How to use social media to your advantage

by Sonia Straface

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Want to grow your social media presence and be reflected as a reputable, professional business online? Then listen to your audience.

That was the advice from Kimberly Biback of Sharp Transportation who gave a presentation at the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario annual conference on Feb. 28 all about how to use social media properly and effectively.

“If you want to use social media properly you need to think about your audience and your reach,” Biback stressed. “Without an audience, social media is a waste of time, and without the right audience, likes and followers are redundant.”

Biback advised to look at platforms you want your followers from. For example, Instagram is a great platform to share photos, but its core users are between 18-29 years old. So it likely won’t be a big hit for drivers, since many of them are older than the typical user, she said.

“Think about which platform is going to help you get to your goal,” she added. “Social media is not a one size fits all.”

And above all else, Biback said, don’t stretch yourself too thin and be on all platforms.

“There are 203 major social media platforms, but don’t be on every one just because it’s there,” she said. “Think about which platform is going to help you get to your goal…For example, many today are using LinkedIn like Facebook, and LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook at all. It’s a professional platform.”

Once you’ve decided which social media accounts are right for your business, it’s time to start posting and engaging with your followers.

“Here the number one rule is don’t be annoying,” she said. “You need to make sure you are posting relevant, interesting content that resonates with your target audience.”

Biback added that when it comes to posts, quantity does not equal quantity. In fact, she said “a post a day could keep the followers away. You really want to think about the activity that could drive followers to unlike your page…for example posting just to fill space. Presence alone doesn’t make conversions.”

Be human

Good businesses are online and have a big focus on customer service and being relatable, Biback said.

“Having a strong sense of customer service on social media is critical,” she said. “Businesses are out there scoping you out. They want to know if you’re responsive, if you’re ethical. They look at your response time, at your reviews.”

She added that when posting, it also helps for your posts to not just be about business. Sometimes, it’s okay to have fun and post polls for fun.

“It’s great to have a human side. Engage with your audience,” she said. “Ask questions and answer their questions. And don’t remove or edit customer posts.”

Overall, Biback said, social media can and should be used as a strategy to help you do business more effectively and less expensively than ever before.

“In order to be successful, you should be human, make sure you’re using the right vehicle, and you have a detailed strategy online,” she said. “It must be rewarding for people to be visiting your page or platform. You must be informative. Don’t let them down. If being informative is how you get followers, being entertaining is how you keep your audience.”

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