By now, most businesses are active on at least one social media platform. If you go to Google and type in the name of any given business, you're likely to find a social profile for them somewhere on the first few pages. Of course, this is not the case for ALL businesses at this point, but we're getting there. Still, just because the social media profile of your business is searchable on Google does't mean it is doing its job. In order to get the most out of your social media accounts, and to make the time that you're investing in them worth it, you need to be able to stand out from the crowd and reach the people that you want to be reaching. Standing out from the crowd doesn't necessarily mean getting more followers, it means getting the right followers. So, how do you distinguish your social media accounts and get your content in front of the right people?
One of the first things that you do when creating a social media account, whether it be Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, is select a profile picture. If you are starting a company account, the profile picture should ALWAYS be your company's logo. It's important to make sure that you're using a high-resolution image that is in the correct dimensions for the platform that you're creating the account on. You don't want your image to appear pixilated or get cut off. Remember, viewers of this page will associate this image with the name above it, so make sure it's accurate. Most platforms will indicate the ideal dimensions and size for profile pictures. You should follow these guidelines so that you are getting the best quality representation of your company.
Although the platform may not REQUIRE you to include an image to create your account, you definitely don't want to have the automatically generated picture representing your company. Take a look at Twitter. When you set up your account, Twitter will automatically provide you with an egg logo in the place of your profile picture, and a solid colored background where the banner image should go (we'll touch more on this later).
Does an egg have anything to do with your company? How about a gray rectangle? Probably not. If you want to stand out from the crowd, the first thing to do is to get your unique logo out there for everyone to see.
The gray box that the egg logo overlaps can also be customized. This is a great opportunity to show the people behind your business. If you have a picture of your employees at a company outing or event, upload it to this location. These "banner images" exist on Facebook and LinkedIn as well, so this strategy can be carried from platform to platform. This is a good way to show that there are people behind your business and you're not just a logo. Further distinguish yourself by showcasing the faces that make your company great!
Take a look at the Twitter profile of one of our partners, Computer Solutions Group...
You'll notice that the company logo is crisp and clear while the banner features members of the company. There is no doubt that this Twitter profile belongs to Computer Solutions Group. You don't need to have a professional picture taken for the banner location, even an image from a cell phone should work fine!
It's worth noting that the visuals aren't the only way you can set yourself apart from the crowd in the setup process of these accounts. Every social media account will give you an opportunity to put a description of sorts. Here, you want to identify why your company is different than your competition and concisely express that. What is it about your company that makes you different? Do you serve specific verticals? A specific region? This space should be used to speak to those that you want to connect with.
Finally, if there isn't a field dedicated for it (which there should be) make sure to list your website URL and phone number of your company. Make it as easy as possible for others to get in touch with you. It's also not a bad idea to cross-promote your social media accounts in your company's description. Provide links to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts in your Twitter bio so you can be reached on all platforms.
Ready to get started? Use these walkthrough guides to create your company social media pages!
Once you've taken the steps to visually differentiate yourself on your social media accounts, you can look to set yourself apart with the content that you're sharing. To do this, you need to ask yourself, "what are my clients and prospects interested in reading about?" Use the answers that you come up with to guide the content that you're generating and sharing through your social media platforms.
>It can be difficult to find the time to commit to creating a constant stream of content to share through your social accounts. If you already have a company blog that you're posting to regularly, that's great! Even if that is the case, you can take advantage of third-party publications and share their content through your social media accounts. You should first identify some publications that are consistently publishing content that speaks to your audience. If you serve a targeted location, look for a local publication.
Take a look at a third-party post that we recently shared on our Facebook page.
Although nobody at Continuum wrote this article, it was published on the Continuum Facebook page because it was relevant to our audience. You'll notice that the link to the original article is provided, along with a tag for "Channel Partners," the original author of this article. Here are some more tips on sharing third-party content, including advice on amplifying your PR efforts!
You can also use your social media platforms to share any company updates or coverage of events that you attend/throw. Let's say you have a summer cookout for your employees. Take some pictures put them up on your social media accounts. This is a fun and easy way to once again show that there are people behind your business and it's not just a logo and a website. As mentioned earlier, if you do have a company blog that you're contributing to, you should share ALL of this content on ALL of your social media channels. If you're struggling to create content for your blog, or are considering creating one, here are some past posts that might help you out...
The Special Case for Franchisees
It can be especially difficult for franchisees to distinguish themselves on social media. Because there are many locations operating under the same name and logo, a quick search for the name of the franchise on Twitter can result in a whole list of the same logo. In this unique situation, you should take advantage of what sets you apart from the other franchisees; you. Brand your social media accounts with your name and photo as well as your company's. For example, if my fictional MSP business from above were now a franchisee and were to create a social profile, instead of branding the Twitter account as "Ben's MSP," I would brand it as "Ben Barker" and would have my handle include the name of the company. In this case, that handle would be "@BensMSPofBoston."
In this example, you'll notice that while the name on the account is mine, the handle is @BensMSPofBoston. You'll also notice that while the profile picture is my head shot, it also includes my, admittedly terrible, fictional company logo. This allows you to set yourself apart from all of the other franchisees, while also including the name of your company so that you can easily be found when searched. When you brand your company page this way, you should make sure that you're posting in a voice that you want to represent your company. This is not a space to argue about the outcome of a hockey game using foul language (even though the Bruins still haven't won a game...). Create a different, personal account for those types of interactions.
Take a look at how some of our CMIT partners have taken advantage of this opportunity!
Follow CMIT of Fort Worth on Twitter!
The opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd on social media exists. You may need to tweak your strategy depending on your situation, but there is no reason that your profiles should be getting lost in the crowd. For additional help with setting up or optimizing your social media accounts, reach out to us in the comment section below!
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By Gretchen Hoffman
By Meaghan Moraes