Recently The Byne Group gave a talk on the power and benefits of social media for businesses looking to grow their brand and expand their influential reach to new consumers. To launch the discussion, we showed a video by Erik Qualman, expert on digital leadership and the power of social media and its revolution. According to Qualman, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the choice is how well we do it.” At The Byne Group we couldn’t agree more, but many businesses struggle with how to grow their online presence, or even start interacting virtually with customers. As Qualman likes to say, social media is “word of mouth on digital steroids.”
Like it or not, social media marketing for business is here to stay. In order to stay competitive, organizations need to accept that fact, move into the future, and focus as much effort to growing their online presence as they have with traditional marketing avenues in the past. Knowing that, the process can still be overwhelming. With only so much time available – where to begin? While we could sit and talk for hours about strategy and tactics, here’s a quick overview at what to tackle first.
According to a recent article in Fast Company, a study by Forrester Research found that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. Consumers love to share visual content. Images of themselves and friends, their experiences and stories are expressed simply though photographs that can be edited, manipulated, and turned into masterpieces – all through a mobile device. As Justin Rezvani from Fast Company noted, “If your brand is not on Instagram, it should be. Instagram is beautifully simplistic and the most personal of the mobile platforms. It’s full of potential with people eager to connect with a brand on a more intimate and tangible level.”
Using your mobile device, download the Instagram app, create an account for your business, write up a brief profile, add a link to your website, and begin posting. Share images of your employees, offices, events, anything that showcases your brand. Search and follow friends, like-minded businesses, competitors, etc.
In the past 12 years, Facebook has grown to more than 1.55 billion active users  that log on to not only connect with friends and family, but to interact with brands, businesses, make recommendations, and provide opinions on everything from service reviews to to political preferences. According to GroSocial, 70% of monthly active Facebook users in the US are engaged and connected to a local business and 50% of all social media users under age 35 follow their online friends’ product and service recommendations.
Are you using Facebook to engage potential customers? Start by setting up a business page and upload your logo, high quality images, and complete the profile with links to your website, other social sites, supporting documents, etc. Build a following by liking and sharing other pages and posts, create and cultivate relevant content to populate on your news feed and post regularly.
According to Twitter, people come to their site to discover what’s happening in the world right now, to share information instantly, and to connect with people and businesses around the globe. With hundreds of millions of users and over 500 million Tweets being sent each day, there is a great opportunity for businesses to reach a global audience of new and existing customers.  This is connectivity at its best. Twitter has become routine to so many people as they scroll through their feed reading headline snippets and engaging or sharing with the click of a button.
Setting up a page for your business takes minutes – add a brief description, upload a great cover image that represents your brand, start following like-minded brands, organizations, and other groups and begin tweeting. Your posts are restricted to 140 characters, so get creative with how you make your points. If you need to shorten a URL link, try using sites like bit.ly, which take your long URL and customize and shorten it for Twitter. Once you get the hang of posting, try incorporating hashtags and tag others in your posts. Hashtags are a simple way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic. Create a hashtag specific to your business, and you can track how many people tweet about your business.
Not just for job searching and networking, LinkedIn has more than 225 million members and is a great platform to establish your company’s identity and build relationships with consumers and other businesses. It has evolved into a place where content marketing takes center stage. Whether you comment or share another influencer’s blog or create unique content and publish it on your page, sharing from the company page is a powerful way to reach professionals. In addition to a company page, organizations can design Showcase pages, which dive deeper into your business and provide a dedicated page for each aspect of your business with its own members. LinkedIn also makes it easy to write and post blogs, with Pulse, and Slideshare makes sharing presentations with millions of people as easy as pie.
Social media is vast and always changing. These four platforms are just the tip of the iceberg; we haven’t even touched on Pinterest, Snapchat, and countless others that can be used to grow your business! However, taking baby steps towards a social media presence will help you tackle this new endeavor with comfort and ease. Spend time experimenting on the sites above, and then expand your reach as you get more comfortable.
As a creative marketing and public relations agency, we help companies of all sizes create social media plans, craft content, and organize calendars to streamline their efforts. If you’d like to talk about how The Byne Group can help you grow your social outreach, email us, message us on Facebook or Twitter, or connect with us on LinkedIn.
The Byne Group is a full-service creative marketing and public relations agency offering a full range of branding, advertising, public relations, and digital marketing solutions to companies in the tri-state area. Comprised of dedicated, multi-discipline professionals, the agency is committed to delivering high quality work and outstanding service. The Byne Group serves as an extension of their clients’ team to provide a voice for their brand in the marketplace. For more information, visit us online at thebynegroup.com.