Written by Joe Toal • Published 10th April 2019 • 4 minute read

Social media is a brilliant platform for strengthening your reputation both online and offline. More diverse, immersive and accessible than traditional marketing, it provides a level of authenticity which is often hard to capture. Each channel occupies a niche and offers a varied strategy for developing your online reputation, brand values and identity.

A key point to remember is that you need to be interactive. It’s called social for a reason; make sure you’re asking questions, interacting with people and encouraging a discussion. Ideally, you want to get people talking to you, with you and about you. Positioning yourself as a thought leader is invaluable in building confidence in your personal brand, and social media is one of the easiest ways in which to do this. Here we highlight the best social media platforms for businesses and how to use them effectively.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the most obvious platform for building your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. After all, it was designed to build and expand your professional network and unite those with common interests. Joining and prompting relevant discussion on LinkedIn can be as simple as writing a post, but it certainly shouldn’t stop there.

Join groups that are relevant to your industry, share articles on matters of importance to you, make real connections online and voice what makes you matter as an individual or a business. Jump on top of trending issues and maximise your exposure by using trending hashtags. Social media is all about storytelling, so tell yours.

LinkedIn also offers the ability to publish built-in blogs, which the algorithm will support so they generate further reach. Write one, publish it, and encourage people to ask you questions and discuss your ideas. As with everything on social media, the more people interact with your posts, the more often they’ll see your content, so you really want to push for that initial engagement that keeps people coming back for more.

Instagram

Instagram a great platform for the professional, as it allows you to showcase the aspects of your life that may feel ill-suited elsewhere. Instagram allows you to curate a broader understanding of, and personality around, your brand. This authentic and intimate insight is increasingly invaluable in the world of modern marketing.

When using Instagram, remember to use the whole toolbox. Use Instagram stories and their ever-evolving features, add videos and boomerangs and try to be playful with their built-in emojis and gifs. In the same vein, remember that branded or explicitly commercial content won’t sit well on this channel. Instagram is first and foremost about beautiful pictures, so your priority should be to show off your creative side and make the post look aesthetically pleasing.

Twitter

Twitter is often the first stop for people joining the world of social media. As a news-driven platform, it offers the perfect opportunity for comment and discussion, both as a brand and an individual. When using Twitter, it’s important to remember it functions based on ‘look at that’, rather than ‘look at me’. Using Twitter to stay on top of industry agendas is a great way to prove your relevance.

Make sure you’re following and interacting with existing influential leaders in your industry and try to get your content in front of them. A key influencer retweeting your message can lead to a hugely expanded reach, and consequently more engagements and followers.

Facebook

Facebook may not seem like the most immediately relevant channel for businesses, but it holds value in its SEO potential, and in allowing you to have a seamless visual identity and tone of voice across the web. Having these multiple touch points is helpful in keeping your messaging clear and consistent.

One stand-out benefit of using Facebook is its sophisticated and intricate options for paid promotion. This is something worth investing in if you want to promote a product, cause or event, and may yield better results than other platforms.

In terms of content, Facebook can be used to support content pushed out across other channels, and focus on longer form opinion pieces, such as blogs or videos. Whereas other platforms encourage short and concise statuses, Facebook allows you to share more than 60,000 characters within a post, making it great for telling a story or engaging in meaningful content sharing.

Final thoughts…

Social media today hosts a plethora of tools to help you tell your story. It’s a hugely varied space that is highly flexible to the individual or brand, and since it’s now so pervasive, it’s easier than ever to get your message where you want and to whom you want.

Do remember that social media is not a one-way street. The quickest way to put people off is by being too ‘me me me’; using your own content is fantastic and certainly recommended, but don’t be afraid to share others’ work. You can still demonstrate your value and knowledge by directing your followers to authoritative and illuminating content from across the web. This is also often a good way to continue to expand your network – just make sure you always credit appropriately.

It can be daunting to start a brand-new social media strategy and post relevant, creative content on a regular basis. If you feel you need a helping hand, have a look at our social media services here. Our community managers look after every aspect of your social media channels and online communities. Whether you’re after a bespoke social campaign, paid media support, influencer engagement, or a full audit of your existing social landscape and that of your competitors, we’ve got you covered.