How do I get started on social media? This is a question that I continue to get when I speak on the impact of social media on a business' marketing efforts. First, let's discuss why your company would want to be active on social media.
Reasons Why Businesses Use Social Media Marketing
Here's a great explainer video on 7 ways that your social media marketing can drive business results.
How To Get Started With Social Media
- Choose Your Social Networks – Look for unique industry groups and customers amongst each social media platform. I'm not a fan of simply selecting one and ignoring another. I believe you can participate across all platforms – but focus and target where opportunities begin to rise. It's not all about the demographics per the infographic.
- Fill Out Your Profiles – When I see a generic profile photo, a missing background, or an incomplete profile, I'm always hesitant at following or engaging with the company or person on social media. Take your time setting up and providing a unique, but clear profile that communicates your purpose for being there.
- Find Your Voice and Tone – Brand consistency is important online, so make sure that you establish a consistent tone when sharing and responding on social media. Keep in mind that it's a busy, loud world out there, don't be boring!
- Incorporate Visuals – Images and videos impact the engagement and sharing of your social media updates significantly. Take photos, incorporate video, plan some real-time video segments, and share some video shorts in online stories to make the most of each platform you wish to engage in.
- Pick Your Posting Strategy – Recent, frequent, and relevant are the three terms we've pushed for the last decade with our clients and will continue to push for the next decade. Providing value to your followers is imperative! I'm not a fan of any ratios for sharing, share when it's of value to your audience or community.
- Develop a Cadence – Your fans and followers will come to expect recent and frequent updates from you. Social media is often a game of momentum as your content is shared and appreciated. Don't be discouraged at first with a small following and small shares… just keep working at it and don't give up! If you stop – for any reason – you'll often find a significant drop that you have to overcome again.
- Plan Your Social Calendar – Is there seasonality to your business? Are there relevant statistics that you could backload and schedule into your social media profiles? Can you pick a topic that you can talk about each month or even each week online? Planning your social calendar is a great way of growing your social media authority, and it allows you to tease the future and remind folks of the past so they stick with you.
- Don't forget a Call to Action – The law of always be selling doesn't work with Social Media… but always be informing does! Your goal should be to inform and provide value to your network. Every once in a while, remind them what they can do next to engage with you and your products and services. Incorporate a Call-To-Action in your social profile, it's a great passive means of driving more business.
If I were teaching a Social Media Marketing 101 class, I would add a few key strategies that are missing from this infographic:
- Reputation Monitoring – Utilizing a great social media monitoring tool, you should be listening for any mentions of your products, services or people. Real-time alerts and quick responses and resolutions are imperative.
- Social Intelligence – Communications on social media provide a wealth of information that your company should be paying attention to. Prospect questions, customer feedback, and trending information can provide valuable insights for your business to act on.
- Customer Service – Now, more than ever, consumers and businesses alike are expecting corporations to respond to their customer service requests via social channels. Since social media is a public forum, it's an incredible opportunity for businesses to showcase their ability to bring a resolution to customer service issues where others will view it as an asset.
- Set Goals and Monitor Performance – Activities like follows, engagement, sentiment, and sharing are leading indicators that whose trend should be monitored. Social media can drive awareness and awareness can drive authority and trust. Authority and trust can influence search engine ranking. And, of course, all of this can drive business results like retention, acquisition and increased customer value.
This infographic from Venngage walks a business through setting up and developing their strategy for marketing via social media. And there are some good tips in here for the established marketer as well!