Your guide to a successful online business!

You take your car to the garage. Maybe it’s a full service or just an annual MOT but it is at least a look over and reassessment of the tool you have and a consideration of what might need the odd tweak. You probably also take yourself off to see the doctor, or the dentist every six months or so too. There may be nothing specifically wrong but again, a quick check-up, maybe a little adjustment and away you go. Social media is no different. You probably use it every day and don’t think about the finer points. If you use an app or third party software to post you probably won’t even look at your own profile; how you appear to the rest of the world… but you should.

Just like a car, like a pet, like a person, your social media profiles can get sick. Not terminal but in need of a quick check and a few amends to make sure you are getting the best out of them. So this weekend – or early next week – set aside half an hour to assess your brand on social media, using these six quick fix tips.

1. Logo

Whatever you do socially, it is key you make sure people understand it has come from you. Your profile, your infographics, your memes; all should include your logo to promote your brand and give each and every one a more professional look. The way social has evolved, with new platforms appearing, new specifications for images, etc., sometimes the simple concept of a standard logo goes awry. Take a look. Check all of your social media profiles. Are they using exactly the same logo for your brand? If not, why not? Is the logo of the correct resolution – remember people may be looking at a screen better than yours. Make a conscious decision too, that all future images posted in your social media streams use that same logo so that people build an association with your brand. A good logo gives immediate credibility.

2. Images

So a picture is worth a thousand words, although a bad one doesn’t need that many to turn a potential customer off. Quality and relevancy are key to your image choice. Different social media platforms display and handle images differently and remember different tablets, phones and computer displays will too. These change over time as well and you may have missed an update from one of the platforms so a regular check-up is well worth the effort – this ready reckoner is a good place to check on current image sizing requirements across various social networks. Making sure all of your images have a consistent look, feel and layout is an extension of your brand that you may not have consciously considered before. So take a look at what you have been posting. Does the consistency need tightening up? How could you improve the branding? You should also make sure you’re using high quality images. There are some great and not boring free stock image sites out there that you can call upon as our 18 places to find superb stock images article previously identified. In addition, the quality of modern smartphones, tablets and digital cameras you can do your own product photograph to help show off your business to potential customers.

3. Colours

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Colour has an enormous psychological impact on prospective buyers and the first impression they get of your brand. This infographic on colour psychology in logo design gives a good insight into the different emotions certain colours can create. It’s worth considering but for this quick branding review what you need to consider first is continuity of colour. The colour scheme you use on your social profiles and your website are an extension of your logo and again you need consistency across the platforms – so don’t make your Facebook header image bold and green and your Twitter one grey and lacking punch. They don’t need to match – image size requirements will make that very difficult anyway – but they need to have uniformity so that anybody seeing the two side by side would immediately identify them as being from the same company.

4. Keywords

Be aware that your social media profiles have a search relevancy that could be even more important than your main website. Do a search for the name of any small business and the chances are the first few entries will be their social media profiles, possibly even ahead of their main website. That should be motive enough to make sure your profile is search engine optimised and selling your products and services in a few short sentences. In your social media profile descriptions make sure you include those keywords you would expect people to be using to search for your services. If you are a builder but your company name does not have the word builder or building in it, use those words in your description. For one thing, you don’t want to keep visitors guessing what it is you do because they can’t work it out from just the company name, but secondly these are the words search engines will be indexing to help you get found.

5. Signposts

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Make sure people know where else they can find you. If you are on Twitter and Facebook, make sure your website and blog say so and have prominent links to each of your profiles. You also need to join the dots, so make sure your social media profiles link back to your website. Ensure that you regularly remind followers and readers that you are also available on other platforms too and include relevant links to them in your posts. Remember it is not about how wonderful you are, but how helpful you can be for those reading it – and there is a subtle difference. Check now. Would a stranger be able to find your website and all your social media profiles with just a few quick and easy clicks?

6. Personality

Successful companies online are built on an ability to engage with their customers. To engage you need to talk in the way customers will expect when they communicate with a business like yours. To do that, create content that shows the character of your company. You don’t need to be over-friendly if your business and way of conducting yourself is very formal, but avoid coming across as robotic, cold or uncaring. If a competitor is offering a warm, friendly approach and yours is staid then you may be losing a customer at the first encounter.

Remember just like your car, your teeth or your dog, social media needs a little extra attention every now and then. Even if you didn’t need to take any action this time around, diarise to revisit and recheck in a few months and keep the cycle a regular part of your business housekeeping.

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