The world of social media can sometimes feel overwhelming for new businesses. But because those platforms are one of the best ways to connect with your target audience, it’s important to establish a presence on the social media channels your potential clients frequent. Start small to build awareness and drive sales and know that getting started is the toughest step. After a while, maintaining your social profiles will become second nature and you’ll automatically begin to think about integrating the happenings in your business into your social posts.
1. Have a Plan
It is tempting to set up a bunch of social profiles and just start posting things. Stop, breathe, and create a plan:
Set goals and objectives for your social media efforts. Understand what you are trying to achieve with your social posts. Be specific. Determine what social media success looks like. Your goals should be measurable, attainable, and be based on metrics that will have a positive impact on your business. As with all of your efforts, your social media goals should help you to achieve your brand’s overall objectives and be integrated into your larger plans.
Investigate your competition’s presence on social media. Learn from what others in your field have done and are doing. Don’t copy your competitors’ posts but use them for insights and inspiration regarding what you should or shouldn’t try.
Create and stick to a social media calendar so there is a regularity in your postings and a sensical flow to your content. Social media posts that are not, specifically, paid ads should be about your consumers, their needs, and wants. Your posts should alternate between informing followers of brand news, educating them on relevant topics, and, simply, entertaining your target audience.
Determine which platforms make the most sense. Where are your current clients active? Where are your competitors active? Demographic information is available for the big social networks – use it to inform your brand’s efforts. You might decide to use different social channels for different segments of your target audience. You might also find that different platforms will help you meet different business goals. The key is to choose 2-3 platforms relevant to your audience and do those well.
2. Know Your Audience
Your social media content should be created with a specific audience in mind. Develop a solid understanding of who is interacting with you online and who is purchasing your products or services. Why are people motivated to seek out your brand? How does your product or service help them or solve a problem for them? Use the available demographic data to understand your ideal customers’ income level, where they live, what excites them, what frustrates them, what their interests are. An audience-centric approach will help you create content that will resonate with your current and potential clients and will encourage them to interact with your brand.
3. Build Relationships
Invest time to engage with your followers. Like, comment, and reply to tagged photos, comments, and messages. Be thoughtful with your responses and post them in a timely manner. Share content posted by your followers and ask questions about things.
Post polls to invite people to provide feedback. Respond to negative feedback in a way that shows you are value your customers and are open to what they have to say. Reviews and comments are a tremendous source of social proof that authenticate your business. How you respond to clients demonstrates your commitment to excellent customer service.
Use your social media accounts as a way to let your target audience get to know your brand’s personality. Have fun with your posts. Show the people behind the brand to help build trust and establish positive customer relationships.
4. Reach Out to New Audiences
Social networks provide opportunities to reach out to audiences beyond your original market niche. Use targeting options to reach potential customers interested in fields relevant to your own. If you sell custom harnesses and leashes, target consumers who interact with other aspects of the pet industry. You can also drive local customers to your brick and mortar location through geo-targeting.
See the SDM article about Facebook Ads for more information.
5. Visuals Top Text
Multiple studies have found that social media posts with images or video content outperform posts that are text only. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are visual networks. Your content has to grab the eye of people scrolling through their feeds. The “at-a-glance” response needs to motivate them to stop and see what you have to share. Even if you are not in the business of selling flashy products, you can still use images to showcase your brand’s culture. Original, professional quality content is best but stock photos are better than nothing to enhance the text of your social media posts. (Be sure to follow all copyright laws!)
6. Prioritize – Quality, then Quantity
Creating and posting quality content that connects with your target audience is more important than posting fifty times daily on every social platform available. Your social content needs to offer as much value as the content on your website and print materials. There is always time for a sales pitch but that sort of content won’t do much to motivate people to follow and interact with your brand. Social media is about building relationships so be authentic and offer high-quality content that resonates with your current and potential clients.
7. Utilize Technology to Automate and Simplify
There are a number of tools available that can boost your productivity and help you make the most of your social media marketing efforts without having to invest in a full-scale social media team. There are tools for analytics, both as part of social platforms and as an extra piece of software, that let you create in-depth reports which help you understand the performance of your social posts.
Management tools like Hootsuite let you centralize all of your company’s messages and mentions into one dashboard. This lets you interact with followers on all of your social accounts without having to log into each different platform. These management tools also allow you schedule content to automatically post according to your social content calendar. This lets you dedicate large chunks of time to creating and setting social content instead of trying to carve out time each and every day.
If graphic design is not your forte, you can utilize tools like Piktochart and Canva that let you create amazingly eye-catching graphics. Coming up with new content day after day can be difficult for even the most social media savvy entrepreneurs. There are tools, like BuzzSumo and Pocket that will assist with content curation. (Of course, there are also agencies like Strategy Driven Marketing that would love to help with your content as well!)
8. Did We Mention Analytics?
If your business is like others, you keep track of the performance of…everything, right? The same holds true for your social media content, especially any paid ads. We mentioned analytics tools. Use those to understand how consumers are responding to your social media efforts. Track the metrics that matter most to your brand and use the analysis of those data to inform future marketing and social media campaigns. Continue to use the type of content that your target audience is responding to and tweak or completely change the content that takes a big flop.
See the SDM article on social media analytics for more information.
Regardless of your industry, business size, or how long you’ve been around, social media can help take your company to the next level. It can increase awareness of your brand by reaching new, potential customers, it can help you better connect with your current customers, and lets you build relationships with all of them. Start with a small, focused approach and then build your social media efforts over time.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have worked with businesses of all sizes and across many industries. We’d love the opportunity to learn more about your business and your organizational goals so we can create a social media marketing plan tailored specifically to your needs. We can help with everything from content curation to graphic design and more. Contact us today to get started!