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How social is your business?

Lee Nicolaou, Marketing Manager from Business Agent, shares how to stay on top of your game with social media

Lee Nicolaou, Marketing Manager from Business Agent, shares how to stay on top of your game with social media. We've seen the way businesses promote themselves change drastically over the last 10 years. With the growth of online and digital, new trends are always coming into play and it can be a tough one to keep up with. Businesses no longer rely on word of mouth, face-to-face and copious amounts of networking. We all want to be the top of our game and as visible as possible when it comes to business, so how can we achieve this? I'm going to run through a few topics with you on how to be more social with your business and to stay in the forever-changing loop of trends.

Most of us use this platform to stay connected with our friends and to just generally have a peak at what our peers are up to. However, Facebook comes with huge benefits to businesses, especially local. Don't worry about being too small of a business as Facebook suits all sizes. You should have a separate account for your business no matter what you do. Here you can keep customers up-to-date with what you're up to, new products and any deals you may have running.

The 'Facebook buttons' feature also allows you to put great call-to-actions on your page such as 'call now, 'book now', or even 'shop now', where you can integrate your online store and products onto your page. It's great free marketing, especially if you're sharing strong content, you'll see an organic growth. If you're really looking to excel growth using Facebook, you'll be interested in using its ad features. You can push out adverts and contents to users in order to increase your page likes. The great thing about this feature is that you can tailor your ads to exactly where you want them to be and who you want to see them. You can decide on the age category, the location (great if you're a local business), their likes and dislikes and gender. So you can really get your page in front of the right audience. Remember to stay engaged with your page users and try to respond to questions quickly. This will help your page gather a better rating and will keep users from leaving.

Twitter is a great tool to show people what you're about. It's essentially a big conversation where you and others can discuss topics, articles and latest trends. It's one of the best places to show the values and the personal side behind your business, what you stand for and what you're about. Your business can come across more as an individual and engage and empathise with others on topics you feel passionate about. Again, using strong content, you'll be more likely to receive retweets and likes which leads to organic growth and a larger following.

Following strong influencers will help you see what's on trend and what to be discussing. It's important to keep on top of what's trending and, using the Hashtag, you can be a voice in the conversations and a good post can really boost your presence #itcanbeaseasyasthat. Twitter also offers a great advert feature, which is similar to Facebook. It's good to note that they both offer a PPC service, meaning you only pay for the actual clicks you receive. Twitter can be a place to have more of a laidback chat with users and to have some fun.

This is a more professional platform to connect with users and customers. Linkedin has a huge profile of professionals, all categorised by job title, work place and the groups they're part of. Joining groups and posting discussion topics is a great way of engaging and drawing in new users. Linkedin has great features for posting articles and creating groups, as well as educational and mutual interest areas.

This different platform is based on images rather than lengthy articles, which is great for bridal. Use Instagram to post engaging and interesting photos, displaying your work, office or the more fun side of your business. Instagram has millions of daily users, if you can figure out what will catch the eye of your target audience; it's a solid win. Think about what attracts your attention within your industry and use it.

Have fun
It's important to make sure you have fun and display your business in a likeable way. Of course it means you still have to stay professional. But remember, social media can be really interesting and it's important to not be scared and be a bit 'out there'. Some of the most successful accounts are from companies who really have a laugh with customers and can laugh at themselves too. Just relax a bit more, it's not a constant sales pitch online and users will soon leave if you're plugging your products and service 24/7, they want to see a more down to earth side of the people behind the business in order to build up a level of trust and respect. Images always work well; a post is much more likely to gain traction and attention with a nice image to go along with it, rather than just lengthy text. Use it to create a build-up and a buzz about what you're doing and why you're different.

Remember there are also many more platforms then mentioned above but I recommend these as a good starting point. If you're interested further, consider Google+, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Pinterest and also make sure you're always browsing for new trends and sites. Just by keeping up-to-date on your current profiles, you'll soon hear of anything new people are beginning to use.

Business Agent is the UK's alternative finance marketplace for investors and entrepreneurs, www.businessagent.com

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