We don't think that you will be surprised to hear that social media users spend on average, a couple of hours per day online. The young, old and even the famous spend their fair share of time browsing their platforms. No matter where you are on the social media spectrum, whether a novice and privacy advocate, or a fully fledged super sharer, we want to look at what social media means for your business today. 
Social media is ever changing and it is important to bear that in mind when promoting your business. For example, if you have used Facebook for years but haven't explored other platforms, then you will find whole other communities and demographics on Instagram. Realistically, social media helps you to showcase your business and put it out there to the world. Importantly, it allows you to see what other people are saying about your business which can help you to grow and develop. 
With the wealth of users on social media the advertising possibilities for SMEs open up phenomenally. The options for SMEs to used targeted advertising to tap into their audience is an opportunity not to be missed. Let's explore where you can do this and the pros of the most popular platforms. 
Facebook is normally where people first set up a business page. At a simple level, if everyone else has a business page, its free and helps to get your business noticed, then why not? Over 75% of UK adults use Facebook, so being where your audience is may help. In terms of search engine results, your Facebook business page may bring you more visibility online and direct clients to your website to help generate interest and enquiries for you. It is important to keep your website at the centre of your marketing strategy. Your website is the platform, if designed effectively that shows that you are credible and people who land on a business page will look for a website pretty quickly. 
Twitter is an information network and there has been a shift in 'roles' between Twitter and Linked In over the last few years. You can post using 280 characters or less and add pictures for engagement. Twitter is great for putting out updates to your client base too and these snippets of information can promote conversation, so it is important to be responsive. 
Instagram is designed to work through your phone and is imaged based so your projects, your galleries whether you are an artist, a builder or a web designer can be shown on Instagram. You can use video on their Stories function, which are short bursts that pop up on the users view. As well as being eye catching, users can search using hashtags, which can open up a world of opportunities at no cost to you. 
Linked In serves to connect businesses and you can update your profile. You may use it for recruitment and make connections that will help you to run your business more effectively. Blogging and providing updates has become much more popular recently and we have heard that some people are using Linked In, in the way that they only used Twitter in the past. This is something to keep in mind when you are updating your account. 
Most people have watched a You Tube video but they do not necessarily think of using You Tube as a business tool. Setting up a You Tube channel is free and producing a video is an incredibly engaging way of drawing people in. You can get creative and do something different while showing people what you have to offer. The best bit is that you can easily embed video onto your website (this should be free and simple to do and if it isn't, we should have a conversation!), and it will help your website's ranking on Google as they love video content! 
Following on with the theme of video and what all the kids are into right now is TikTok. The software enables anyone to create a video and the editing options make it easy to produce. The audience are young at the moment and engaged, so knowing your audience will allow you to decide if you need to jump on this trend. It is also worth knowing that the videos can be shared to other platforms and this is popular with celebrities also. So you could set up an account just to use the software and we think that this is a great start to branching out from traditional social media posts. 
So after that rundown of the main players and once you research which platforms to use (most SMEs do not use them all regularly), here are some things to remember. 
Post regularly, an account that hasn't had a post since last year doesn't reflect well on your business 
Do not post anything negative or emotive as you are representing your business and do not want to alienate anyone 
Schedule your content 
Use hashtags  
Keep your posts relevant so do not post the same thing over and over 
Engage using images 
Follow up on any comments or feedback promptly 
Focus on platforms that compliment your business so as not to overstretch yourself. 
There is a fantastic business community locally in Essex and Suffolk and beyond. We hope that this guidance has give you some food for thought as we all navigate the landscape ahead. If you need more help, please get in touch
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