If you want your business to flourish and thrive in today’s market, a strong online presence is a must. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn offer so many businesses huge platforms on which to engage with and market to customers like never before. Social media is unique in that it allows you to connect with your customers on a more personal level and engage directly with them. The best element of social media is that, unless you decide to create paid ads, it’s completely free so even the smallest businesses can use it.
More than ever, word-of-mouth has become one of the most powerful marketing tools that businesses can use and, with the speed that news travels in today’s society, it is vital that as a business, you respond and engage accordingly with your customers. There are many household brands that we’re aware of and we all know the good from the bad, thanks to social media and viral content!
Here are just a few of the things you need to know about using social media for your business:
1. Organisation is key
With a huge array of social media platforms available to you, it’s important that you keep your social media content organised. Trying to update and stay in control of a handful of different social media accounts can be very difficult. To stay on top of your social media and content, create a social media and content plan to map out your content for the next few months. You can even draft the posts you want to share across your platforms to save time in the future. It might take you a couple of hours now but think of all the time you’ll save having to log into your accounts every day in order to post content.
When it comes to posting your planned content, why not use a social media tool that allows you to schedule your posts in advance. For example, HootSuite allows you to manage and monitor different social networking platforms in one place. Using these tools means that you can plan as far ahead as you want and stay engaged on social media without having to post content day in and day out. If you have a team of people creating your online content, this tool is ideal as it avoids different people posting the same or different things at the same time.
Always remember that, although you can schedule messages on your channels, you must still check them regularly to respond to current events and any engagement from your customers.
2. Be consistent
If you’re going to have active social media profiles, you need to make sure you post consistently on all of your accounts in order to sustain them. Before setting up your profiles, you should check to make sure they’re the channels your target audience actually use. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three, you might find that you get more engagement on one than the other. So, make sure you don’t neglect any of your social media profiles and update them evenly so you don’t lose out on followers. Who knows, the one you ignore might be the most successful channel! Let your followers know that you’re also on other social media channels to increase your following across the board. Remember that most of your followers will be following a number of other accounts, including those of your competitors so it’s crucial that you post at least once a day. Posting regular content ensures that you’re not forgotten.
3. Engage with followers
When using any social media channel, it’s important not to use it as a direct selling tool. Simply pushing out promotional messages around your product or service will quickly lose you followers. Consumers use social media to engage and communicate with their friends and brands like you.
Always engage with your audience, whether it’s through posting content consistently or directly interacting with them on social media. It gives you a way to interact with consumers on a completely different level, allowing for more personal and trusting relationships to be developed. Using this to your advantages will help you to spread positive word of mouth about your business and gain even more customers.
4.Is your content relevant?
We all know that certain types of content get more attention but you have to question whether that content is right for your brand, followers and the message you want to portray. Yes, posts containing humour might gain more attention but if it’s not relevant to your business, is it really the image you want to portray? Ensure that the content you post is relevant, informative and useful for your target audience. It’s important to create the right brand image.
If you’re posting content on different social media platforms, it’s important that you format the content individually for each one. Twitter has a limited character count so posts should be short and to the point. Facebook posts, on the other hand, tend to be more lengthy and informative so make sure you utilise this. If you can, try not to post exactly the same content to all of your accounts. Even though you may be posting regularly it can make your social media efforts seem boring and lazy and you could end up losing followers. Be as human as you can, it'll make your followers feel like they can relate to you more and form a more personal relationship.
5. Show, Don’t Tell
Recently, visual social media has become a lot more prominent and popular online. People constantly share or like images and videos they feel will be of value or humorous to their friends and followers. According to statistics, photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than an average text post. So, even if you need text in your posts, try to use an image alongside it or turn it into an infographic. Infographics help you to catch you follower’s attention more effectively. Studies have shown that, when people see information, they only tend to retain 10% of that information three days later. However, if the information is paired with an image, 65% of the information is retained three days later. This is because images create an emotional response. So, why tell if you can show?
Monitoring your social media audience is vital if you want to find out which elements are working and which are not. Social media statistics help you to see which posts resonated the most with your audience and can help you to refine your customer personas too. If you’re getting more leads on Twitter and Facebook’s not really working, you know to put most of your energy into Twitter.
7. Know your competition
Knowing what your competitors are up to is useful for any of your marketing activities. If you have a competitor that always seems to get a lot of shares and likes, try and monitor what they're doing so you can improve your own social media efforts. This means you can make more strategic decisions and even begin to overtake their social media influence. You should also use your competitors to learn from their mistakes so you don't end up doing the same. Finding out what didn't sit well with your target audience by analysing what your competitors have done is one of the best ways to gain followers and create a positive image. However, make sure you don’t directly copy them as your customers will see straight through it.
Look at how many followers your competitors have. Although numbers aren't everything, it can give you a better idea of which social media strategies are successful and which aren't. If a company is receiving more than 20 likes on a post, you know they're probably doing something right. Learning more about your competitor's followers gives you a better idea of who you should be marketing towards. Try monitoring how they respond to their consumers- do they respond to only negative comments? Or positive as well? Keep an eye on which day of the week and what time of the day they post, and which of these receives the most responses. In doing this, you can find out what the best time is for posting content.
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