Articles - 15th May 2020

Feeling Social: how new forms of social media could help your business

Words by Jenna Farmer
Illustration by Jon McCormack

When it comes to running a business, we all know social media is key. Chances are you’ve already got a LinkedIn page and dabble with Facebook and Twitter but with so many voices online, it’s harder than ever to stand out. That’s why, for some freelancers, newer forms of social media could hold the key to success. We look at different ways to grow your social media presence and chat to businesses who are making it work for them.



What is it? The social media network that’s all about sharing quick, witty (and hopefully viral) short-form videos that are usually set to music. The goal is to get your video to trend and show up on the ‘for you’ section of users feed; exposing your business to potentially millions of customers.

Who’s using it? TikTok is full of young people showing off their dance moves but lots of small businesses are paving the way too. Diana Szpotowicz, founder of plastic free online shopping site, The Weekly Shop uses her TikTok (@theweeklyshop) to share her tips for living a plastic free lifestyle. “I’ve had one video go viral and a few have had many thousands of views. The platform doesn’t yet provide analytics that Facebook and Twitter does but I do think I’ve got more website visits when my videos have trended,” she adds.

Expert tip: “Videos on TikTok only last 9-15 seconds so you need to be able to get your message across quickly,” explains Cathy Wassell, who runs a digital marketing agency Socially Contented . But what about going viral? “Posts should be as fun and unique as possible. Original counts for more than high quality and being silly is fine!” Cathy adds.



What is it? You might post to your Instagram but are you making the most of their video tool, IGTV? Admittedly, IGTV has been slower to take off than stories, but that does mean there’s less people competing on it too.

Who’s using it? IGTV works for most types of products but styling videos seem to be particularly popular. Beth Campagna, founder of slogan clothing brand Mama Life London (@mamalifelondon on Instagram) has found these types of videos to be especially lucrative for her clothing line. “I use IGTV and YouTube. Both video forms have massively helped my sales. I sell clothing so video has been really important to help people’s purchasing decisions when they buy from me online” she adds. It’s not just about product either, Rhiannon who runs The Epsom Bakehouse has found growing her audience via IGTV (@theepsombakehouse) and facebook lives has led to her launching an online bread making course. “I share bread making tips and it’s really helped grow my audience,” she adds.

Expert tip: “If you have lots of behind the scenes content, this is a great place for the long form stuff. Use IGTV for virtual tours, Q & As, expert interviews, or tell a story behind your brand. Make sure you take advantage of the swipe up!” advises Cathy Wassell.


Facebook groups

What is it? Forget the Facebook page, Facebook groups is where it’s at. It can take a lot of work to create one and keep it active but, once it’s set up, you have a group of willing and engaging customers right at your fingertips.

Whose using it? Almost every business has the potential for Facebook groups “My Facebook group community is what makes my brand,” explains Lucy Arnold, who runs funky leggings brand Lucy Locket Loves and has a Facebook group community of 24,000 customers. “The group and community has had a major impact on sales and promotion” she adds. Whilst some use Facebook groups to drive sales, others offer it as part of paid services. Catherine Gladwyn runs a paid membership group for virtual assistants and uses her Facebook group as a way to support her members. “I use my Facebook group to communicate with my customers, they raise questions in there. I schedule events via it, do Facebook live training and we share our good and bad days,” she adds.

Expert tip: Those who use Facebook groups for their business agree it’s all about one thing: community. “We feel in marketing right now, community is key and felt people were in need of a community aspect and liked to engage with us on our personal level” adds Lucy. “The community aspect is the biggest thing for my members. Having people around you who understand what you’re going through is a huge support,” adds Catherine.

Whilst we’re not recommending you ditch the more traditional form of social media any time soon, it’s certainly worth exploring these newer innovations to see if they could help grow your online presence and make a real difference to your business.

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