There is no denying that social media is big…and you can’t try and hide from it because it’s only getting bigger. So as the old saying goes – if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!
Lets look at some tips on how to improve your social media marketing so that you can grab the attention of your potential social media customers. There’s a plethora of social media platforms out there – the most well known of them being Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.
Here is a range of tips to keep in mind when planning your social media activity:
Right message, right platform
Only post content to the channel that is most appropriate for what you are trying to convey. As a general rule, LinkedIn tends to be a more business-focused audience who are looking for content that is more business like or educational. Whereas a platform like Instagram tends to have an audience profile of those who are looking for interesting and often fun, visual content. And it goes without saying, you wouldn’t promote an accounting firm on Pinterest! Target your message to the right platform.
Establish your authority
This is an important, yet sometimes overlooked area. Providing interesting information as an authority in your field is an effective marketing tool. It builds kudos and trust and people will recognise you as being a knowledgeable expert in your field. The profile of the sort of people reading your post will already be interested in that subject, and could potentially be converted into clients (or even investors!) for your business.
Keep it light
In some, but not all industries, an entertaining post is also a great social media tool. Obviously you know your industry best, so can gauge whether this technique is suitable. By ‘entertaining post’ we are referring to a humorous or inspirational image, quote or even a short video clip. Whilst it may not establish you as an authority, it does however bring some personality to your brand. It shows you have a human face. If it’s a particularly entertaining post, chances are it will have a high rate of sharing and interaction and therefore build and broaden your audience.
Actively seek content
Good social media marketers are constantly on the look out for interesting, relevant information in their chosen field, which is worthy enough to share. Not only does this provide you with fresh content, it also positions you as someone who has “the finger on the pulse” of his or her industry.
Pay for it
Don’t just rely on organic traffic. Whilst this is often a good base, it still makes sense to consider investing in some paid advertising as well. All the major platforms including Facebook and Twitter, offer opportunities for paid advertising. It is an invaluable way to expand your outreach – providing an opportunity to touch an audience you would not normally be exposed to.
Images make everything better! Many people respond well to an image (or infographic) of a concept as opposed to a long drawn out narrative. Infographics have the ability to visually explain information clearly and concisely. If you have a concept or idea you want to share – consider its ability to work as an infographic. However, not all information sits well within an infographic, so another visual medium it pays to consider is video clips. When designed professionally, both infographics and videos can prove to be a versatile, linkworthy and controllable (in terms of content) way to engage with your customers and get your message across.
Everybody loves a freebie! Use your social media platforms to promote giveaways, special offers, product trials etc. Your followers will feel loved and your brand audience will widen as a result.
Never stop learning
Technology is constantly evolving. With new and exciting ways to market online and engage with your audience being introduced all the time, if you don’t stay on the ball technology-wise, you can quickly head into unfamiliar marketing terrain. Keep up to speed by attending informative conferences and summits that can explain to you, the current trends in technology to ensure you stay marketing savvy across all mediums.
Engage with your users
Users are always more likely to follow pages if they see that the company operating it actually interacts with their users. If comments or feedback come up that are positive – respond and thank them! If comments or feedback are posted that are negative, it’s almost more important that these are also addressed. Bad reviews left unanswered can result in a lot of damage to your brand. Similarly, don’t ever delete negative feedback. Engage with your critic in a public discussion, being sure to maintain professional tone…and apologise if the situation requires. If there are common criticisms or feedback, provide your social media respondent with a list of these scenarios and their appropriate responses, so that problems are handled in a consistent way.
Listen to your customers
Hot on the heels of engaging with your customers, is listening to what they want. If positive feedback comes through, let your staff know what they’ve done well. Likewise if there are commonly asked questions that keep coming up, perhaps include an FAQ section that addresses these questions proactively thus alleviating the need for your customer to chase you for an answer.
Check out your competition
It makes sense to check out what your competition is up to. How often are they posting on each platform? What are they saying? Learn from their mistakes and also from their successes. Use your learnings as a guideline to assist you with putting together your own timetable of posting activity. The trick is to be active online, but not become annoying by posting too frequently.
Get your staff on board
If possible maintain one voice for each platform (or the same voice for each platform) so that your tone and message is consistent and on brand. Chopping and changing who responds to posts often results in a confused brand identity being portrayed as various staff personalities will inevitably spill into their correspondence. Spend time creating a ‘human face’ to your brand. Respond using engaging or fun language (if appropriate) that brings your brand voice and personality to life.
Monitor your progress
Once a month set aside some time to analyse the statistics from each medium. There are many software options that can easily assist with this process eg Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Track and analyse key indicators such as: audience numbers, product and page views, likes or shares, growth/decline in followers, number of posts, how your advertising spend results in additional traffic being driven to your pages. Review these statistics and adjust goals and strategy appropriately.
Trying new strategies and activities in your social media forums can be fun and interesting for both you and your followers. It’s important to review your social media marketing goals, recognise successes (and failures) and adjust your planning as needed. Stay alert to what’s going on around you, and above all have some fun!