Social media is a very cost-effective way to grab the attention of new customers and to keep existing customers informed.

Whether you are a retailer, restaurant or professional services business, social media is useful for getting eyes on your business and engaging new customers with content to drive foot traffic and boost sales.

The key to choosing the right social media platform is to know your customers and your target market.

Follow our handy guide to find out more about the “why” and “how” of social media for your business. We’ve also included some great examples of where local Parramatta businesses have used social media to great success.

Restaurants and cafés – Instagram

Why:  Food doesn’t only taste good; it can also look great in photos. If you run a restaurant or café then being part of Instagram is one of the best ways to visually show your customer what you are all about. Instagram is most popular with people in the 25 to 34-year age group, and most users are women at 57.3% and that’s where the visual appeal of food and fashion really comes into play.

How:  Work on getting your #hashtags right, develop a go-to ‘insta-worthy’ dish. Next, create a wall or space in your establishment using plants, lights or artworks that form a distinctive backdrop. Notable visual features coupled with attractive dishes and a great customer experience will encourage people to share the news about your restaurant or café.

Parramatta’s Arafat Farugue from Saimai by Thai I M has successfully worked with Viktoria Darabi from Realise Business to refresh his identity, décor and marketing strategy. He has had great success using Instagram as a tool to showcase his gorgeous food images and quirky “Sweet but Psycho” neon light

Tradies, mechanics, beauticians, hairdressers – Facebook

Why:  Facebook has become a great platform for a wide variety of businesses, with 60% of the local population identifying as active Facebook users. Facebook is most popular with 25- to 39-year-olds who use the platform to keep up to date on what’s happening and to share news and information with their friends and family. Facebook Messenger is great for customer enquiries. Often people prefer to use Facebook for their business presence, rather than maintaining a website, as their Facebook page will also show up in a Google search.

How: Make sure your Facebook page is set up to show all relevant information that your customers may need, including opening hours, a list of services, an engaging cover photo with your logo, a ‘call to action’ button and more. Monitor and answer questions promptly to provide great customer service.

Realise Business advisor Sara Berry has been working with Ian from Carlingford Mechanical to set up a new Facebook business page. He has been delighted and surprised by the amount of work and customer enquiries that are coming his way through Facebook Messenger.

Retailers – Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook

Why | If you are a retailer then platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are all great social media channels.  We know that Facebook is great for news and Instagram is fantastic for images, but it is Pinterest that stands out if you are trying to reach a female audience. That’s because the average age of a Pinterest user is 40 with females accounting for 80% of all users.

How | Post content that is relevant to your business that is visually appealing. Pinterest is all about inspiring potential customers to create sales, so post beautiful images that say something about your business. Take advantage of changing seasons, for example, create and post a mood board of images related to Autumn. Post make-up tips, wedding mood boards, home reno colour collections and more.

Professional Services – LinkedIn

Why | LinkedIn is the key platform for business-to-business communication. Maintain both a personal profile and a company page as these are key elements in a corporate or small business marketing strategy.

How | If you are a professional services business that sells to other businesses then a LinkedIn company page that demonstrates your key competencies and qualifications is vital. Posts should be developed to highlight the value that you offer your customers. Company posts can then be shared on personal LinkedIn, in turn enhancing their reach and engagement. Keeping you and your company top of mind.

Realise Business advisor Sara Berry has been working with ALJ Consulting to enhance the company LinkedIn page and developing content to share as part of the engineering consultancy’s business-to-business sales strategy. Read the case study for more.

Plan your strategy and take action today

Social media offers many benefits to business owners, as it allows them to reach out to their customers and to gain the attention of more people/potential customers. A recent Social Media Marketing Industry report has shown that social media enables businesses to get exposure and traffic.

Set up a meeting with an advisor from Realise Business today to take advantage of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Realise Business will work with you on practical aspects of your social media plan such as creating content, offering ideas for posts and hashtags and providing techniques for encouraging audience participation and engagement.