Maintaining a strong social media presence is vital for any sized business as this is a digital mark of an actively trading brand committed to interacting with customers and opening the lines of communication. Social media offers your client base access to fresh, up-to-date information and allows for this to be communicated through imagery, video and audio, as easily as through traditional portals. In addition to this, social media can be used to multiply customer touchpoints across a variety of platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, but not limited to. This not only relieves the pressure from traditional platforms, but it also increases the odds of a customer enquiry due to ease of access.
By offering another platform through which customers, suppliers and other businesses can reach you through, this makes it easier to forge new connections and accelerate brand exposure. In theory, this is easy to enforce, however, in practice – it can become tricky to juggle multiple profiles, several marketing messages and numerous call to actions. Using a social media scheduling tool can simplify the process, uniting the process from start to finish through one easy-to-use portal.
Smooth sailing through social media scheduling software
Scheduling tools for social media such as Zoho, Hootsuite and Sprout Social can pull multiple social media profiles under one umbrella, making it more manageable. A survey conducted by the Global Reporting Index found that social media users typically have 8 social media accounts, jumping from 6.2 in 2015.
This shows an increasing need for businesses to disseminate their brand name across a variety of social media platforms, giving customers buying ability across a wider range of platforms, such as through Google Shopping and Instagram Shopping. As for buying behaviour changes, social media can now be used to promote products through sponsored posts and answer customer enquiries through Facebook’s chatbot.
Research carried out by LinkedIn found that 81 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses use social media to drive company growth, build credibility, gain insights and information on their client base. Social media is also used as a tool to build a wider network of business partners, enabling you to play a proactive role in the industry.
In reality, social media can help multiply your client base and encourage returning customers, however, this will require an individual to regularly manage social media and create unique content. Social media scheduling tools can be used to ease the burden of managing multiple social media profiles. You can bring together the likes of business and personal social media profiles, for example, if you’re managing the personal LinkedIn profile for a company director and the business profiles for multiple stores in different locations, you can schedule posts directly from one source.
The central publishing calendar can be used to plan your social media activity by scheduling posts, pausing and resuming them as you wish. By allocating a bulk of time during the working week, you can schedule posts in one go, varying them with promotions, insights, inspiration, industry news and internal events. If you come across interesting content during the week, you can use the Zoho browser extension to directly share the page to your selected social media profile. Zoho is also mobile-friendly, so if you’re on the go, you can remotely access the central calendar.
When collating information to include in your marketing report, you can use Zoho to analyse performance by accessing insightful data such as a breakdown of those engaging with your brand and your followers.
Many businesses may operate in multiple ways, from managing multiple sister brands for the company group or working with an agency to provide social media content. Zoho gives you the option to personalise functionality by tailoring the approach to either a business or agency to help you maximise the process.
The key brand message for Sprout Social is to give you the technological ability to redirect your time to building worthwhile connections through social media, rather than stumbling through multiple hurdles to get to the end goal of connecting with other skilled industry professionals. Through the use of the smart ‘engagement’ inbox feature which delivers comments directly to you, you can strike while the iron is hot and establish professional friendships by connecting with engaged users when they are at the peak of engagement.
If you have multiple intentions behind using social media as a force for business, such as for customer care, data procurement or employee advocacy, Sprout Social allows you to combine such approaches. Sprout Social is essentially a social solution as ‘the journey to purchasing is no longer linear’, it’s through different touchpoints.
Hootsuite takes a simplistic view, yet a similar approach to Zoho and Sprout Social. The social media scheduling platform personalises your experience based on the user, from small businesses, larger enterprises and agencies. You can dissect information from the platform to support any reports and take advantage of integrations, such as Zendesk, Google My Business and Slack Pro.
The Hootsuite employee advocacy programme allows you to bring your social media coverage in front of employees, encouraging them to share your posts to boost engagement through Hootsuite Amplify. Tools as such as be used to create a sense of unity between employees and boost brand exposure.
What social media platforms should I join?
If you’re in the process of deciding which social media platform to join, this will wholly depend on your industry, best practise, brand identity and the nature of your customer base. It’s vital to scrutinise the approach taken by your business such as the tone of voice, use of graphics, infographics and use of words as this will be on show to the rest of the world.
In addition to this, it’s vital to invest in the individual producing content for your social media accounts as this will be a virtual shopfront for your brand. By finding the platform which suits you to juggle multiple social media profiles, you can engage with a wider array of customers differing in age, interests, daily routines and expand to reach an international client base through the click of a button.
David Tattersall is Head of Client Relations at Handpicked Accountants, an intelligent online platform connecting small-to-medium business owners and self-employed professionals with trusted accountants across the UK. David has a wealth of commercial experience in the SME market and works with an extensive network of accountants to deliver the Handpicked Accountants service.
Also published on Medium.