Making the most of social media

There are 3.8 billion active social media users worldwide1. Every single day there are over 500 million tweets, almost 6 billion Facebook likes2 and more than 100 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram3. Each of these platforms provides opportunities for your business to build meaningful relationships with customers.

1. The benefits

Access your audience

Connect with your customers on a personal level by communicating through social media. Whether you have a basic profile for queries, or run advertising campaigns to generate sales, social media is a unique opportunity for tailored marketing and promotion.

Develop brand loyalty

Turn customers into brand advocates by building natural relationships with your followers. Offer interesting or useful content – an online discount or a sneak-peek at ‘new in’ stock – that adds value to your brand proposition and makes you more personable.

The benefits of social media

Provide better customer service

Improve customer satisfaction by responding to complaints and queries directly, in a public setting. When done right, this helps to build a positive brand reputation, establish a loyal customer base and reduce strain on telephone support.

Increase sales/donations

Customers don’t even have to leave the platform to visit your online shop now. Avoid the hard sell – social media is most effective when communication and decision-making are organic. Grab attention with eye-catching visuals and customers will be more likely to make a purchase or donation.

2. How to do it

Select relevant social media platforms

Some social media platforms will be better suited to your business than others. You just need to find where your customers are and which works best for your product/service.

Popular platforms include:

Facebook† - the most popular social networking website, with over 1.7 billion users. Facebook allows users to share updates, images and links with their 'friends'. A business account works in the same way and allows you to build your own community of followers who ‘Like’ your page.

Twitter† - a highly topical news platform where popular topics ‘trend’ via hashtags. Users can ‘tag’ people or brands to create a conversation, or join trending conversations by searching for or tweeting with hashtags.

Instagram†- a platform all about the visual, with images and video taking precedence over text. Instagram Stories allows you to post content that stays up for 24 hours, while the main feed hosts permanent posts.

LinkedIn† - designed for professional networking. LinkedIn allows users to connect with potential business contacts, as well as search for candidates and advertise jobs. There are also industry-specific groups for discussions and support.

Pinterest† - an image and inspiration sharing platform. Pinterest allows users to upload their own and ‘pin’ other people’s photos or images, which may link through to webpages. Popular topics are DIY tutorials, recipes, travel photos, famous quotes and compelling infographics.

Snapchat† – a photo and video sharing platform where content appears temporarily before disappearing. Snapchat is predominantly used by Gen Z and can be a great way to engage with this audience and show your authentic and playful side, if that’s part of your brand.

TikTok† – the newest social media platform. Users create fun, and often silly, 15 second videos to which music and effects can be added. TikTok is all about raw video content filmed on smartphones, but brands with a more entertaining side can gain traction with challenges and product demos.

Develop a strategy

Before you decide which social media platforms are best for your brand, you need to decide on your objectives. For example, are you aiming to talk to real customers, respond to queries or show expertise in your field?

  • Develop a tone that's appropriate for social media – adapt your brand tone of voice to be more casual on social media platforms. You still need to be recognisably you, but avoid being directly promotional or formal. Focus on being approachable and engaging.
  • Think about what you want to say – make sure every post has a reason behind it, so your customers will come to trust your content. It’s about quality rather than quantity.
Develop a strategy
  • Determine how quickly you'll respond to complaints/queries - acceptable response times vary depending on the platform, but it's good practice to acknowledge a customer comment within 24 hours.

Share engaging content

Start conversations with your followers and build trust by sharing quality content. This may be useful, entertaining, informative or newsworthy, depending on your brand. Consider sharing:

  • Blog posts from your company blog
  • Relevant posts from your business partners
  • News articles related to your organisation/sector
  • Videos
  • Images

Use tools to schedule updates and monitor feedback

Online tools and dashboards, such as Buffer†, Hootsuite† and SproutSocial†, make it easy to manage several social media profiles at the same time:

  • Schedule posts in advance to work more efficiently
  • See when your customers are online to optimise post engagement
  • Receive alerts when someone directly messages you
  • Monitor comments for specific language
  • Collate data about post performance.

Use social media securely

Include social media in your overarching IT security policy to ensure staff use it responsibly and to reduce the chances of someone hacking into your accounts.

3. Useful links

Facebook for business

Twitter for business

Instagram for business

Pinterest for business

Marketing on Facebook

Facebook for education

Get certified by Google at The Digital Garage with free online courses

 

1.https://wearesocial.com/blog/2020/01/digital-2020-3-8-billion-people-use-social-media

2. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/facebook-statistics/

3.https://www.omnicoreagency.com/instagram-statistics/

 

†Please note that these are just examples of the types of social media sites and social media management tools available. Lloyds Bank does not endorse the services they provide.

While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.

Dealing with negative reviews

Use these practical steps to turn negative feedback into a positive for your business.

Building customer relationships

Our guide looks at improving your customer service and encouraging customer commitment to help you increase your profit.

Creating a marketing plan

Set your objective, fix the budget and get your plan off the ground.

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While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.