The idea of participating in social media can be daunting – there are so many channels, and so many opportunities to connect. But you shouldn’t allow this to deter you from getting involved. Ready to get started? Follow these social media marketing tips and learn how to put your best foot forward.
1. Start Small – Managing social media can be a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. Businesses that want to succeed in social media should start small, and only participate in as many channels as they have time to manage.
2. Know Your Audience – There is nothing more important than knowing who you’re marketing to, and what they need from you. This will determine which social media channels to participate on, and the form your content will take (blogs, videos, Vines, Infographics, etc.)
3. Know Where Your Audience “Lives” Online – Sure, Twitter and Instagram are popular – among certain demographics. But, before you invest time and resources into a channel, you should consider whether or not your audience is there. For more on this, check out this chart from Business Insider that breaks down social media usage by channel and income bracket.
4. Provide Value – There are huge opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes to provide real value to their audience in the form of content – social and otherwise. You just have to decide what you can offer your audience – and do it better than your competitors.
5. Be Authentic – Your brand identity should be closely aligned with who you are as a business – and what you offer your customers. Whatever this is, it’s important that you, or whomever is posting on your behalf, interacts authentically. This means, sounding – and being – human.
6. Engage – If you’re using social media simply to broadcast updates, you’re only half way there. Social media is a communication tool. So, communicate!
7. Automate – This may sound like a contradiction to the directives to “be human” and “engage” but it’s not. Busy marketers should automate their social participation whenever they can. This will help with consistency, and will free up your time to participate more meaningfully. Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule planned posts, and work it into your schedule to check in on your pages daily.
8. Promote – This is not a directive to promote yourself or your services on social media. Instead, you should be promoting your channels. Put links to your social channels on all of you branded content. And, when something worthwhile is happening on another channel (an interesting conversation on your Facebook page, for example) promote it on your other channels, asking users to weigh-in.
9. Track – You should be tracking your social channels using web analytics, and channel-specific tracking data, when available.
10. Be Consistent – In social media, consistency is key. This means consistency in messaging, in participation and in customer service. Don’t allow your channels to go dark because the person who handles them goes on vacation, and always respond to customer feedback in a timely manner.