Everyone is on social media these days, and this creates a fantastic pool of potential for spreading the reach of your brand. The thing is, getting the most out of your business Facebook or Twitter account is not going to happen if you only log in once a month. Saying that, harnessing this powerful resource does not have to be a huge drain on your time or budget. All that is required is a solid social media strategy. So, where do you begin?
1. Create The Kind Of Content That People Really Want To See
Earning and keeping a social media following – ready to receive your marketing efforts – means being a welcome element in everyone’s feeds. Bombarding your followers with hard sell after hard sell is going to turn them off pronto. The way to increase your sales calls for a slightly less aggressive approach! There is nothing wrong with sharing your newest products and promotions, but this should be interspersed with content that focuses on helping or entertaining your audience. You know that your followers are interested in your field of expertise, so offer them a great experience with how-to guides, fun facts, and amusing anecdotes that relate to what you do. Remember that we are visual creatures, so fill your posts with eye-catching images, and videos where possible. Keep the hard sell stuff to no more than 20% and retain the followers you earn.
2. Identify And Target Your Audience
If you think of your audience as “everybody”, then you’re going to miss the mark in a lot of different ways. Explore your demographic down to the detail. Consider that their geographical location will dictate what time of day your posts will be best received. Their ages, professions, interests, and much more, should dictate what kind of voice you adopt, and what content you deem as valuable. Identify your audience, make a competitive analysis of other brands who hold their attention, and curate your offering accordingly.
3. Set SMART Goals
Many businesses go astray on social media by failing to set clear intentions in terms of what they want in return for their efforts. Harnessing the SMART criteria – as valid today as they were when they were coined in the 80s – is a great way to get back on track. An example of a SMART goal might be increasing your Facebook “share”s by 20% in the next three months, or it might be doubling the amount of traffic to your site from twitter by Christmas. What makes these goals SMART, exactly? It is all in the acronym: your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Start measuring your social media choices against these criteria and see you success accelerate!
4. Create A Solid Schedule And Automate Accordingly
If your social media activity has been historically haphazard, consider scheduling a must. There is more to it than dedicated posting however. Planning a schedule in advance will help you ensure that your posts are pleasingly varied and gives you plenty of time to collect and put content together. Once your schedule is taking shape, jump onto one of the many social media automation tools and make the whole operation more efficient. You will be able to pop all your posts for the week into place on Monday, and then sit back as they roll out at just the right time and frequency.
5. Post And Interact As A Human Being
Automation is great, and important, but it doesn’t entirely replace a human touch. Modern consumers want to have the sense that there are real people behind their favourite brands, and that their thoughts and concerns are both seen and valued. Building your social media presence means creating relationships with your audience, so make sure that you respond promptly to contact and mentions. Be sure to @ tag people you reply to and become an online voice that your followers trust and appreciate. They don’t call it social for nothing!
6. Keep Your Voice Consistent
If your social media tone is all over the place, it’s relatability will fly out of the window. Maintaining the same professional tone, in line with your branding and ethos, is vital. Keep this in mind throughout all posts, descriptions, comments, replies, and private messages. Remember that everything you do online is subject to scrutiny! Keep things on point by restricting the number of people who manage your social media accounts and making sure they are all singing on the same hymn page.
7. Pay Attention To What’s Trending
Social media is a sea of trend-waves that ebb and flow quickly. Paying attention to what’s hot and going viral can allow you to piggyback your way to huge exposure! Track trending hashtags on Instagram and Twitter and stay abreast of the latest news pertinent to your industry or audience. When something is going down, get involved in the conversation, and be sure to roll out those @ mentions and hashtags yourself. Be wary, however, that expressing a strong opinion or taking sides can cut your audience in half. Instead, lean towards stimulating friendly discussion from a ever professional and near neutral standpoint.
8. Get Social And Build Connections
Stimulate interaction from your followers, not only by responding when they ask you to, but by posing your own questions. Seek input from those who value your brand, so they can be a part of making it better. After all, they can offer more insight into how you can improve than you can, as they know exactly what they want! If you come across epic user-generated content in relation to your brand, share it. Don’t be afraid to like other businesses in your field and build cross-sector connections. The greater your online network, the more approachable you will seem, and the greater a pool of insight you will be able to draw from.
9. Keep Your Feeds Only A Click Away
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your social media activity invisible. Whenever anyone interacts with your brand – be it on your website, via email, or even on a hard-copy invoice or business card, your social media information should be right there. If online, make sure the option to follow you is only a click away. This means that your audience can connect with you in their preferred way, and you never miss an opportunity to invite them under your marketing wing.
10. Track Your Progress To Hone Your Strategy
Making progress means knowing when we are doing something right and being able to set strategies in place when we’re doing it oh-so-wrong. The only way to do this in social media land is to monitor metrics. On the most basic level, this means paying attention to reach and likes, but there is far more potential to tap! Get serious about your social media, and do it right, by picking one of the many tools out there – from Google Analytics to Sprout Social, to gain real insight into your social media progress score. With decent analytics at your fingertips, you’ll be able to turn time spent on each platform into real sales, and a fast-growing brand. If you have been missing a trick with your social media up to now, now is the time to up your game!