Your Industry 

Picking a social media outlet

This article is part of
Guide to Social Media

For business-to-business promotion, Derek Bradley, chief executive of Panacea Adviser, says LinkedIn or Twitter would be the preferred medium, while Facebook or Twitter were the most popular routes to market for business-to-consumer activity.

In the case of advisers targeting potential clients, Mr Bradley suggests using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as you will have a mix of clients. Additionally, he says YouTube has seen some examples of adviser success.

A combination of social media outlets is sometimes required, according to Stephen Gazard, managing director of Sesame Bankhall Group.

For example, Mr Gazard says Youtube is an excellent and free way to host videos on your website but blogs can be a way of communicating more detailed information in an informative way and driving people to your website.

“Linkedin is a superb tool to expand your network and promote your firm, whereas twitter is a good tool to react quickly to situations, engage in debate and put out briefer sound bites.

“Traditionally, Facebook has been used to engage a younger audience, however many industry commentators feel it is a site which people associate with their free time, rather than engage in business activity, so this approach should be carefully considered.”

If you want to have a business presence on Facebook, Nina Stenning, head of marketing communications at Openwork, says you should set up a business page as using a personal profile for business purposes breaches Facebook rules.

Business accounts don’t have exactly the same functionality as personal accounts, but Ms Stenning argues they do offer applications that allow you to post company information, event details, links, photos, videos and comments.

With Twitter, Ms Stenning notes you can represent yourself as an individual and/or as a business, but she cautions that the 140-character limit means you should not induce or invite potential clients to do business as you will not have room to apply the relevant supporting content to make it compliant.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Ms Stenning says Linkedin is an entirely business-focused platform which provides the opportunity to publish things like your professional biography, a summary of your specialities and your employment history.

You can also gain endorsements and recommendations of your work from other users, and even post status updates, much like Twitter and Facebook. The company pages function on Linkedin also mirrors many of the functions available through Facebook pages.

“It allows you to provide a summary of your business and its services, attract followers, post updates and content to those followers and link to employee profiles.”

Google Plus is the world’s fastest-growing social network, and now the second-largest overall after Facebook.

As the newest of the four platforms, Ms Stenning says it combines many of the best features of each one, including company profile, status updates and sharing with the added benefit of unique features like video ‘hangouts’ (video conferencing).

There are also literally thousands of social media platforms out there. Many of the new generation social media platforms centre around image and video sharing, such as Pinterest, Instagram and Vine.