If you’re new to social media and looking to grow your business then the below tips are a great starting point. Remember though, like any form of marketing, it can take time to get results and you need to measure what is working and not working so that you can continually improve.
1. Which social networking platform?
Many businesses, when they first start using social media, make the mistake of just focusing on one or two of the major social networks. Facebook and Twitter still stand out as the most popular social networks and indeed can be a great way to generate brand awareness, traffic, engagement, leads and more. But that doesn’t mean that other networks can’t be just as effective, if not more. Facebook in particularly is becoming more about the consumer audience – it’s not as ideal for B2B businesses.
Regardless of whether a brand is B2B or B2C, however, it’s important to consider what type of business you have – or, more importantly, to know who and where your target audience is. While almost every Internet user has a Facebook account, you might be able to find a more targeted audience on other, smaller social networks, such as Pinterest, or Instagram.
The more you know about your customers and target audience, and where they are spending their time engaging online, the easier and quicker it will be for you to reach out and connect with them. Spend time researching how they engage online, what type of content is popular and what attracts the most amount of engagement and shares. How are other similar companies (and your competitors) engaging – do their customers respond or are they simply broadcasting?
While Facebook has the most users, this fact can also work to your disadvantage – after all, the more users and Facebook Pages there are, the more difficult it is to stand out and make yourself heard. For that reason, being active on a smaller and more targeted social network might be easier to reach your customers and prospects.
2. Why are you using social media?
It is imperative to ask yourself this question before you start your social media marketing. This way, you can create a clear strategy, with clear objectives and outcomes in mind. Do you want more traffic, leads, customers, and engagement? Or do you simply want to be able to better connect and listen to your audience? When you know what you want to achieve, your results will be much more successful and will start delivering better ROI.
3. Start creating your social profiles
One thing that you might be tempted to overlook is the importance of a complete profile. When starting a new profile, ensure you complete all of the available fields. Another important aspect to consider is your profile image – make sure it represents your business and is consistent with your branding. Don’t forget to also include links to all of your websites and blog(s), as well as to your other social profiles.
When it comes to social media, one common misconception is that it’s all about numbers – however it is the engagement with your audience that will truly make a difference to your business.
Remember to not just broadcast updates constantly, but to communicate with other users. It’s important to understand that the essence of social media is about building relationships among people, and businesses are no exception.
Use social media to talk to other people, initiate conversations with them, answer their questions, leave comments and likes and share their updates. This will encourage them to do the same in return with you; and in the end, this will help you grow your engagement metrics, your follower numbers, your traffic, your customers and more.
5. Be consistent
Once you start a social media profile, you have to make sure you reserve some time daily to manage it. If you don’t have the time to do this every day, then see if one of your employees can help you or alternatively outsource your social media marketing.
Being consistent on social media is crucial, ensure you don’t leave an account unattended for too long. Inactive accounts will make a very negative impression among your audience. Therefore, before you start, be honest with yourself – will you have the time to manage that social profile regularly?
6. Share valuable content
If you have a blog, don’t forget to share all of your new posts across your social networks. It’s worthwhile to include calls to action to drive them to your website. Also consider asking them for their opinions and try to create conversations as well as debates!
As well as sharing and promoting your own content, you should also spend some time daily to share other valuable third party articles and posts that your target audience would be interested in. You can use various tools to help, such as Scoop.it, Feedly and many others.
7. Scheduling content
Being active on social media all the time can be difficult. You can’t always be awake (especially if you serve an international audience). There are plenty of tools that allow you to schedule updates to many of the most popular social networks. A couple of our favourites are Hootsuite and Buffer. However, make sure you don’t overdo it and alienate your audience by purely scheduling content and not taking the time to engage in “real time” too.
8. Useful tools
Thankfully, there are a plethora of tools that you can use to make your social media marketing more effective and manageable. Our recent 101 Tweet-tastic tools post lists the best tools for engagement, growing your following, measuring, analytics, and much more.
9. Social sharing buttons
A very easy way to gain more followers, likes and comments is to add social sharing buttons to all pages of your website. If you have a blog, make sure to also add them to each of your blog posts. Think about where you position them too, for best results consider adding them to the top and bottom of posts.
If you’re new to social media and want a quick way to build your audience, advertising is worth considering. The best part is that you can spend very little, and still reach a lot of people – perfect for start-ups or cash-strapped businesses.
Facebook Advertising, for example, is very straightforward and easy to use. Depending on what you want to gain – more followers, more attention to a specific update, more clicks to your website – there are various types of ads, such as boosted posts, regular ads, and others. Facebook Ads are easy to set up – you can start your campaign for as little as £5 a day and set up limits so that you never pay more than you can or want to within a specific timeframe.
Twitter also offers their own advertising options, depending on your end goal (more traffic, more followers, etc.). Just like Facebook, it’s straight forward to use, and you can again set up a maximum amount you are willing to pay.
Measuring your social media is critical as we mentioned earlier in this post. There are so many different elements you can measure but to start with it’s useful to look at measuring your traffic, amount of visitors, traffic sources, bounce rates, page views, which are your most popular pieces of content, comments, subscribers etc. On social media you can measure and monitor how many likes, shares, comments, retweets, mentions, messages and so on.
It’s very easy to just gather this data but by taking the time to interpret it and understand the meaning will help you to tweak and improve what you are currently doing. This will then determine how successful your approach has been and how by doing different things you can improve your conversion rates.
Measuring and monitoring needs to be carried out on a regular basis too, this helps you compare weeks/months and continually improve.
Are you new to social media? What are some of issues you are facing? Let us know in your comments!