Will I get a decent return from social media for the time I invest into it?

Published: 04/02/2014 By Colin Breavington

Before answering this question it would be a good idea to understand why a business would spend any time on social media.  While portal advertising provides traditional leads, social media provides a way to spread your brand message and reach out to the local community. Social media is also a forum where your customers can become brand ambassadors; raising awareness of your company by sharing their experiences within their social networking groups.

Malorie Lurich of Facebook once stated:

“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends & people they know and trust.”

Investing in social media in the long term will help place your business in the front of people’s minds when they or their friends are making house moving decisions.

What social networks are important?

The obvious first choice is Facebook, currently the most visited website in the world, even larger than Google.  Facebook has 32 million UK adult users, this is around 50% of the population and 65% of all adults in the UK.  This effectively means that 65% of your potential customers have a Facebook profile.

Twitter is also worth a look.  Recent statistics are a little unclear and difficult to find, but in May 2012 Twitter stated that there were 10 million active UK users.  Research firm “Beevolve” released stats in October 2012 suggesting that 17% of the UK population is using Twitter. This seems to match up with the official Twitter figures.   There are an estimated 500 million tweets sent every day, with each user having an average of 208 followers this is a great way to spread information about your business.

LinkedIn is often overlooked but is great for advertising to specific demographics.  For example, if you know your target audience are affluent business leaders you can target them easily via this network.  In September 2012 LinkedIn reached 10 million UK adult users.

Pinterest is a way to share images and offers a different way to share information from the more usual “status updates”.  This network is usually frequented by more artistic and creative types which may be part of your target audience.  Or perhaps images and creativity are an integral part of your brand, such as with our sister company, Datography.

These are the major players in the social media world right now. There are others that have sprung up over the years; when researching this article we counted over 30 other social networks.

So, this seems like a lot to deal with, right?  It doesn’t have to be. 

Once you have set up your business pages and profiles, posting to social media sites is very easy.  Web designers often embed links to share and like pages in most websites, such as at the top of this page.  Clicking these links will open a window where you can share content via various networks in just a few clicks, and often add a personal comment.  Sharing pages and articles in this way is a quick and easy way to provide content to your followers, and also provides some links back to your site which Google will appreciate for ranking purposes.

You can use these features to share content from your own website, or from other websites which contain content relevant to your target audience.
A quick note about a product update -  if you are an existing template customer Webdadi can add some links, share buttons and like buttons to your pages free of charge. For those that have bespoke builds, we can likely help you too.  Give us a call to get this set up. Plug over.

But isn’t logging in and out of these sites very time consuming? 

Well… Yes… But there are tools to make this really fast and easy.  Our personal favourite is Hootsuite which will allow you to manage up to 5 social media accounts from a single login free of charge.  These accounts can include different networks, so if you are using Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin you should be set.  If you are going all out and using more than 5 social networks then you can increase the accounts you can manage in Hootsuite by paying a tiny monthly fee.   This tool makes posting to multiple social media sites very easy and quick.  You can also schedule future posts, so if you wanted to post something at a certain time of day, you wouldn’t even need to be in front of a computer.  Other tools include: Tweetdeck and Sproutsocial.

Also, don’t forget your smartphone!  All of the social networks have applications for mobile devices, so you can download, login and share content whilst you are on the move, waiting for a bus or bored at a dinner party.

One important caveat for all of this is to be patient, as achieving engagement can take some time, but generally the more posts and content you share that your users find useful, the faster you will see that engagement working for you.

If you want more information or are just obsessed with stats like us, it’s worth checking out these links: