In recent years, social media has gone from a new idea to an absolute must for marketers. Of all the new media marketing platforms, social has most thoroughly turned traditional marketing on its head. With older outbound marketing strategies, messages are sent to potential customers, and communication is one way.
On social media, customers and businesses can directly interact. Both parties can ask each other questions, repost each other’s content and work on forming relationships. Getting started with social media marketing can be intimidating, so here are eight tips for effectively promoting your business on social networks.
1. Choose the Right Platforms
There is no shortage of social media sites on which to share your content. The number of sites is growing every day. Sharing your content on the right platforms is crucial to your success.
When determining which channels to use, you should consider your customers and your business. It’s important that you create accounts on the platforms your target audience uses, so they can easily connect with you. Conduct some research to determine what sites your audience probably uses, and then use them too.
You should also consider which sites best fit your products. For a video production company, for example, YouTube is an obvious choice.
2. Create a Calendar
Scrambling to create posts at the last minute can lead to low-quality content. A lack of organization can lead to repeated posts or a lull in your presence on one of your channels. Creating social media content calendars can help avoid those mistakes and lead to more effective posts. Content calendars also help you create goals and strategies for meeting them, and track your progress toward them.
To make a content calendar, use a regular calendar for each social media channel and plan out your posts in advance, complete with hashtags, links, images and other content.
3. Encourage Engagement
Social media should, of course, be social. That doesn’t only apply to those who use the sites for fun. Businesses need to be interactive, too. In order to take advantage of social capability, you need to encourage interaction.
Post content that people want to read, ask questions and like, repost and comment on other users’ posts. Doing research on your audience can help you figure out what they might like.
4. Don’t Over-Promote
One trap that businesses often fall into is treating social media too much like regular advertising. You don’t want to blatantly promote yourself in every post. You need to create content that people will actually enjoy and want to see.
Promoting yourself is okay every once in a while. Some marketers go by the one-in-seven rule, which says that for every one directly promotional post, six others should be content-based. In these other six posts, you could share articles, comment on current events or ask a question. You don’t have to entirely avoid mentioning your brand in these posts; just be careful not to sell too hard.
5. Share Video
Visual content works well on social media. Video content, especially, is ideal for grabbing people’s attention as well as conveying your personality and passion to your customers.
Visual content stands out as people scroll through their social feeds, so they’re more likely to view it and engage with it. It also allows you to say more than you could in a typical post without taking up much room. Create interesting, narrative-driven video in order to get the best reaction.
6. Address Problems Quickly
Hopefully you receive mostly positive feedback on social media. Occasionally you may encounter someone who is upset, argumentative or has something negative to say about your company.
You should carefully monitor mentions of your brand on social channels, so you can catch issues before they escalate. If you spot a problem, engage with the person by publicly apologizing if necessary and offering to solve the problem over a direct message exchange. This way, people who see the post know you were responsive but don’t have to see all the specifics of the issue.
7. Build a Community
Instead of trying to get as many followers as possible, focus on finding customers who are interested, loyal and engaged. These people are more likely to repost your content, like your posts and become customers.
When you build a community around your brand, the people within that community will engage with each other and help to promote your content. You could even try reaching out to exceptionally influential social media users and asking them to help you by reviewing a product or mentioning you in a post.
8. Provide Value
Perhaps the most important thing you can do on social media is provide value to your followers. Create something that your audience will find useful. It could be something that tells them something they didn’t know before, makes them laugh, entertains them or anything else that’s beneficial in some way.
This aspect of social media is what attracts the right customers to your business, makes people want to follow you on social sites and helps content to spread. Master this, and you’ll be a big step closer to a successful social media marketing campaign.
With nearly 3 billion active users, social media is a potential goldmine of new customers and current patrons who could become repeat customers. Create a good social campaign, and you’ll be able to connect with some of those people and grow your customer base.
About the Author
Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. Her ideal morning includes some HTML code and a cup of coffee. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.