Social media can be an effective, low-cost way for your business to reach current and prospective customers.
But what you save in marketing dollars is worth investing in time and strategising. So here are nine tips to help fast track your brand's social media presence and achieve results.
1. Start small
Set yourself up for success by starting with a manageable load of just one or two websites. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of posting, for example, comments, updates, images or events - perhaps dedicate about half an hour a day to social media in your calendar. Do this in one or two different slots and aim to post during peak traffic times.
2. Define your customers
Social media is all about connecting with your target audience, so it's important to define who your current and prospective customers are. Outline their character profiles by age, gender, interests and profession, then expand on this by determining key concerns that you can help address. Do this for each profile and decide on the key marketing messages you want to communicate to that audience.
3. Which network?
Each social media site has a primary audience, so find out which one your target market prefers. This ensures your messages are on the most effective platform for engagement and results.
4. What information?
Your aim is to help your audience, so give them a tip they can use or share information that helps them solve a problem. When you post relevant information, your audience will view you as an expert, making them more likely to seek out your products and services. Create an editorial calendar to plan and keep track of your content.
5. Listen and respond
Social listening helps you monitor what people are saying about your business. Respond to comments and mentions on your social media pages and feedback promptly, even if they’re negative.
6. Build your audience
Join social media groups and communities to target specific demographics. Start and participate in conversations by asking questions and commenting on posts made by others. Personalise your business by welcoming new followers and thanking them for sharing your content or by offering a compliment.
7. Track results
Tracking social media performance data is the best way to identify which of your tactics are working and which are not. A few things to watch are growth, engagement and sharing. Most social media networks have tools you can use to measure your results. But if you don't have time to do this, there are many cost-effective dashboards that offer content scheduling and performance analytic services.
8. Stay in front
Social media is constantly evolving, with new platforms and features every week. Regularly re-evaluate your goals and experiment with new types of content on different networks. Every few months, step back and consider the big picture. Make adjustments for anything that is not working and try to recreate the things that are.
9. Positives and pitfalls
Like any marketing strategy, social media should be carefully planned and well executed to avoid undoing all your time and effort. Pitfalls to watch out for include unfinished profiles, too much automated content, over-promotion and inconsistent messages. Mistakes are inevitable in any learning process, but research can help you avoid the ones made by others before you.