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How to promote your business using social media – part 2

Nearly 90% of people in this country use the internet, and of these nearly 50% use social media. In part two of this two-part article we look at the key things you need to know about promoting your business through social media using Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn is covered in part one.

What are the key things I need to be aware of?

There’s a plethora of social media platforms, each with its own set of ‘dos and don’ts’. In the sections below we provide tips about several of the major platforms, but here’s some overarching guidance:

  • Be active: it’s pointless joining social media platforms and then not participating – in fact, not responding to questions and comments will be counterproductive
  • Don’t overstretch yourself: unless you can afford to have someone managing your social media activities, avoid joining too many platforms or you could find yourself run-ragged
  • Make sure a platform’s a good fit for your business: before signing-up go on as an individual and spend a few weeks getting a feel for its culture and conventions – is the site a natural environment for your type of business, or will it be a fish out of water?
  • Check out the competition: what platforms are they on?
  • Try to get users to do most of the work: once you’ve settled in to a platform, look for ways to seed it with content and encourage customers to make a lot of the running, e.g. by providing feedback, posts, content, etc.

How can I use Pinterest to promote my business?

Pinterest enables its users to pin images and videos they find on the internet, or upload themselves onto boards they can share with others. Its demographic is just over 60% female. Users tend to be image conscious and go to Pinterest for inspiration about what sorts of things to buy, e.g food, fashion, beauty, interiors, crafts. Nearly 90% of users purchase a product that they’ve pinned.

  • Market research – A simple use of Pinterest is to keep tabs on what kinds of products and interests are hot at the moment. This can give you ideas for new items, or for repurposing existing ones.
  • Profile and images – To become an active Pinterest user, create a profile for your business and set up some themed boards to showcase your products or services. Writing short text descriptions for each image. Include keywords related to your business so that they can be found in searches. The aim of the game is to drive traffic to your website.
  • Pins – Add the Pin It button to your business’s website pages so that people can pin images to the their Pinterest pages. As with many social media sites, competitions can generate user engagement on Pinterest. One way of doing this is to have contests for the best photo, or awards for the best suggestion for new products or novel uses of existing ones.
  • Quality v Quantity – Avoid having lots of boards pinned full to the brim with decidedly average looking images. Instead, create a few select boards, with great images, and carefully crafted text descriptions.
  • Bigger picture – Don’t just feature images of your own products or services. For example, if you sell furniture, pin images of others’ products that are complementary, such as curtains, carpets, tableware and so on. Pinning other relevant images will help project the lifestyle you want to associate with your product, and also grow your followers.

To create a Pinterest account, go to

How can I use Instagram to promote my business?

Instagram has overtaken Twitter in terms of global users. Of UK users, 90% are under 35 and many are female. It’s a trendy platform where users can instantly upload photos and videos they’ve taken on their smartphones. It’s quite a ‘lifestyle’ site and its demographic means that it’s not a catch-all platform.

To open an Instagram account, go to

Scroll through the carousel below for some tips for using it.

  • Image is all
    Image is all

    As you might expect for a platform that’s based on images, when considering whether to put your business on Instagram, you need to be sure that you can regularly post pictures or videos that won’t compare badly to what else is on the site. You don’t need to have an inherently visual product or service, but you need to be able to put a visual ’take’ on things.

  • Different takes
    Different takes

    If you’re unsure about your ability to come up with ace looking images and movies, you might be better to approach things from a different angle. For example, post photos and videos that show what it’s like ‘behind the scenes’ in your business – how you create or source your products, or a ‘day in the life’ the delivery of your service, or an exciting charity event you sponsored or took part in.

  • Playing on phone

    An obvious way of participating on Instagram is to run competitions for the best pictures and videos of people using your product or service. The platform does have fairly stringent rules for competitions, so make sure you read up on these first.

How can I use YouTube to promote my business?

Some may question whether YouTube is really a social media platform. Well, we think it ticks the right boxes – user-generated content, comments, sharing, etc. Also, in effect it’s the second largest search engine after Google. In the UK 50% of people who watch YouTube videos speak about them to their peers. YouTube videos are shared across other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. 

  • Fresh content – Obviously, YouTube is all about video content – if you’re going to try to establish a presence on this platform you need to be confident you can regularly produce appropriate videos. And of course they need to be useful – the occasional off-the-wall video is fine, especially if your business is based around a zany concept – but unless you’re fantastically original with your quirkiness, things could get boring and even embarrassing
  • Channels – You can create your own channel on You Tube, to which you regularly add new videos. In their own right these videos can add extra value to your core products and services. Within YouTube they’re in a social media environment where users can add their comments, take part in discussions, and follow a link to your website
  • Videos – The content of your videos will depend on the nature of your business. For example, if you run a consultancy you could produce a video in which you present your insights into the latest developments in your field. If you sell products, you can make videos that demonstrate how to use them, and offer other tips on how to take care of them
  • Customers’ content – You could ask customers to submit videos of themselves using your products, or providing testimonials. You can then post them to your YouTube channel and give a prize for the one that gets the most likes or shares. (Make sure you get their permission before posting their videos).


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