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Social media: How to capitalise on the new side of the web

Published on September 21, 2012
Tags: Internet Communication

Although the vast majority of businesses will now have a website, many would love to get involved with social media but are either unsure as to how to start or, in many cases, do not fully understand or appreciate how social media can help their business.

When approaching social media, the first thing you should consider is what you want to get out of it. Are you simply looking to advertise your business or do you want to engage with customers and add a personal front to your business? Social media allows you to interact with your target audience and adds a human face to your company, which will help your reputation immensely. Social media is very easy to use once you know the basics, but it can be quite a time consuming pursuit, especially so in the early days. Early on, it can feel as though you’re getting nowhere but persevere as the rewards can be huge.
 
The main social networks to consider are Facebook, blogging platforms, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Each of these websites are distinctly different and have completely different purposes and functions. If social media is completely new to you, you should choose just one website to begin with and start off with a personal account - rather than a business account - so you can get a feel for the system before you dive straight in with your business account.
 
Twitter is particularly easy to find your way around, especially if you start by following people you know or your favourite celebrities or news feeds. Once you are familiar with the concept, you can begin to tweet yourself and join in the conversation. However, as Twitter is the fastest-paced of the social networks you will need to be sure you can check and update it regularly.
 
Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to set up a page for your company (be sure to do this as a Page as opposed to a Profile; they are completely different). Facebook will allow you and your company to post news, photos and other information to fans of your page. You can also create advertising campaigns through Facebook in order to promote your business. Blog platforms, such as Wordpress, are also a good way to post regular news although they can be quite complicated and limited in their scope.
 
YouTube is a dedicated video hosting platform, allowing you to post and share videos with other users. Posting videos or reviews of your products or interesting content could really help to promote your business to web users. A final mention must go to LinkedIn, a business social network which can help you to get in touch with people who work in the same field, or people who might be potential business contacts. It’s generally frowned upon to advertise blatantly on LinkedIn, although its whole purpose of being targeted towards business users can be very handy indeed.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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