Have you noticed that everyone is talking… through some method of social media? From New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to Miami, Austin to Atlanta, and across the rest of the nation and around the globe, millions of people and businesses are using social media tools. Atlanta Graphic Design has noted the trends… and we are participating! Companies are using blogs, email newsletters, and Facebook fan pages, in addition to company websites, to speak directly to customers.
Your potential clients also are talking to each other on Facebook, sharing information and graphic images with followers on Twitter and Pinterest, and building personal and professional networks on LinkedIn, among other sites. What does it all mean for you? It’s time to take a closer look at how these social media platforms can work for your business and your website presence.
Facebook – With more than 800 million people using Facebook on a daily basis, setting up a web page for your business is a must. Having a plan for that web page is very important because you are entering a highly competitive space when it comes to attracting eyeballs. You can use the latest enhancements to the site, such as the timeline and opportunities to post graphic visuals, to your own advantage.
– Have a graphic cover image that represents your company or its ideals, and keep your logo front and center as the profile photo. Maintaining consistency with the profile photo, even if you choose to freshen up the cover image, will help to establish your brand. Make the investment on a professionally designed graphic image for the best impression.
– Plan your posts and avoid “posting for the sake of posting.” Page visitors are looking for new, useful, and/or notable information from your company. Consider talking about a new promotion or a special deal for folks who “like” your page, sharing an interesting fact that solves a business problem, or creating a dialogue with visitors by posting on a specific theme and soliciting feedback in order to get people talking– and returning—to your page. Atlanta Graphic Design can recommend some resources for helping you create and schedule your posts.
– While many people visit Facebook daily, it’s fine to limit your posts to 3-5 times per week. Make certain that what you post is meaningful and has substance. Visitors are savvy and will see through companies, even website developers or designers, which they perceive as “cluttering” their own Facebook timelines.
Youtube – Since being acquired by Google, Youtube is the go-to outlet for accessing graphic images and videos of every type online. It is a key strategy for businesses to incorporate videos as a part of brand building. If you have a website, it’s safe to say you should plan to get involved with Youtube.
– Consider creating a dedicated channel for your company, which will allow you to maintain a presence and an archive for posted videos, and a way to track-back your visitors on your website.
– Plan video content that fits your area of expertise and encourage visitors to share their feedback with a “thumbs up” on the content. I tell my Atlanta Graphic Design clients to be prepared to engage with visitors when they post their feedback.
– Include visual and actual “calls to action” within your channel and your content. Encourage visitors to subscribe to your channel, and post the subscribe button on your other social media platforms. It’s completely smart to cross-reference your presence! If you don’t know how to coordinate your website and your Youtube presence, consider getting professional help from a website designer.
Twitter – Are you familiar with the blue bird of opportunity? Twitter has proven that it is no “fly by night” operation, as it climbs to more than 200 million users. It’s easy to be a follower, but the true mark of a company’s impact on the marketplace is to be followed and maintain a dedicated group of followers.
– This social media outlet is the ultimate give-and-take. Your company will need to “give” helpful, engaging content in about 140 characters or less. Look for opportunities to “retweet” a message on the web, or resend an interesting quote, an engaging factoid, or mention a relevant headline that leads to resources that explain a relevant industry trend. Use Twitter to help your company establish itself as a trustworthy authority and direct more traffic to your website.
– Resist the urge to “self-promote,” unless you are taking advantage of promoted tweets, which can be timed to your company’s appearance at a trade show, or a specific time of year that impacts your company’s sales.
– Remember that Twitter is a “real time conversation,” and users expect to be engaged. When you open the door to dialogue, be ready to respond and follow the folks who choose to follow your company and bookmark your website.
– It is possible to coordinate your graphic interface on Twitter with your overall branding. Partner with your website or graphic designer to create a seamless look that will capitalize on your logo and web presence.
LinkedIn – As the world’s largest online professional network (more than 160 million members and counting!), LinkedIn is more than a forum for putting your best business face forward. It’s a great opportunity to expand the reach of your business and generate awareness of your logo, web graphics, and overall brand identity.
– Take the time to build a robust profile. Offer an explanation of your company and its products and services, show a link to your website and present your graphic identity/logo, mention the audience you serve and why you serve them.
– Use LinkedIn to “humanize” your company by adding your own profile and a graphic image of your company’s logo. For a company profile, it is not necessary to add your own personal photo. If you choose to do so, definitely opt for a professional photo and be your own best brand representative.
– In order to connect with others, look for opportunities to join or start groups that are relevant to your business or industry. Don’t forget to add a ‘follow our company on LinkedIn’ option for your contacts. As the saying goes, “people do business with people they know.” This is a key recommendation I give to all Atlanta Graphic Design clients.
– Plan your posts so you are connecting your contacts to meaningful information. LinkedIn users are hypersensitive to managing their time, and you want to establish your company as one that understands the value of that time.
SlideShare – This company was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, and it makes great business sense to establish a presence here for your company. SlideShare allows companies to share presentation content, company videos, and topic-based webinars—all excellent ways to let the world know that your company is a trustworthy authority with the ability to educate and inform. Presentation content should not be lengthy, and should focus on highlighting ways to help solve business problems or educate your target audience. Consider reaching out to a professional graphic design partner like Atlanta Graphic Design for ways to build awareness with engaging graphics and a clean layout for the content in your presentation.
According to Marketo’s 2012 research in the eBook, “How to Optimize Your Social Channels for Lead Generation,” 60% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Linkedin, followed by 60% through company blogs, 43% through Facebook, and 40% through Twitter. Isn’t it time you joined that number? Atlanta Graphic Design can help you gain your slice of the social media pie and take your web presence to the next level.