Social media has become an essential tool in the business world because its ability to reach current and potential customers is unparalleled by any other marketing tool. As a small business, the last thing you want is to risk losing customers, so get yourself informed and start using as many social media platforms as possible.
And it’s not just small business that can benefit from having a more prominent social media presence. It can help job seekers and professionals at all stages of their career. Here a few simple tips to help you out.
1. Develop a Strategy
Although social media is designed to connect people and is often approached organically (you meet someone, and then you friend them on Facebook for example), being proactive and having a plan is important when using it for business. It may not seem imperative but if your audience grows you might need to hire someone specifically to deal with social media. Having a clearly defined strategy as to what you want your social media presence to achieve and in what time span, will make turning over responsibilities to a new hire much better. When developing your plan and goals, it’s important that you assess the type of audience you would like your campaign to reach.
2. Define Your Audience
Identifying your audience is crucial because all of the content you create will be targeted to connect you with them. It will affect the entire tone of your profile, the visuals you will employ and even the type of humour use.
3. Create Multiple Accounts
Having multiple social media accounts across different platforms is undoubtedly the most important step when trying to increase your presence. Being able to share across various platforms will help you reach a wider audience with your product or content. It will also allow you to maximise the number of people that follow you and the way they follow you.
4. Use Social Media Management Software
Scalability is critical when developing a social media presence. This is due to the rapidly changing nature of social media. It makes it necessary not only to be scalable but also adaptable. Social Media management software can help you do this. Some of these are free, others are paid and luckily “you get what you pay for” doesn’t apply, most programs are robust and feature rich:
- Hootsuite – allows you to manage Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, Instagram and Wordpress profile. The free version is relatively powerful.
- AgoraPulse – a tool that is the intersection of social media lead marketing and CRM (customer relationship management). It supports Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Sprout Social – not only do you receive the usual suite of scheduling and analytics, Sprout Social also integrates a team collaboration tool which is useful for bigger companies. It is an expensive tool, but the premium versions reports allow you to make an informed decision about your ROI and the optimum time to post.
5. Complete Your Profiles
Completing your profile will help your audience find you and when they do, learn about you and your product. Most social media platforms allow you to display your website and connect it with your other profiles. Doing the opposite can disenfranchise potential customers, especially if the person visiting your profile is looking for specific information. A complete profile will also help people find you easier using a search engine.
6. Create Compelling Content
You can create accounts on every social media platform in the world, but if you don’t offer compelling, interesting, engaging and targeted content, then all your hard work will be for none. Displaying pictures of “behind the scenes”, social events and creating images about ‘the saying of the day’ can help you increase your visibility online. The more shareable and original the images or content is the better because that will help you expand your network. If a person likes your content, they are more likely start following you.
7. Be Selective About What and Where You Share
Look at each social media platform as a different tool. Sure they all sit in the same tool box, but you wouldn’t use a hammer to unscrew a screw would you? Instagram is almost exclusively dedicated to sharing photos and short videos, although you can use hashtags and short descriptions it’s not a platform to share written updates.
You will have to ensure the photos and videos you share are of high-quality and or interesting. Transversely Twitter also allows you to share pictures and videos but is better for sharing text updates (of restrictive character length). Facebook works in a seemingly hybridised way, good for pictures, text and video all in the same post.
8. Don’t Forget to Go Live
Many social media platforms have recently integrated some sort of live feed. Use this to your advantage, to either promote your company, products or to make “soft” announcements of new things. Although this is more effective when you already have a well-established social media presence, it is still an effective tool to bring attention to your accounts.
9. Become a Member or Subscribe to Special Interest Groups
Almost every single industry under the sun has a social media group or hashtag associated with it. Joining these special interest groups will help you become visible within these networks. It is more efficient than trying to cast your net as wide as possible. These groups are composed of professionals in the same market or people interested in the specific industry. Some will even allow you to share content on their pages, just another reason why quality content is important.
10. Remember to Add a Human Touch
Although I mentioned earlier in the article that there are various pieces of software that can automate or at least facilitate scheduling your social media posts, you should always strive to make your presence as human as possible. Commenting on current events and interacting with the people that comment on your posts is a crucial component to increasing your online presence.
Although you might be trying to harness the power of social media marketing, this doesn’t mean you have to do it in a clinical way. Some successful online businesses even ask their audience what they think or for input regarding their products, marketing materials even product names. It is an inherent part of social media; it gives you an opportunity for real-time interaction with the people that follow you.
11. Connect Everything
Making it easy for people to follow you on social networking platforms is a surefire way to build up an audience. Adding buttons or social media badges to your websites will ensure that your accounts are front and centre. If you have the technical know-how or ability, you might even be able to embed parts of your social media accounts on your website. Sharing can also help promote your social media presence, but this requires delicacy you should not oversaturate your network, but you shouldn’t be shy to share either.
As I mentioned above, social media marketing is just a tool to add or bolster other marketing campaigns. Marketing exclusively through social media is inherently restrictive (even though it is extremely affordable in most cases) it isn’t the catch-all solution most people think it is. Have you used social media to promote your brand, company or product? Let us know in the comment section below.