one of the most beneficial platforms to work with.

Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. There are a couple of points here that would appear positive. It is FREE and Facebook has backed the platform itself. However there are some challenges with it.
Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos or short videos through a mobile app, however this can be a drawback especially if you don’t have a very good smart phone. Yes some people do not! Users can add a caption’s etc to each of their posts and each post will appear on their followers’ Instagram feeds, but like twitter it has a shorter ‘shelf life’ than Facebook and can become old news very quickly. However, there is one major and fundamental challenge with Instagram. It is a young person’s app and the ‘style’ you choose has to come across very strongly for you to stand out. The ‘house style’ of your brand needs to be very bold, consistent and recognisable. Before you start down this path check out what your competition are doing and get a feel for what they are trying to say through a heavy reliance on imagery.

So to recap:
• Twitter is very text heavy. Short lived in terms of content viability and can be very heavy on time.
• Facebook has many ‘tools’ for you to communicate to your customers with. It is very easy to use and seems to be generationally wide in its audience potential. Even my Mum uses it!
• Instagram is very image heavy. It relies on strong branding and a clear vision. It is also very young in its audience base. You need to have a clear idea about what your brand is.

Whichever you choose to use, make sure that you are aware of what want to say and how you want to say it. Look around and see what others are doing and above all, once you do start you need to maintain it, as a quiet social media channel is like opening up a store and on day one turning, the lights off and switching the sign to closed. Not a good look.

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