Social media is no longer optional for businesses.
If you want to grow your brand, connect with customers and reach new prospects, then it is an essential component of your digital marketing campaign.
There are 50 million businesses who own a Facebook Business page and 94 percent of B2B organisations rely on LinkedIn for marketing and content distribution purposes. Yet only 60 percent of UK businesses are using social media and with 44 million social media users in the UK, they could be missing out on reaching a lot of new customers.
While you should be marketing your business on social media, there needs to be a clear strategy in place to ensure you reach and engage with the right people.
Define Your Social Media Goal
Asking for 1 million Facebook or Instagram followers from the moment you flick the switch is a non-starter.
Start by setting realistic and attainable goals and avoid an over-complicated strategy with too many targets.
Think about what social media means to your company and what’s driving its purpose. What does it need to do for your business?
– Increase web traffic
– Generate new leads
– Increase engagement
– Improve ROI
– Drive higher quality sales
– Create a fanbase
– Become a thought-leader in your industry
It is vital that you understand what your goals are as this will influence what social media channels you use.
Get to Know Your Customers
Approximately 79 percent of adults use Facebook but you need to know who is engaging with your brand on this platform. However, there’s no use spending time on Facebook if your customer’s preferred social media channel is Instagram.
If you’re a retail brand, then you want to go somewhere people plan and get inspiration on what to spend their money on. Pinterest is used by 93 percent of its users to plan or make purchases, with 25 percent of all retail website referral traffic coming from the platform.
Consider what you are offering as a brand, where your customer hangs out online and how to engage with them. Get this right and you will extend your reach and build long-lasting relationships with your audience.
Use Your Resources Wisely
Social media sounds like a fluffy side-kick in the digital marketing but it is demanding and hungry for content.
Align your social media activity with the resources you have available. If you have an Instagram geek on the team then use their expertise to build and implement your strategy.
Consider outsourcing to a specialist should your team use social media, but don’t know how to get the most out of it to accelerate brand growth and to reach customers.
Keep an Eye on Social Media Trends
Before diving head first into one social media channel, consider its longevity. StumbleUpon was once a quick and relatively easy way to drive traffic but from 30th June 2018 it will be no more and be replaced by new platform, Mix.
SnapChat is also falling out of favour with growth down 2 percent quarter to quarter, while Instagram is fast becoming one of social media’s fastest growing platforms.
Recent algorithm changes have made it harder for Facebook Pages to become visible in organic news feeds.
Curate and Share Content
It’s a good idea to start building content that fits in with your brand story. While creating content that portrays your brand message is important, it shouldn’t be all that you share.
Research found that 45 percent of people surveyed said they would unfollow a brand on social media because of too much self-promotion. To get the balance right, share content that is useful, informative and entertaining.
Do this and you will gain the trust of your readers and they will be more willing to accept promotional posts when they do come along.
Create a schedule
It’s easy to put a social media schedule in place but it’s even harder to stick to it.
When you’re dealing with multiple social media channels, it’s easy to fall behind on your schedule and before long, abandon it all together.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools out there to help you stay on track. Some of them are free, others may require a bit of budget depending on how often you need to post. It’s probably a good idea to set up with a scheduling tool to ensure that content is posted regularly.
Best Time to Post on Social Media
Unfortunately there is no perfect answer to this. People browse social media at different times of day though businesses may find that certain days or times will work better for them. It all depends on the platform you are using.
There is plenty of great data out there on best times to post. I’ve bookmarked this article by HubSpot which is pretty informative when it comes to finding the right time to schedule posts.
Engage With Your Audience
Social media is built upon networking. Use it to discuss useful topics, ideas and share content. Be there for your audience when they have a question and build a rapport with them from the get go.
This shows your customers that you care and are accessible. By using analytical social media tools you can find ways to engage and respond to your customers across all channels.
Over to you! Have you got a social media strategy? What are your top social media tips?