One of the top #marketing channels used by small businesses to increase awareness and generate sales is Social Media. Not only can #socialmedia be more affordable than traditional channels, it is also where over *2 billion people worldwide spend their time on a regular basis. This makes it a powerful channel for reaching your target audience. [*Source: We Are Social]
We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it. - Erik Qualman
To master social media marketing and use it to your business’ full advantage, follow these 8 quick tips.
1. Start with a plan.
To succeed at anything you must have a plan. Knowing the rules and best practices for each social network you plan to use is also a must. Your company’s social media plan should outline your specific goals, budget, ideal customer, mission, type of content and the tactics you will use. Break down your plan even further to include a mini plan for each social network, as each network differs in the frequency, type and format of content that works best. Think in terms of giving people a reason to follow you.
2. Don’t make it about hard selling.
Social media is soft selling. While it’s perfectly okay to alert customers about sales, special offers and new stock, having every post be about buying something now is not a winning strategy. It’s better to use social media to peak interest and generate leads.
3. Less is sometimes more.
There's no need to try to be on every social network to start. Not only can it dilute your efforts, it can also be very time consuming. It’s more important to be where your ideal customers are - usually this will be 3 or 4 networks. Master the dominant ones first and then explore others as it makes sense for your business to do so.
4. Lighten up.
It’s okay to have fun with social media even as a business, in fact it humanizes your company. In between your branded and business related posts, add in other types of lighter content that would still be of interest and value to your audience.
5. Don’t just drop a post and run.
The whole point of social media is to interact. Stick around to respond to comments on your posts; comment on, like and share posts from others; look for relevant chats on twitter to be a part of or create your own and invite others to join in; watch and comment on other people’s stories etc.
6. Optimize your social media profiles.
It may seem like a small thing but make sure you include a solid bio, links to your website or landing page, contact info and quality images for your profile and cover photo where applicable. Be sure to also include relevant keywords and popular hashtags in your posts. This makes you more searchable and will give your content more reach so that those not following you can still find your content via social search and even via search engines.
7. Track your progress.
A great way to find out if your social media plan is working or needs adjusting is to track your progress. There are many social media management tools that can help you measure and analyze the results of your efforts. Some of my favorites include Iconosquare (Instagram & Facebook only), SproutSocial (a complete tool that is great for individual and team use), and SocialBakers (AI powered solution that allows you to manage and measure everything from social media to your audiences in one place). You can also use the insight tools provided within the specific social network.
Things to track and analyze include: reach, engagement, follower growth, comments, shares, sentiment (reviews etc), mentions and click-throughs. You can also compare how your efforts stack up against those of your competitors. Track and analyze your progress every week, month and quarter to see what’s working and what needs tweaking.
8. Be consistent.
A good social media plan requires consistency to be effective. If you or your staff can’t fully commit to it, consider hiring a professional to manage your company’s social media marketing.
Like the quote above states, there really is no question as to whether we should do social media marketing. We should however, learn to master it to the benefit of our businesses.