5 social media sites to promote your business


Decide on your content strategy: determine how you'll communicate, how often you'll post, your goals and your approach.

Katia Lavoie | Journalist

Social media is great to raise your business's profile, but you need to know how to use it. 

RĂ©mi Lachance, president and consultant director at Proxima Centauri, explains why, when and how to make the 5 most popular social networks work for you and your business. 
 
Facebook

Why
"Facebook and LinkedIn are today's go-to for anybody with a business," says Lachance. The network Mark Zuckerberg created all those years ago boasts more than 4 million users in Quebec alone. It's the most popular social media platform in the province. It's also the site that can raises your business's profile the most among consumers. 

When 
Create a page as soon as you can and set some money for advertising. Also hire someone, either an employee or a consultant, to manage your account, if you can. "You need to put in the time to get the results you want, whether that's to increase sales, lower costs or attract the best and brightest." adds Lachance. 

The best time of the day to post is different for every business. Test the waters first. After a few months, you can look back on your posts and see which ones got the most likes and shares. Generally, the best time to post is during the day or early evening between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. 

How
"The problem with Facebook is that its updated fairly often," Lachance points out. So, stay in the know. We also recommend posting visual content: videos and pictures garner a lot of attention. Keep your content fresh by posting about different topics, such as customer experience and employee experience statistics, research results, helpful tips, and articles that start with something like "The 5 best . . .". You should be posting at least 3 times a week and the posts should be related to your market. 

LinkedIn

Why
LinkedIn is the only business networking site out there. It yields the best results for businesses that provide products and services to other businesses. You can also get helpful information by reaching out to professionals who are active on LinkedIn. More than 2.5 million Quebecers have a LinkedIn profile and "50% of them hold management positions, from middle managers to executives--in other words, decision-makers who know how to manage a budget," says Lachance. 

When
LinkedIn users are most active from Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with a spike at the beginning of the week--so Monday to Wednesday. Don't even bother on the weekend! 

How
Proxima Centauri's president recommends you check LinkedIn regularly, ideally 2 or 3 times a week for about 30 minutes. How can you make LinkedIn work for you? Grow and maintain your network by interacting with people, commenting on posts and sharing interesting information. To draw another business's attention or to build on existing relationship, share their posts by tagging them.

Instagram

Why
"Instagram is the most popular social network with 18- to 29-year-olds. They typically prefer Instagram over Facebook," mentions the Lachance. You can get more interaction on Instagram through likes, shares and comments.
 
When
It's best to post in the evening between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and on weekends. But Instagram may not be a social media outlet you need to prioritize for your business. "If the 18- to 29-year-olds aren't your target demographic, you may not want to put too much time and effort into growing your presence on Instagram. Focus on the Facebook and LinkedIn, and if you have time, then you can focus on Instagram," recommends Lachance. 

How 
Try it out to get a better sense of what works. Unlike other social media sites, your pictures have to look great on Instagram. So, download some photo editing apps on your phone to make your pictures really stand out.

YouTube

Why
"YouTube is the world leader on the social media scene. It has outranked Facebook with 4 million views per minute," states Lachance. He adds that the 18 to 25 demographic turns to YouTube for their searches, and then Google. Use YouTube to get closer to people and maintain an open dialogue with them.

When
Posts regularly. It can be once every 2 weeks or once a month. Set an easy pace, and when you start to see results, you can up your presence and spend more time raising your business's profile.

How
Be authentic and avoid special effects when editing your videos. Read about the YouTuber phenomenon for ideas. "You want your customers to feel like you're talking to them. Use it as a platform to share information and not just for promotion," says Lachance. For example, you can have a video of the head of a business sharing tips and tricks in a bare-bones setting. 

Twitter

Why
Twitter is a great way to connect with influencers in politics, communications (including journalists), media relations and marketing professionals, and students. 

When
Post early in the day, before the morning hustle starts, around 7:00 a.m. Avoid posting on the hour so that your post doesn't get lost in the feed. Try posting around 10:10 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. instead of 10:00 a.m. 

How
Attract more people by including a video or picture in your post. Decide on your content strategy: determine how you'll communicate, how often you'll post, your goals and your approach. And use hashtags! Hashtags are essential to your strategy to help you raise brand awareness, monitor the market or stay in the know so you can adjust your strategy as needed. To find the most effective hashtags for your business, try Google Trends. And remember to keep it at 280 characters or less! 

One step at a time

Regardless of your clientele and the social media network you choose, Lachance recommends that you get the results you want before moving on to another network. If you haven't been able to boost sales, foster customer loyalty, get more attention or attract the right talent on Facebook, try growing your presence there before focusing on, say, Instagram.

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