Social media has now become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. There are currently more than 500 million active facebook members, with 50% of these logging on in any given day, and around 200 million twitter accounts. However few people understand the fundamental differences of how to use these two major networking sites for promoting a business. These campaigns should run very differently whilst inherently promoting the same products/news/concepts. To understand this you must first understand how both platforms work.

Twitter

Twitter is like a podium to the world with a constant stream of live communications and where much of your audience are happy to receive regular ‘tweets’ regarding promotions and products. With clever use of the hashtag you can ask a question and get an instant response from someone who is not neccessarily immediately ‘following’ your company. You can reach far beyond your inner circle of friends and tap into the opinions and thoughts of the general public.

Look for current ‘trends’, these are the keywords that are currently being tweeted the most. Do any of these apply to your business or promotion? If you can drop a trending keyword into your tweet it will show in the live feed search for that trend, so anyone searching for the hottest news will then be able to read your tweet. Try baiting people into responding to your tweets without being controversial or offensive but remember that encouraging interaction is key to succeeding on any social media platform.

The main problem arises when trying to write something “catchy” with only 140 characters to play with. The most valuable resource here is the URL shortener. If linking to a page, this tool will shorten the length of the URL down to around 20 characters which can be invaluable with such a small space to fill with information.

Twitter becomes more effective the more time you spend online. If you do not have the time or resources to do this you can easily subscribe via an RSS feed to receive all updates, without having to be logged into your account. However do try to keep a steady online presence or your followers will become uninterested quickly.

Facebook

Facebook is a much more intimate affair than Twitter. It is a painstakingly slow process in the beginning to attract ‘fans’ and ‘likes’ to your business page. Unlike Twitter you cannot reach any further than your audience, or Facebook, will allow you too. Simply posting links to new products will not convert into ‘likes’. You need to engage with your audience, post interesting news to grab their attention and encourage your users to participate. As with Twitter, if you’re posting relative information and up-to-date news people will more readily ‘share’ your content which will in turn attract new likes. Don’t be afraid to intentionally disagree with your fans now and then – this actually increases engagement!

Once you have earned over 25 likes things become easier, if only slightly. You no longer have a default URL and can choose your page’s username. Try to make this informative and short, yet keyword friendly. Such as: http://www.facebook.com/silkstream-online-marketing/. This will be a searchable web page so use a keyword phrase you would like to show up for in the search engines.

Now you have a fanbase you need to try gaining top placement in their news feeds. Facebook uses what it calls EdgeRank to determine News Feed placement and calculates it based on three factors. These factors are: The relationship between the viewer and creator, such as frequency of interaction. The weight of these interactions, a comment is weighted more heavily than a like. And lastly and probably most obviously, how long ago the item was posted. This is in addition to competing with any other pages and friends the viewer may be receiving feeds for. Try and add content frequently, prefferably daily this gives your audience a reason to check in and see whats new. Remember its engagement with fans rather than number of fans that boosts edgerank. The general public like to receive something for free. Run competitions which encourage users to particpate further in your community.

Social media gives your critics a forum, but this means you can study them. So turn this to your advantage. Only remove inappropriate comments never negative comments. You should in general, respond quickly, keep information flowing, be honest and don’t take the negative comments personally. Social media is proving to be a great tool for improving customer service and there are numerous articles online referencing how larger companies have turned a negative comment or customer experience into a positive marketing strategy.

 

The following two tabs change content below.

Hayley

Search Analyst at Silkstream
SEO, blogger and Google geek. Committed to helping small business thrive during economic austerity.