Wondering what people mean when they talk about social media marketing? Most simply it means using social media channels to build awareness about your brand. The basic goals of social media campaigns are to: increase the visibility of your products or services, build your number of followers, to find customers, and drive traffic to your website.
Social media marketing is one of the quickest ways to push out information about a product or service. 77% of Americans have at least one social media profile and the average person spends almost two hours a day on social media platforms. Since that is where they are, that is where your brand needs to be.
If you feel like you are behind the times because you’ve neglected social media channels, you are probably right. But not to worry, you can start now and get things moving quickly. But before you head out and create a dozen mediocre social media accounts that you’ll never be able to keep track of, read through these basic tips to help you start off on the right foot.
It is important to maintain a certain level of uniformity within a platform and across platforms. Consistent voice, quality of content, images, and such will help you establish a brand personality and make your posts more recognizable as belonging to your brand.
· Include your logo on every image
· Choose two or three brand colors to use on every post
· Choose a font (notice “a” not “multiple”) to stick to
· Establish a style or two for your posts that fit your brand (black and white, outdoor, etc.)
Choose the Best Platforms
It is best to start with one or two platforms so you can concentrate on doing those well. Once you are effectively engaging your target audience on those channels, you can always integrate other platforms. As to which are the “best” truly depends on your brand and your target audience. Where are your competitors finding success? Which platforms are your current clients frequenting? Which platforms are being used by influencers in your industry? Those are the platforms you should start with.
Complete Social Media Profiles
You will increase the likelihood of gaining followers when you optimize your social media profiles. This is also an effective way to improve your standing with search engines (SEO – search engine optimization). Use an engaging photo of yourself, especially if what you do requires face to face meeting with clients. Write a complete company description. Include your areas of expertise. It can be helpful, but not necessary, to mention the type of information you’ll be sharing on your account. And definitely, include a link to your website when you can – the “About” section is a great place for that if there isn’t an actual place that designates “website”.
Social Media Buttons
Add social media buttons to your website. These are also referred to as social sharing buttons. The platform that hosts your website should have in the help section easy to follow directions for including these buttons to your site. Most brands include the social buttons in the header or footer. Be sure the icons are clearly visible against the background color and big enough to be recognizable. You can also include social sharing buttons on your blog to make it easy for visitors to share your articles and information with their friends and colleagues.
Leverage the Influence of…Influencers
Every niche has a handful of influencers and they come in a variety of sizes. There are celebrity influencers, or famous people who post about things, industry experts and thought leaders, bloggers, and micro influencers – everyday people who have become really well known for the thoughts and opinions they express on social media.
Micro influencers are the ones who you will most likely be able to connect with. It does take time to build these social relationships. Start by following those influencers popular in your niche and even follow some of their followers. People often reciprocate follows so you can slowly build up your numbers by interacting with others who are involved in aspects of your industry. To keep those followers the key is to make sure you are posting engaging content but we’ll get to that in a bit.
To Follow or Not to Follow
It’s important to maintain a balance between the number of people you are following and the number of followers you have. If you follow 2500 people and only have 10 followers, you are not projecting a value-added proposition to potential followers. You can always reach across different platforms to gain followers by posting messages like, “Check me out on XXX” and mention a social platform different from the one you post the message on.
A word of warning – just because someone starts to follow you doesn’t automatically earn them a follow back from you. Check out their profile and their content. Make sure there is nothing that would negatively impact your target audience if they are looking to your account for suggestions on who else to follow. It’s also important to occasionally interact with the people you follow by liking or commenting on posts. Otherwise, they might stop following you.
Value Added Posts
To create interactive posts, ask a question relevant to your brand or your target audience, use a fill in the blank statement to encourage people to respond, ask people to suggest a caption for an image you post, or offer multiple choice responses to a question or statement.
Find peak times for your target audience and schedule your posts to publish during those times. Follow a regular posting schedule so your followers can expect or even look forward to your Tuesday at 4 pm posts or 5 am “go change the world” encouragement posts.
Share or repost other people’s content if you find value in it or think it might speak to your target audience. Be sure to add your own, original comment to share why you chose to feature that content on your feed.
Images and videos perform extremely well on social media platforms. Be sure they are high-quality and contain accurate information. Keep everything within your branding guidelines and make sure the message of anything you didn’t create is aligned with your brand messaging.
The purpose of hashtags is twofold. They allow you to designate keywords or phrases for social networks to index and then those words or phrases become searchable and discoverable by other social media users. Some platforms, like Twitter, put a cap on the number of hashtags you can add to a post (only 2, 18 characters or fewer perform the best). You can include up to 30 hashtags on Instagram although it has generally been found that nine or ten hashtags work best. Be sure to create original hashtag combinations for each post since some of the platforms’ community guidelines discourage posting of repetitive content.
There are groups on each social media platform that are specific to a niche or interest or industry. Join some! Focus on groups that have members who fit your target audience profile so the potential for future customers within the group is higher. Once you are part of a group, you are allowed to send direct messages (DM) to those people. Individual messages help you come across as offering assistance or being helpful versus making a full-out sales pitch to the group as a whole.
Social media doesn’t have to be painful and there is a whole world of communication and marketing possibilities out there on these platforms! We’ve only scraped the tip of the social media iceberg. If you think you are ready for more, check out these articles:
If you want to jump in with both feet, contact the team at Strategy Driven Marketing today! We’d love to work with you to create strategies for your social media marketing and can help with everything from content to scheduling to analytics. Let’s get started!