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Social Media Explained

Social Media is a broad term which encapsulates many platforms and tools, each offering a wide-reaching scope of functions through which a business can connect to its client base. Virtually every business today has a profile on some form of social networking website – whether it's the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest – and is considered the foundation upon which a business can easily target and increase its client base. While these websites may appear to have a great deal in common, each of the major social media sites are distinct from one another and serve an individual purpose. It is up to the business themselves to decide which one would best serve and ideally cater to their target audience, taking into account factors such as a customer's typical age-bracket, computer literacy level, etc. The online presence of a business acts as the first face which many potential clients will see upon beginning their research. The majority of internet users will give up their search after scanning the first page of Google results. If your business is not visible on the first page – even if it holds a page 2 ranking – this will pose a major problem in terms of garnering attention for your business and making an impact in the online market.

"The online presence of a business acts as the first face which many potential clients will see upon beginning their research."

Organic Listings

Utilising the full potential of organic listings is a free and easy way to guarantee your company's online visibility. Organic listings appear on the first page of search results due to their relevancy, rather than simply being paid advertisements. This is important, as studies show that internet users, more often than not, tend to gravitate away from paid/sponsored advertisements in favour of organic listings. How do organic listings get such a high ranking on the results page? Because the designers of the website in question have made regular use of key words and have maintained a strong focus on the nature of the business.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

At the other end of the advertising spectrum is the Pay Per Click (PPC) model, a search optimization approach provided by services like Google AdWords. As the name suggests, this method is paid for by a business in order to attract traffic to their website, and also secures them a place within the first two or three listings of a Google search result page, set apart from the organic listings. Each time an internet user clicks on the advertisement in question, the business is charged a particular amount, which is then taken from their advertising allowance with Google. Once this allowance has run out, Google will discontinue the business's position in the advertisements section, and the website will return to its original ranking before the AdWords service was used.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

In addition to a company's official webpage, the effectiveness of a supplementary Facebook or Twitter page should not be underestimated. Now, with over 1 billion users worldwide and 56% of Irish people in possession of an account (higher than both the UK and the US), Facebook acts as a free and invaluable marketing tool, whether it is for a small startup or a long-established business. In recent years, Facebook has seen a huge increase in users over the age of 50, and with it, the potential to reach a much wider demographic. Many businesses attract attention to their Facebook pages by holding competitions, encouraging people to become 'Fans' and share the page with others. By sharing, a typical user could expose your Facebook page to 200+ individuals in their network. As one of the top ten websites in the world and with over 20% of the Irish population among its users, Twitter and Facebook go hand-in-hand in terms of delivering short, attention-grabbing snippets of information. Updates can be a maximum of 140 characters, and allow users to directly message one another in a public conversation. Furthermore, many businesses use Twitter as a way of offering customer support to Twitter users with relevant issues, and in doing so, displays in a positive light their attention to the client base.

Blogging

Developing a blog is an integral aspect of keeping connected through social media. Blogs can come in the form of articles, short facts, commentaries on current events, and so on, while keeping your readers up-to-date on current projects, news, tips, and special offers. Depending on the nature of your business, the tone of the blog can be both informative and entertaining. A major advantage to blogging is the interaction with readers via the comments section – a feature which allows businesses the opportunity to speak directly with their clients and, importantly, to present themselves as approachable and relatable. Once a blog is ready to be posted, many companies will link to the article/snippet from their company Facebook pages, directing Facebook followers to visit the blog itself. Bloggers – professional and otherwise – are now intrinsic to how news is circulated, and it is of benefit to every business to engage with these online journalists.

Linking to Social Media Websites In order to fully utilise popular social media websites, it is important to provide links through the official business website, and vise versa. By integrating an icon into the design of the official website which leads to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Wordpress, etc., you help to bridge the gap between your audience and, in doing so, create a closely connected network to every possible client.


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