Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not a simple matter of posting whatever you feel like or throwing out promotional messages only to sit back and watch the customers flock to you. It’s an incredibly saturated marketplace and you need to stand out to be heard.
Whether you’ve just launched your first business or are looking to expand your marketing efforts, here are a few starting tips for how to tackle the world of social media.
Have a Purpose
While it’s pretty much standard practice for businesses to have some kind of social media presence, if you’re just doing it for the sake of it, then you’re not going to find much return from the time you put in.
Try to pin down the purpose and your goals for your social media presences. You might be using it just for SEO purposes, alongside a blog so that your website ranks higher. Maybe you’re using it for customers to interact or contact you. Or maybe you’re simply looking to advertise your products or services. Once you realise your goals, you have a clearer idea of how to work towards achieving them.
Pick your Platform
With tons of social media platforms cropping up, it seems like you’re always having to play catch up. It can be tempting to cover all bases and have your business represented on all platforms. The problem is, you’ll spread yourself too thin. Unless you have a huge team and are seeing results on all your accounts, then it’s probably not worth having more than two or three.
When choosing the ideal platform you need to think primarily about where your target customers are based. Younger customers will mean that picking a more modern platform is better. Older customers might prefer Facebook, business types, LinkedIn.
It also depends on what your business does. If you’re selling online services, Instagram might be a bit difficult. If you’re selling home décor, then Instagram or Pinterest would be better because of the more visual element to both of these platforms.
Learn to Love Hashtags
Hashtags are often overused but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Make sure you’re not using loads. Three is usually the maximum before our eyes glaze over and write the post off as spam.
Keep an eye on hashtags as they come up so that you can jump on the back of popular topics and news stories. There are also plenty of business hour hashtags for businesses to get together and network.
Look out for seasonal hashtags. You should keep your content and postings relevant to national holidays or annual events that your followers will be talking about anyway. This makes you come across as less corporate and robotic sounding, which is a trap many businesses fall into on social media.
Share the Love
Don’t just rely on everyone else to do the work for you by retweeting or sharing your posts. You need to do the same to others. Find businesses who you have something in common with and share their blog posts, react to what they’re saying on social media and you’ll find they’re more likely to do the same for you in return.
It also mixes your social media up a bit so that you’re not just relying on your own content to prop up your accounts. You should make sure that you’re giving a healthy balance of your own content and other peoples’ as well as sharing news stories relevant to your industry.
Don’t forget to be Social
Sometimes people forget the key part of social media: the social part. Plenty of businesses bombard their (decreasing numbers of) followers with offers and non-stop self-promotion.
No one likes it. Do you follow anyone who’s constantly trying to sell to you? Probably not. So don’t do the same to your potential customers.
Businesses need to interact over social media. Talk about what you’re up to and ask others about how business is for them. Even if it’s just talking to others about the weather, it’s getting you out there, making you look human and approachable. This is where business hour hashtags can come in handy.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any promotion whatsoever or get too casual over social media. You need to experiment to find a happy medium between the two and see what works and drives engagement.
The key to good social media marketing is to think about what your ideal customers want to see. You want to come across as friendly, experts in your industry and interesting to follow. There isn’t one model that fits all. Every business will see success or failure in different ways but following the above tips is a good place to start. A big part of finding your feet on social media will be down to experimenting and measuring what works and what doesn’t.
This piece was written by Kara Copple at The Accountancy Partnership