Posted 22nd July 2014 | By ExtraMile

Facebook this, Twitter that, there is no sign of social media slowing down anytime soon. With connectivity at an all time high, it wont be long before you can tweet from your microwave... if you were that way inclined.

For a business it can be an essential tool or a potential minefield. Knowing how to steer your ship on a safe yet prosperous path can be a challenge. Larger companies require entire departments to do this, but not everybody has this kind of resource at their disposal. Knowing the ropes can be really handy. The following breaks the task into a few key segments, aiming to give a clear idea of how to approach social media as a small to medium business.

Audience:
Know your audience. Here are a few questions that you need to know the answer to each time you post:
• Who are your posts aimed at? What is your target audience?
• What kind of personality would you like to portray as a business, that will be best suited to your target audience? Friendly? Fun? Corporate?
• What platform will your target audience be mainly using? Eg. Business to business posts may see better results and relevance on LinkedIn than Facebook.

Time:
What time you post can have a big impact on how many people see things. LinkedIn can be more popular during the working day. Where as Facebook usually peaks between 1-2pm, 6-7pm and 8:30-10pm. Afternoon posts have the greatest success on Twitter. It may be worth considering some 'out of hours' posts and tweets for your company if you are not already doing this, to try and hit the people who don't check Facebook/Twitter during the working day. These can be scheduled in on Facebook for example, or using other services like Hootsuite.com to cover more platforms.

Reach:
Encourage staff to like, share and interact on your posts. Doing this will increase the organic reach of each post as most platforms will recognise it to be good content. Pictures and video content usually have a higher level of organic reach than text. Sometimes its necessary to expand your reach otherwise you can be posting to the same few people over and over again. Be active in groups, and don't shy away from 'sponsored posts.' If you have something great to say, let it be heard. This can be targeted, so that the right people will be on the receiving end of your top notch content. When entering the realms of paid social media advertising there are some great stats to guide you on the way to reaching your goals effectively. Even if it's just a £10 trial to start with, it's a brilliant way to start reaching outside of your current circle and see how that works for you and your business.

Frequency:

facebook

Posts should ideally be once a day or once every other day. Staying relevant/active without being annoying.

twitter

Posting twice or three times a day is perfect. Posting more frequently than Facebook is fine on twitter and a great way to build up interactions and consequently followers.

In summary, if you can bring all these elements together, it's possible to have a professional online social presence that is necessary in modern business, without having to employ a fulltime social media manager. There are many ways to go about social media, but it doesn't need to be a burden. You can make what you want out of it. Use which platforms are best suited to your organisation. Keep one eye on your competition and one eye looking forward, ensuring you're ahead of the game. Originality goes a long way in the social domain. Take note and steer your business to success with confidence.

Written by Mitchell Wellings, Sales Executive at ExtraMile Communications.

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.

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About ExtraMile

A digital marketing agency with international capabilities