Social Media in Small Businesses

The role of social media in small businesses like ESP

Social media can be used by companies for a variety of purposes. Whether it’s for selling something or paid for advertising, brand building, content marketing or customer support.  Social media gives you the perfect opportunity to reach your target audience and build your brand awareness.  However, navigating the many different platforms available can be difficult and businesses have varying strategies.

We sought the views of Paul Thomson, Managing Director here at ESP and Felicity Forster, our Marketing Manager, on these issues, and here’s what they had to say.

“We actually have hundreds of different social media platforms available but the key ones that businesses use are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter” starts Felicity, “Each platform needs it’s own strategy and will appeal to a slightly different user or customer”.  Felicity explained that at ESP they use LinkedIn and Twitter to speak to their clients and identify the best prospective candidates, however they use Facebook and Instagram from an internal recruitment perspective to communicate the culture behind ESP.  She continued “It is also important for us that each consultant at ESP knew their own strategy for their personal LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc and felt empowered to carry this forward.”

Paul explained that he favours the social platform of LinkedIn and has implemented a strategy over the last 2 years for his personal profile that compliments the activity on the company page.  On a personal level Paul described himself as ‘by no means an expert’, but he sees success from being highly present and active on social media.  He tends to post on average 3 posts a week on LinkedIn, each one targeting a certain audience with an intended outcome, alongside this he uses the platform to interact with contacts, clients and future candidates initiating and building relationships everyday.

Generally, one post will focus on promoting the company, what vision we have and why ESP is a great place to work, aiming to attract ambitious, successful people in applying to work at ESP.  Paul says he posts about things the team have done or achieved, highlighting the culture of ESP, events the team have arranged, and finishing with a statement we are hiring with a link.

Another post will be information about the events that ESP arranges, aimed at Managing Directors and Senior Sales Directors.  The benefits of the events are highlighted such as innovation, current trends, information sharing, and new developments, and people are encouraged to attend in order to stay current in a challenging market.  By including a call to action within his post, Paul found his engagement was much higher.

Thirdly, Paul posts something on LinkedIn that will be useful to candidates and hiring managers.  This is new content provided by Paul, it aims to provoke a conversation or debate while adding value to his audience.

As a company ESP has made some big changes recently, Felicity shared some more information on how ESP has used social media to build brand awareness and the company’s strategy going forward.

Felicity explained that recently the company has undergone a re branding. They needed to ensure this re brand has carried through onto all elements of the ESP digital footprint, including the company social media pages and team profiles, all the content shared after this needed to reflect this new, modern and professional brand.  “We had to step our game up!  We organised for professional head shot photography and created bespoke branded LinkedIn banners, so everyone’s profiles visually feed into building our wider online brand.”  They brought in Neil Rudolph from RedKnows to teach the team how to build their personal brand on LinkedIn so as to compliment the company’s profile and help grow the brand.

Alongside this Felicity explained that ESP are working to utilise our social media platform more in terms of what we share with our followers.  Felicity explained that the information posted by the company now must reflect the culture and success of the company, as well as be appealing to at least one of their stakeholders. The company now posts interesting blogs at least weekly, and other added value information including podcasts and videos.  In addition, ESP use social media to tell others what they have been doing and the successes they have seen, for example holding leaders’ events and engaging with local charities in order to engage with users.

This is a very top-level overview on how ESP have started to use social media to build brand awareness and share value for their customers. However, ESP are still in the early stages of embracing this part of the digital world and there’s a big to-do list to check off.

If you have any suggestions or ideas on what works from a social media perspective feel free to comment or contact us with your feedback.  Let’s work together to make the most of the imposing social media world.


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