Boost your social media presence, and you will boost your business

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube… these are brand names that have become extremely familiar to us all over recent years. Most of us use them frequently in our personal or professional lives, but it can sometimes be harder to see how they can be useful to an SME on a corporate level. Nonetheless they need to be – this is where consumers of every type now live, interact and engage.

Your website is fine, whether as an online brochure or an ordering portal, but social media needs to do something different for you. Fundamentally, it needs to be a dialogue: where customers ask questions and you respond, where you announce things and people react, where people feel they can be part of your daily world.

For now, we’ve assumed you already have accounts with most if not all of the platforms listed above. We’ve also assumed you have some degree of activity on them. We’ve concentrated instead on five tips that will – hopefully – move you from ‘present’ to ‘proactive’, and deliver the cost-effectiveness that SMEs depend on.

Create a simple promotion for your Facebook page
To run a promotion on Facebook, you usually need your own custom application. But you can control costs and keep things simple by using a ready-to-run promotion template from a third party app supplier.
Leading names include Wildfire, Fanappz and Northsocial.
They produce apps that adhere to Facebook rules, and make it easy for you. Simply enter your own information and requirements, and you will be ready to go.

Be smart with Facebook ads
Save ad costs by using Facebook’s audience targeting features intelligently to have your ads served only to those most likely to be interested in your services. Facebook enables you to target people by age, country, city, gender, education, and most importantly, by what they ‘like’. You can even target people on their birthdays. Result: you could have a Facebook ad campaign running for as little as US$1 per day.

Don’t neglect Twitter
Because it’s limited to words (and just a few words at a time) and doesn’t currently offer many options for advertisers, Twitter is usually low on the social media marketing list. It shouldn’t be. Twitter can be used to promote offers and deals, handle
customer enquiries and offer product support, promote events, share valuable content and develop new business too.

Optimise your YouTube videos
Many people are happy to simply upload videos, sit back and hope people will find them. In fact, YouTube is now considered the world’s most important search engine, after Google, as more people spend time watching videos rather than reading text. For your videos to be viewed more often, you must optimise them for searchers, just as you optimise your website. Write titles using the phrases your audience is most likely to use. Make titles and tags relevant. Link video descriptions to your website. And encourage sharing and embedding of your YouTube videos through multiple channels, including social media sites.

Be aware of regional platforms
The names listed at the start of this article – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube – are all big global players. You need to use them, but you also need to think whether there is anything regional you should be considering. This is particularly important if you trade outside the UAE and within our neighbours. For example, many people in KSA use Fainak. If you’re in these markets, you need to be on these platforms.

“The opinions expressed within this article are generic. Mashreq is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of Mashreq. Mashreq does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.”