Using Social media as an individual is a very different experience than using social media for business.
Your personal social media stream is a reflection of your personality and a variety of interests. It’s much less structured, less curated, and more free and open.
Using social media for your company is a different experience, one that often intimidates many savvy business owners.
When you know how to properly use social media for your business, it can lead to increased leads, better conversion, and ultimately better sales.
Here are some of our top tips for using social media for your business:
When you identify where your customers and prospects connect online, you’ll have more clarity when choosing where to apply your social media resources.
By focusing energy on the platforms where your customers are, you’ll maximize your exposure. Just be careful not to let your own attitude towards a social media channel influence the facts.
For example, if you don’t like Twitter, but it turns out there are active users who fit your target audience on that platform – you’re missing out if you choose to avoid Twitter just because you don’t like the platform.
Social media posts are a moment in time so it’s important to know when your audience is paying attention. Posting all your Tweets or Facebook posts at midnight because it’s when you have free time is obviously not going to help. As a business, it’s important to post at the appropriate time when your audience is active.
How are you supposed to know when that is?
Research and testing all play a part in finding the best times to post. This means when starting, take your best guess – Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm for example. Post your content during that time, then look at the analytics. Try a different set of times, for example, 7 days a week 3 pm to 10 pm – check the analytics. See what times are best for your audience. Posting at ideal times for your audience will ensure the biggest reach and opportunity for exposure.
With social media, there is a happy medium to posting. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with promotional posts, but they also don’t want to wonder if you’re still in business.
Research and time will tell exactly what your audience is looking for. Entrepreneur Magazine also recommends never assuming what the audience wants to see while adapting this test and learn the method.
We suggest starting with 80% third-party content and 20% of your content and adjusting from there.
Posting promotional items is vital for monetizing your social media channels, however, your audience will quickly get bored if all your posts are trying to sell something.
A great way to break up the sales pitches on your social media is with third-party content. This could include relevant blog posts, infographics, upcoming events, and other noteworthy content that relates to your industry. Posting these articles and blogs gives you credibility, and provides interesting and shareable content for your audience to enjoy and learn from.
Think of it similar to being in a conversation. You’d soon tire of the person if all they did was talk about themselves and continually pressure you to buy what they were selling.
However, if the conversation included fun facts, interesting point and new ideas on a topic you were interested in learning more about, it would feel valuable to you and you’d want to have a conversation with this person again. This is an analogy we promote when thinking about what kinds of information to post and how often to get promotional.
The HootSuite blog recommends experimenting with targeted ads to notice real-time results. These paid ads are relatively inexpensive but offer a significant increase in visibility that you can see in real-time. Most ads report back letting you know how many users saw the ad and what the conversion was. With targeted ads, you can control who sees the ad, filtering by age, gender, job, interests, and more. Yes, you will have to spend some money to run ads.
Customers are looking for a face behind the corporation. Some of the most interesting brands and companies on social media are the ones who create unique and creative posts designed to engage users, make people laugh, or simply get people talking. In the past, businesses like Pampers, Dove, Netflix, and even Charmin have found success embracing unique social media marketing strategies with positive results.
If you are a local company, you could showcase your staff each week on social media. For example, a local restaurant here in Toronto, Eggspectation on the Esplanade features a staff member (from the owner to the head chef, to the wait staff) each Thursday on their Facebook page. It’s helped the staff feel good about being part of the restaurant and shows the customers some of the team running the show.
That is right, part of your strategy. The key point being that you need a sound marketing strategy first, then you choose which channels and tactics best fit to execute your strategy. Maintaining active social media accounts is an important factor in modern business. Don’t ignore it!
Jen Kelly is a marketing consultant in Toronto and CEO of New Initiatives Marketing Inc. (NIM) serving growing businesses in Canada and the USA. NIM is the team to call for marketing execution excellence. Contact us today for a conversation about your company’s social media as part of your total marketing program. While at it, sign up for the 30-day free trial and get lovely inspirational business quotes posted to your Twitter by NimbleQuotes.