Tuesday 4 August 2009

Using Facebook

I have previously written a blog post about creating a Facebook page for your business. Facebook is still one of the first places I head to on the Internet, but is it business or pleasure?

How do I use Facebook?
I use Facebook primarily to speak to friends and found out what's going on. I created a page for Picseli to promote our services and show off examples of our work. All of these blog posts feed directly to my page, and I update the photo albums when we have completed a new design. Every now and then if there's a change in legislation or something of interest to report I will write on the 'wall'.

Benefits of Facebook
The main benefit I have found, is that you have access to a group of people you may not have spoken to about your business before. I quite often find that acquaintances don't have a full understanding of what you do, and Facebook can help you to show your friends, and friends of friends, what you do for a living.

As it's a constant information stream you are more likely to appeal to someone at a time when they are looking for your services. Again, similar to Twitter, if you can provide advice and information people are more likely to become a fan or visit your page to find out more rather than it coming across as a direct marketing tool.

With Facebook you are able to put a face behind the business. People can see that you are not a faceless corporation and can talk to you.

Disadvantages of Facebook
For many people it's a personal site and they will blank out any business messages because they're not in work. You are also speaking to a wide group of people - many of whom may never have an interest in your product.

A lot of people don't want to mix business and pleasure on Facebook especially as other people have control over what can be said about you. You do need to carefully consider how you want your business to be percieved and whether personal communications would negatively affect it.

Should You use Facebook?
Depending on how you manage it, Facebook could be beneficial to a number of organisations. Some examples below:

Not for Profit organisations can use it to let people know about events, latest news and recruit volunteers.

Fitness instructors can use it to present motivational tips.

Pubs & Clubs can post details of events, special offers, photos.

IT Companies can inform fans of security updates, virus alerts, useful tips and facts.

Monday 3 August 2009

Using Twitter

Back in November, I posted about How to Use Twitter, which explains how to set up an account and get started. I've been tweeting for 9 months and this is why I tweet, and how I have found it.

Why do I tweet?
Initially i started to tweet to help promote this blog and our website. As far as I was concerned it was a marketing tool to help bring traffic to my website. Now it has become a great resource for getting information, especially from people such as @StartUpDonut and @MarketingDonut. There are plenty of people willing to share information they have found. I have found that as time goes by I want to use to it give information to other people - hence this series, and the one on writing content. As it happens, this has brought more traffic to my site and helps to create a dialogue with customers.

How often do I tweet?
If you search the web you'll find many different answers to the question 'How often should i tweet?' My general rule - if you have nothing to say, then don't tweet. I try to make sure my tweets mean something, or re-tweet something interesting...although every now and then I think it is nice to see that there's a real person behind the company and will wish everyone a Happy Monday or let people know what's going on in the office.

I aim to tweet between 1 and 10 times a day.

What do I tweet?
Looking back at my tweets, they tend to fall into these categories:

1. Niceties
For example, e.g. 'Good morning'

2. Office happenings
'Working on to do lists' or 'writing proposals'

3. Customer news
'New website live'

4. Things I find interesting or think others may
At the moment, Swine flu updates or marketing information

5. Updates to our blog

What benefits have I seen?
This is tricky. I can't say that we have made a direct sale to a Twitter follower. I can tell you it helps with search engine searches for our company name, and that I have made new local contacts via Twitter. It's a good icebreaker at off-line networking events when you meet a company you're following. And I have definitely learnt a lot and found some useful links along the way.

So should you tweet?
I can't imagine a company or organisation that wouldn't benefit from tweeting. Some examples below:

Accountants & Solicitors
Keep your customers updated on deadlines, changes in legislation, new services and company news.
Example: @JCPSolicitors

Not for Profit
Help spread your message, let people know about events, provide facts and figures, tell people how they can help.
Example: @HelpStopCruelty

Tell people about sales, new products, the security features, what makes you different.
Example: @asos

August is Social Media Month

At Picseli, we are all fascinated by the web and all of the applications available to help find information, meet people, play, make life easier, etc etc. We spend most of our day in front of the computer and some of it online researching, reviewing, networking to find out what the next big thing will be.

Social Media & Networking has become a huge online activity, and can help to boost your business and increase awareness. However, it can be time consuming and can take a whole to see the results - especially for a small business.

Throughout August, we will visit a number of social media websites, explain how and why we use them and how they could help your business. To stay up to date follow us on twitter.