About social media

Social media is an easy, affordable and effective way to promote your business and connect with customers.

Use social media to:

  • attract new customers
  • grow your market, including overseas
  • build loyalty and trust in your brand
  • interact directly with customers in real time
  • advertise and sell your products or services
  • drive traffic to your website
  • see what people are saying about your business
  • keep an eye on your competitors.

Choosing social media platforms

There are many social media platforms, and not all of them will be right for your business. Here are some things to consider when choosing a social media platform.

Target audience

There’s no point in joining a social media platform unless your target customers are using it.

Think about the people you want to engage, including their age, gender and interests. Then choose the platforms they are most likely to use.

Your goals

Consider what you want your social media presence to achieve. You could be trying to:

  • get new customers
  • communicate with existing customers
  • position yourself as an expert in your field
  • promote your brand to a new market.

You might like to refer back to your business plan or marketing plan.


Research the social media platforms your competitors use and see if they could work for you too.

Most platforms recommend content to users based on what they already engage with. That means you’ve got a chance to convert your competitors’ customers into your customers.

Your time and resources

It takes time and effort to manage each social media channel.

Consider what you can realistically do when deciding how many platforms to sign up for. It’s better to use 1 or 2 social media channels well than a lot of platforms badly.

Creating social media content

Top tips for social content

  • Think carefully about the sort of content your customers are interested in.
  • Focus on images and videos. Visual posts are more engaging than plain text.
  • Don’t go for the ‘hard sell’. Sharing information with no direct sales pitch is a great way to build your brand and fanbase.
  • Plan and create content in advance. Use a content calendar to keep track of what you have coming up.

Organic vs paid content

Social media posts can either be organic or paid.

Organic content won’t cost you anything to post. But the number of people who see it will depend on:

  • how many followers you have
  • the platform’s algorithms.

Paid content is a type of advertising. You pay the platform to show your post to more users, including people who don’t follow you. You can choose the types of people who will see the post.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Optimise your social media content to show up higher in a platform’s search results.

  • Think about the keywords your customers are likely to use when searching for this type of content.
  • Use some of these keywords in the text of your social media content.
  • Make sure the text still reads naturally. Write for people first, search engines second.

Stay active

A neglected social media presence can be worse than no social media presence at all.

Post regularly to show followers you’re still in business and ready to help.

Managing your social media channels

Social media needs ongoing management to be successful.

If you’re using more than one platform, consider getting a social media management system to manage all your channels in one place.

Tips for scheduling content

  • Post regularly, but not too often – 3 to 5 times a week is ideal for most platforms.
  • Post when your customers are most likely to be online.
  • Look for special days, events or trends you can use in your posts.
  • Use a social media management system to schedule posts in advance.

Monitoring channels

Customers on social media expect quick responses. Check your channels at least once a day to reply to comments and direct messages.

Social media management tools have built in ‘listening’ features. You can use these to track what people on social media are saying about your business and any other topics.

Complaints and negative reviews

Customers can use social media to make complaints or leave negative reviews for your business.

Tips for handling complaints on social media:

  • Don’t delete a public complaint or review. This will only annoy the customer more. An exception is if the customer uses offensive or threatening language.
  • Respond quickly. This shows the customer making the complaint and your other customers that you take their feedback seriously.
  • Acknowledge the complaint, even if you don’t agree with it. Don’t give a generic response, and never blame the customer or resort to personal attacks.
  • Once you’ve responded publicly, continue the conversation with the customer in private. Use their preferred communication method, like private message, email or phone.
  • Update your procedures for managing complaints to include social media.

Measuring success

Most social platforms have features for analysing post data. Looking at this data helps you see the types of content that work best for your customers. You can use this to plan future posts.

A social media management system lets you compare success across platforms. This can help you decide where to devote your social media resources.

Privacy and legal issues

You need to protect your customers’ privacy on social media. Never share anyone’s personal information on your public channels. 

Under consumer law, you need to make sure there are no false or misleading claims on your social media. Don’t make any false claims about a product or service, and remove any false or misleading posts made by others.

Cyber security

Like any online platform, social media has security risks. To avoid your social media accounts getting hacked:

  • choose strong passwords
  • turn on multi-factor authentication
  • teach your employees about cybersecurity
  • only share social media passwords with staff that need them
  • change your passwords when a staff member leaves your business.

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