Social Media –The Basics

Social Media –The Basics

Social media marketing is no longer a “should” but a “must”. Now an established and respected marketing stream, it permeates every aspect of your business, whether you like it or not.

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses today. It’s where the customers are. It’s also easy to use and low cost compared to other marketing channels.

Social media is key to developing a stronger relationship with customers and it therefore encourages them to engage with the brand in the future. With that in mind, we have highlighted five key steps needed to establish an ongoing dialogue with your followers and help you stick to your content marketing strategy:

1.) Know what works for each platform

It’s important to understand that not every platform works the same. For instance, a hashtag, which is basically a door into a room full of people discussing a topic, is more successful on Instagram or Twitter than it is on Facebook or LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn, it can be better to act as a resource and answer questions to position yourself as an expert. Commenting in a relevant discussion on LinkedIn is also a great way to engage with your target audience as group participants get four times the number of profile views.

While you do not want to limit yourself to only one social media platform, you will also waste time if you spread yourself too thinly. You should make your presence felt everywhere your customers are active, your interests intersect and where you see long-term returns for your participation in loyalty and in sales.

2.) Know your audience

Remember the beauty of social media is in the personal touch. Social media, like business, is about people. Regular interactions with followers and customers on social media platforms, builds relationships and trust with those who know you and also expands your visibility and reach.

Your audience will see that your business is genuinely interested in its customers’ concerns. That’s a big win for customer service and brand loyalty. Active channels also create a sense of engagement and success in the eyes of your audience. Success breeds success, so stay active.

Cater the storytelling to the individuals who are most likely to interact with it. Do your followers regularly post photos, what times are they online? What content of yours do they engage with most? Asking these questions is an effective means of determining how you should be engaging with a particular audience.

3.) Be relevant

Never post just for the sake of it. Quality matters more than quantity. Cramming your feed with irrelevant or poorly constructed content is not the goal. Businesses are always more successful when the content they post is useful, relevant, interesting and of value.

Make it interesting. People want to read something with personality and they also want you to get straight to the point. Sharing quality content across relevant platforms will get you noticed and help build a loyal following. For the best results, use no more than two relevant hashtags, keep tweets to 100 characters and post several times a day if you can.

And it’s not a lot about content. Using images can attract traffic as visual content is more likely to get shared.

4.) Keep it simple

Conversations on platforms like Twitter are just like the face-to-face encounters you have with customers each day. Social media should always be treated as an extension of your brand identity but you don’t want to over complicate things. Over elaborate posts on social media are not only confusing to your audience, but also often cause apathy with them too, particularly if your audience isn’t already highly engaged.

Similarly, some businesses make the mistake of blowing their own trumpet too often on their social media channels. Avoid sounding pushy and self absorbed. The 80:20 rule is a great way to ensure you aren’t just self promoting. Focus 80% of your content on the audience and their needs and focus 20% of your content on your value and offerings.

5.) Monitor and engage

While it is hard to put monetary value for the relationships you are building, monitoring how many people are reading your posts and what messaging is working most effectively is a great way to ensure your social media strategy is running smoothly. You can then make any necessary tweaks and changes to future posts if need be to encourage better engagement. There are a range of tools out there such as Twitter Analytics, Hootsuite or Klout that can help you see how people are engaging with your posts in real time, download your metrics or even allow you to publish on multiple platforms.