Customer Experience

Get the best out of social media for your business

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Social media can be a mystery, but there are simple ways to get the best out of social media for your business.

Social media is all about relationships. When you put yourself out there you can get a lot in return – customer interaction, brand loyalty, sales leads and a bunch of customer data – and all without blowing your marketing budget (if you have one). But there are so many social media channels you can use, you can feel overwhelmed. 

Getting the best out of social media for your business is not about having a presence on all channels and sharing the same content on each. Instead, you should put some time into those channels that suit you best – and do it well. 

Are you ready to try out a few of the social media channels to find which brings the best results for your business? Read through our following guides for a quick overview of the different social media platforms. 

social media tree
The most successful business Facebook pages post useful and relevant content that relates to their offering – such as a hairdresser sharing trends and styles, or a restaurant sharing recipes

- KARLA COURTNEY, BAUER CUSTOM MEDIA

Facebook

Why: Use the most personal of the online networking channels to connect and share news with Facebook friends and gain feedback from your clients.

Who: 1.15 billion confirmed active Facebook users worldwide with an estimated 13 million Australian users.

What: Share at least three short status updates per week (text and images). Post about news and events relevant to your business: sales, new products, exclusive information, and promotions.

How: Use your page as a customer service portal to answer questions and ask for feedback. There is no cost to run a standard Facebook page, but you can help spread the word of your business using paid posts, Facebook “offers”, and targeted Facebook Ads.

When: Best times to post are early morning, during lunch, after work, before dinner and before bed.

Expert tip: “Facebook has recently changed its rules regarding promotions, which means you can now use some Facebook actions as an entry into a competition. This means you can run competitions directly on the timeline of your Facebook Business Page, making them more visible. "Like this post and go in the draw to win a product bundle" is a great way to increase engagement with your page and give something back to your fans."

Troy Townsend, co-founder and chief client officer at TigerPistol social media marketing.

LinkedIn

Why: Use for business networking and for recruitment.  

Who: More than 238 million members globally, with more than 4 million Australians.

What: Share interesting updates, "thought leadership" pieces, latest offerings, industry news, and product how-tos. 

How: Create a free Company Page and take part in industry groups. Premium accounts start at $19.95/month and include an improved search function and private messages.

When: Use it before or after business hours for at least 9 minutes per day (says LinkedIn). 

Expert tip: “If you’re looking for staff, you can use LinkedIn to find and make contact with people with specific skill sets. Making direct contact with decision makers in businesses that you’d like to be working with is a targeted and effective way to get your offering in front of the right people.” 

Troy Townsend, TigerPistol marketing.

Social statistics

Aussie small businesses on social media:

  1. 30% of Aussie small businesses are on social media
  2. 35% of regional small to medium enterprises (SMEs) use social media
  3. 82% of social accounts are run by business owners or managers
  4. 13.7% of the average small business’s marketing budget is put into social media
  5. 36% of SMEs that used social media reported increased sales

Source: Yellow  TM Social Media Report 2013, March 2013 Sensis® Business Index

Instagram

Why: Show what your brand stands for via pictures and video. Use it to for inspiration and to find out what appeals to your customers.

Who: 130 million active users globally, with an estimated 1.47 million Australians. 

What: Offer sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes uploads, product demos and photos of HQ to cultivate your brand’s unique identity. 

How: Amp up interaction by using questions or hashtags in your captions. Don’t forget to share your photos on Facebook to increase who sees your uploads.

When: Try to post once or twice a day. Aussie Instagrammers are most active around 8pm on weekdays, and 5pm on weekends.

Expert tip: “Choose a simple but unique hashtag that represents your business to encourage users to share their content. For a recent craft book project of mine I asked users to share photos of their knitting with the hashtag #youcanknit. This encouraged people to get on Instagram, be a part of a community and generate content around my book.” 

Karla Courtney, digital strategy director at Bauer Custom Media.

Pinterest

Why: Show your brand’s personality and products with a gallery (or pinboard) of images and videos. 

Who: Over 70 million users worldwide and approximately 550,000 users in Australia.

What: Around 80 per cent of pins get repinned (compared to 1.4 per cent of tweets being retweeted) so curate a collection of images and videos of the ideas, places, people and moods behind your brand. 

How: A free Business Account gives access to “rich pins” which auto-fill fields with price and availability from the original source, creating more time for more pinning! 

When: At least one pin per day. If you’re posting multiple pins stagger these through the day. Pinners are most active on Saturday mornings and during the week from 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am. 

Expert tip: “Pinterest is a hyper-visual environment, so make sure what you publish looks awesome. People are more likely to re-pin a photo of a product in context, so if you sell chairs, use a photo of your chair in a beautiful room, rather than your showroom. It’s also important to think about the keywords you use when creating content, and optimise them for search. You want users to be able to find the content you worked so hard to create.”

Troy Townsend, TigerPistol marketing.

Twitter

Why: Short and sweet, it’s great for chatting with customers and peers.

Who: 200 million active users globally; 1.3 to 2.2 million Australian users. 

What: Tweets are limited to 140 characters so keep your message witty and to the point. Keep updates timely – share industry news, special promotions and helpful product tips.

How: The most retweeted content on the network includes photos, quotes, links and videos. To increase who sees your tweet, you can pay Twitter to promote tweets, your account or topics related to your business.

When: Try for three to five tweets per day. Traffic begins to build after 11am and starts to fade off after 3pm. Interaction rates are 21 per cent higher for tweets under 100 characters in length. 

Expert tip: “Getting people to click through is all about asking them. Businesses often forget to ask their customers to click, interact and buy. Use a strong call to action – but give people a reason to click or buy. They’ll be thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ 

And if you want your social content to be found by search, make sure you include relevant #hashtags in your posts.”

Troy Townsend, TigerPistol marketing.

YouTube

Why: Share video and you’ll be following that adage, “show, don’t tell”.

Who: YouTube generates an estimated 11.5 billion unique average views per month in Australia alone. 

What: Video can be tutorials, stories to reinforce your brand’s message or to debunk product myths – whatever appeals.

How: Create a channel for your business and think of a series of themed videos to build subscribers, each video no longer than three minutes. To jumpstart your views you can pay YouTube to target it to specific categories. 

When: Start off posting three to five videos per month. Traffic peaks from 2pm to 8pm, so upload your video before then. Most video production isn’t cheap, so include a strong message that directs viewers to your website. 

Expert tip: “YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. People turn to YouTube not only for videos of sneezing pandas and the Harlem shake, but increasingly for help and education. Whether it’s to learn how to change a nappy, properly apply mascara, or anything in between. Creating the next viral hit is very hard. Instead, try creating educational content that’s entertaining and related to what you sell, and sneak in a couple of commercial messages.”

Troy Townsend, TigerPistol marketing.

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