Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Social media marketing refers to the use of social media platforms to gain website traffic and for driving business growth. Facebook has over 2.9 billion users, Twitter has 396.5 million and LinkedIn has 828.1 million, so it’s clear to see that this form of marketing can generate excellent exposure for your products, services and brand to a wider audience. If you’re not online, you’re missing out on the conversations that are taking place amongst your target audience and you won’t be aware of what people are saying about your brand. In order to fully exploit the potential of social media marketing, there are a number of key areas you need to focus on. Here are 10 great social media marketing tips that will help to generate fast results.
1. Accessibility is paramount
Why do we invest time in marketing? For identity, so that people recognise us, so that we stand out on the shelves and so that people engage with our brand. In order for this to happen we must always be available to our clients and customers. This means responding to customer comments in a timely manner, regularly and consistently sharing posts, commenting on those shared by others and sending swift replies to direct messages. Platforms such as Facebook have a way of monitoring how fast you respond to messages and this information is publicly displayed on your page. Timely and consistent communication is the key to building solid client relationships that continue to strengthen over time. The customer needs to feel valued and nurturing relationships online builds trust and confidence in your products and services. There are plenty of useful tools that help us to stay on top of customer comments and activity such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite.
2. Learn to listen
If you want your social media marketing efforts to be successful, you need to listen more than you talk. Marketing collects information that will help shape our business decisions, therefore we must pay attention to what people say and what people need. Listen to what people are saying, what do they want to see?
3. Strive for an active following
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s better to have 1000 active followers who engage with you frequently than 100000 followers who have little interest in your products or services and will most likely never visit your page after clicking the like button. Success can be measured by the intensity of engagement between the page’s administrator and customers. In order to achieve this it is of course important to regularly share information that keeps your followers interested. Ensure that you fully understand your audience’s interests and tailor your content accordingly. Running campaigns directed at your target audience will also boost your active followers. Remember however that you should always have an objective in mind, how many followers/web clicks/likes etc you are aiming for. Finally be aware that gaining active followers is not going to happen overnight and that building a community in our brand takes time and consistent effort.
4. Adapt your approach for each Platform
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, a place to flaunt your skills and talk to consumers if you’re a business. It pays to show your expertise on LinkedIn. You must be conscious of your tone and use professional language. Facebook on the other hand is more casual. Consider however the purpose behind each post. Does it make sense? Always think in terms of audience, who would want to buy your products and services? Pinterest thrives on imagery so of course the quality is important. Consider the objective of your content, does it link back to your website? Ensure that you name a board for relevancy and make the description interesting and unique. Instagram can be used for branding, engagement opportunities and for its in house editing tools. Keep in mind it has a younger demographic so share highly engaging, colourful and exciting content. You can run ads on Instagram, share user stories, videos, product/scenery shots, there are plenty of ways to be creative.
5. Invest in online influencers
Social media marketing involves building relations with other networks for a wider target group. One effective way of doing this is by seeking online influencers. These are people or users with a huge following. Typically, these are celebrities and other popular user accounts related to your products and marketing in general. You can exploit this technique by sharing their posts and asking them to share your posts on their timeline even if it’s at a fee. This helps you reach deeper markets faster.
6. Acknowledgement and reciprocation
By acknowledging other’s efforts to reach out to you, you start building a connection. These connections may start liking, commenting and sharing your posts. You should reciprocate. People won’t be interested in sharing your posts with their circles if you don’t do the same for them. Take time to share and like others’ posts, link to other posts and write comments. By doing this, you build your online presence exponentially. Furthermore ensure you leverage the features available on each platform, hashtags and trends on Twitter for example and be sure to elicit a sharing action.
7. Manage your accounts and reputation
You must take a proactive approach to managing your accounts and reputation online. Post regularly but only if you have a reason to, if comments are positive always respond and ensure that you have legitimate reasons for deleting comments. Consider who in your business has the responsibility for looking after your social media. Will it be managed by multiple users? Bear in mind that every person who has some affiliation with your company represents you. If you don’t manage your reputation you’ll lose leads, customers and business. Be aware that how you’re perceived online can also seriously affect how you’re perceived offline. If you ignore comments you risk people viewing you as lacking in competency and your vulnerability to negative feedback is increased. If a complaint is not resolved it results in a snowball effect, if you respond you don’t allow it to build up. So, treat customers how you want to be treated, think before you post, consider your tone and language, have a good product or service, push for reviews and remember, reputation is queen!
8. Produce quality, relevant content
Take care when creating content, check your spelling and grammar, don’t be offensive or produce inappropriate content, and be innovative. Choose a relevant topic, tailor your content to your target demographic and share 3rd party content to drive engagement. Include media and imagery in your posts as it’s easier to consume. Be wary of awkwardness, irrelevancy and politics and religion as you will always get a divided opinion. If you aren’t already start blogging! It’s a huge growing area and blogs are very good for information. Publish high quality content that Google will love. Again always have a goal in mind, do you want people to click on a link for example? You have to give people a reason to engage and this is really important when designing content, you want it to inspire consumers to take action. Furthermore consider how you optimise your content, including lots of high quality imagery for example. Finally, ask yourself, would I share this? Would I think this is good enough to be on my timeline? Content should inspire a conversion, generate an ROI and capture leads. Remember, content is King!
Social Media marketing won’t be effective unless you implement a well planned strategy that details how you will use this method to grow your presence overtime. You should always have a goal. Map out your objectives, clicks, likes, shares/lead generation etc. Consider what defines success for you then consider what you need to do to achieve this. Strategising gives us a way of achieving our end goals and keeps us focused, it allows us to determine our success.
If you don’t analyse your data you can’t be sure what has and hasn’t been successful. You should be examining everything, your activity, engagement, impressions, profile visits and followers. Tracking helps to ensure we post at times when people will see our content. Make use of the analytics tools available for each platform, Twitter Analytics and Twitonomy, Facebook Insights and Simply Measured for LinkedIn. Analytics is crucial for reputation management as it provides a way of measuring our performance and is the lifeblood of any Social Media campaign. Without the ability to analyse we cannot determine the reason for success or failure and gaining this knowledge helps us improve and make more money! If the data shows us something is working we have confidence it’s worth spending more money on because it’s tried and tested and we should see better growth and an increased return rate. The two basic goals of business are to improve conversions and stop spending money we don’t need to. The knowledge that data gives you will shape your strategy and enable you to make informed decisions.
These key 10 principles govern the concept of Social Media Marketing and following them will impact very positively on your business’ growth. Be patient and accept that achieving results takes hard work. Remember the importance of education, keep learning as there is always room for improvement. In order to improve you must change, test, review, analyse and evaluate. You will achieve the best results if you tailor your content, manage your reputation, engage with your audience and analyse your data. There is only one way to approach your Social Media Marketing strategy, try, test and see what works. If you do things properly and have a very positive approach you will do well.
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