Is your business on Facebook or Twitter? If not, it is time to create your social media presence and learn how to leverage it for your business.
Social media has grown to be an important marketing tool for businesses. In fact, many businesses have successfully used social media to build brand names, generate awareness and recognition, promote products, build following and increase sales.
However, social media marketing is not easy. It can even be confusing, frustrating, and yes, slow to build. For many small and home business entrepreneurs, social media is a very slow process, taking a lot of time, effort and money to organically attract followers and see any results.
Social media also requires hard work and lots of strategizing, particularly since what works for one social networking site does not necessarily translate to the next one. Using Twitter successfully is different from using Pinterest or Youtube. You need to have content assets geared towards each different networking site, which adds more work to small entrepreneurs.
Here are ways you can use social media to grow your business:
Review how well you are using social media.
Look at all the sites where you have a presence. Which ones are bringing you the sales, traffic or strategic connections your business needs? If you are not getting the sales that you need, is it because of your execution or is this particular social media site simply does not work for your type of business? If you are on Twitter, check out what types of tweets are giving you the most clicks, who are the users retweeting your posts, and what types of hashtags worked best for you.
If you’ve got a Facebook page, determine what types of posts give you the most comments and feedback. Facebook Insights can help you learn more about the engagement of your postings.
Define what success in social media means to your business.
It is important to know what you want to get from your social media activities. Is having a high number of Facebook page likes or Twitter followers enough for you? Are you looking for clicks to visit your website – thus resulting in increased traffic? Are you looking for sales? Set the goals you want, while understanding that social media is about engagement, timeliness and relevance.
Create metrics to measure your goals.
Metrics can help you determine whether you are on track to achieving your goals. Some metrics that you can look at include number of retweets, number of likes/shares/comments, organic and paid traffic coming from social media, return on investment (ROI) from social media advertising, among others.
Know what type of content works.
A huge component of social media success is the quality, relevance and usefulness of your content. You need to have something to post in social media, which often means creating the best content that you can produce. It’s not easy for small businesses to produce fresh new content several times a day everyday like big businesses can. If this is the case for you, look at your old content and find a different spin that you can use to make it interesting to your followers and fans.
Social media is also about repurposing content.
You can post a link to your article on Facebook and Twitter, and then create a graphic of that article for Pinterest and a video version for Youtube. When the content is ready for posting in social media, you need to think of the headline, call to action, and image that will be used in order to capture the attention of your followers and fans.
Look at your competitors.
Are your competitors using social media? If so, how successful are they in terms of gaining followers and the responsiveness of these fans to their postings? More importantly, what can you learn from them? Study their postings – what pictures they use, what time they post, how many posts they make in a day, what type of posts they make, how they respond to posts directed at them, among others. You can use tools such as Hootsuite to make researching your competitors easy.
Social media networking should be used consistently. You will not be able to grow your follower base and generate the impact that you want if you post infrequently. Don’t be a pest by posting every 10 minutes; but don’t post once-a-month either. Experiment to determine the right frequency for your posts by looking at your attrition rate and level of engagement to your posts.
Showcase your brand personality.
Social media is about building relationships, and it is about telling others what you are, what you care about, and what your business represents. You want people to know you – and really like what your business is about and what you offer. Your postings and even your cover images in social media should support who you are as a business.
Think how to bring social media interactions to the next level.
Having high number of activities on Facebook or other social media may not necessarily result in increased traffic, leads or sales. You can have a million page likes on Facebook but it may not mean much if they are not giving you the results that you want.
Experiment with ways how you can entice your followers or fans to take the action you want. One way would be to create landing pages for your social media visitors, especially if you are running campaigns including polls to drive traffic and leads. You can include your social media username or profile links in both your online and offline marketing materials, such as brochures and email signature.
Harness community engagement with chats.
Take advantage of the chat functionality of social media networks. Twitter offers Twitter Chat while Google+ has Google Hangouts. Hosting chats and participating in video conferencing through Google Hangouts can help provide fresh content to your social media profile. In addition, you can use it to build awareness of your brand, answer questions your network may have, build deeper connections and even drive traffic to your site.
Constantly test and measure.
It is important that you measure your social media marketing activities. You need to know which social media sites are most effective in achieving your goals, what worked and what didn’t work, and how you can improve.
If your goal is to generate traffic, look at your web analytics software to see how many are coming from social media, how they engage with your site, and whether they return back after their first visit. If your goal is to expand your reach, then look towards amplification measures such as volume, reach and exposure.
Look at what type of content drives conversions for each of the social media platforms you use. Use tools such as split testing and other optimization tests. If your strategies don’t work, adjust your social media strategies or find ways on how to improve them.
Recommended Books on Social Media Marketing:
- 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!
- Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks)
- The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
- The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
- The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand
- Social Media Marketing Tips:: Essential Strategy Advice and Tips for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Much More!