Social media continues to grow exponentially, garnering millions of new users every day. These modern gathering places provide unique opportunities for businesses who know how to effectively insert their presence into this mix.
There are a number of Social Media Channels available, each with unique benefits and limitations. Some of the most prominent ones currently are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Each is used differently, with some focusing more heavily on visual media than others. For instance, the short tweets of Twitter provide a very different experience than the extremely visual appeal of Pinterest. Features, audience demographics, and opportunities vary, and understanding which platform best suits your business can save you wasted time and effort, while offering you the most benefit. For instance, if you sell unique clothing, Pinterest might be a great opportunity for you to share dynamic images of your products. It may take a little experimenting to find your perfect niche, but considering your audience and the nature of what you offer can go a long way in targeting the right platforms.
By establishing yourself and building an audience on these social media platforms, you can increase your brand awareness, so that more potential customers will know of your business and can recognize your name in the future. When customers recognize your name, this can increase trust and help to develop a lasting relationship.
Your social media presence can also boost your search engine rankings through several factors, such as how active you are. An active presence is a signal to search engines that you are a credible and trustworthy source of information and can give more details about the services that you provide. You can also build up a better experience for your customers by actively interacting with them, listening to what they have to say, and responding directly to concerns and issues.When your customers feel like they’re dealing with a real person who cares about their needs, they will grow to trust your business and your name.
Social Media Offers a Big Opportunity for Growth
Right now there are over 2.2 billion active users using at least one Social Media Channel. Of these users, 1.9 Billion are busy using mobile devices to access their social media accounts on the go. They are on the go looking for somewhere to eat, somewhere to shop, or something to do. Are they finding you?
Before you get starry-eyed over those numbers and start creating accounts on every social channel, think about what you’ll be posting; are you going to be posting links, images, or videos?
It’s important to set goals for your efforts, or you’ll likely end up wasting your time. What are you trying to achieve with Social Media? Are you trying to build up your brand name? Are you educating people about what you offer? Are you trying to direct more people to your website? Social Media marketing can accomplish these things, but it’s important to plan out how you’ll get there and what platforms are going to help you actually succeed.
Then, start thinking about concrete goals on how to get there. This can be as simple as getting to a certain number of Twitter followers or Facebook Likes. This can keep you on track and make sure that your efforts are concentrated toward one area.
How do you develop your social media presence?
Your customers’ impression of you on social media is key to building your audience. A good place to start is building a nice, clean profile. Be sure your profile and cover photos are simple, with minimal text and nice quality.
Make sure your profiles on all platforms are complete, with accurate and consistent information, including your name, address, phone number, website, and email address. Keep your branding as consistent as possible, to present a unified voice across different platforms.
When you begin posting, try to use images as much as possible and include links and hashtags to promote engagement with your customers. Posts with images are twice as likely to be shared by a customer than ones without, plus they’re much more likely to grab your audience’s attention.
Make sure to add Call to Actions, giving your audience a way to respond to your post. For example, ask them to Like, Share, Comment, or ReTweet for Twitter. When your followers engage with your content, it boosts the number of people it reaches and increases the benefit from each post. You can also ask questions within your post, to encourage responses and build up a relationship with your audience. Opening up a dialogue with your customers is engaging and builds trust in your brand.
Another way to grow your audience and reach more people is to follow other companies. For example, follow and engage with your local Chamber of Commerce or businesses from your industry. You can develop meaningful relationship and also gain access to great content that you can share with your followers too. If you share content from others, they’re more likely to share posts from you. Building these kinds of relationships is what social media is all about.
What Will I Post on Social Media?
Of course, building up your audience is best achieved by producing and sharing great, worthwhile content. Although your social media pages are a great place to let your customers know about discounts that you’re offering and your services, you should primarily avoid trying to sell. Your audience is less likely to trust you if they feel that you’re only seeking their attention for your own gain, and you won’t be able to build relationships if you’re not giving your audience something of value. So make graphics, write great blogs, and share content from others that you think your audience will really appreciate.
Don’t be afraid to show the personal side of your business. You can be professional without being robotic. You can build a relationship with your audience by showing that your company is composed of real people by sharing things like behind the scenes pictures, new employee announcements, or info about events you’ll be attending.
Different platforms offers different opportunities to be creative, so don’t feel confined to just link to your latest blog post. Boost interaction with your audience by really interacting with things like polls, fill in the blanks, FAQ’s, contests, and other creative ideas.
If you do have a special discount, or a new product, social media is a great place to share it. Especially if you’re building relationships, your audience cares about your brand, and they’re a great audience to share promotions with.
As a tool for building current relationships, you can also highlight a customer or a company that you work with, but make sure to tag them in the post. They may even share your shout-out, to gain more exposure for your business.
Social Media marketing is a massive channel that continues to grow. There are ways to optimize your business on each channel, with tips and tricks to go along. We’ll be covering details on how to use each specific platform to help your business grow in our future blog posts, so check back with us soon!