Gemma Long is the founder and managing director of Gem PR & Media, established in Guernsey in August 2013. The PR and media company now operates in the Channel Islands, UK and USA.

Social media has transformed the way business is gained, carried out and maintained. A study by LinkedIn, last year, found that 81% of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) were using social media and, of those, 94% were using it for marketing purposes.

Knowing how to capitalise on your social media presence is crucial. SMEs must focus on who their customer is and what they need. Think about what you know about your customers, where do they live, what lifestyle do they lead, what are their interests and habits?

It’s important to research the various social media platforms to identify those that best align with your audience’s needs. A targeted approach will gain you far better results than one that is scattergun. Once you’ve decided on the platforms, whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+ for example you can plan your social media activity.

Is your intention to drive your audience to your website, pick up the phone or increase footfall in your store, for example? It may be that you’re recruiting new members of staff or you want to ask your customers what it is they want. The answers to these questions will help you decide on the type of content each of your platforms requires.

Admittedly, curating content is an issue for a lot of SMEs that are time poor. My best advice is to borrow ideas from other businesses that already have a successful social media campaign and online presence. Check out the likes of Innocent or Coca-Cola, for example, to gain tips about ways to create content for your own social media platforms. If images and graphics are your shortfall, there are plenty of helpful online tools available – and you don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to film and upload video content, just use your phone.

Whatever your activity or message, you must be consistent. There’s no point in posting five days in a row and then disappearing for a month. There are a number of social media management tools available, some which are free. By planning, scheduling and monitoring your activity through the use of social media management tools – you can concentrate on the day-to-day running of your business.

Good luck!

gemma