As millions of businesses across the world look to engage with customers throughout the spectrum of social media, we hear quite often it can often be overwhelming for small businesses to make sense of how and where they can promote.
Are you looking to re-engage with your social media presence, and want to make sure you have the fundamentals in place to look at really boosting your social media presence? Today we share with your the five fundamentals we would recommend for any small business when looking to use their social media presence to engage with customers.
Determine Your Goals
The number one problem I have with my clients on social media (besides wanting immediate results..) is clarifying their goals, and how it is social media can help them achieve them. I have a lot of people say “I want more clients.” Yes, don’t we all? But it’s about thinking how can you utilize the platforms to brand yourself appropriately so that when your customers do reach out, you have an online presence to be proud of.
Social media (besides prospecting on LinkedIn, which is an absolutely amazing tool) is about branding and customer service. It’s about showcasing your expertise, promoting your voice in the market place and providing excellent customer service to others throughout the platform. What this does is help you promote yourself as a friendly, approachable business that is willing to help, but also helps with your online branding.
It’s not always about selling your product. That’s what people need to understand. In fact, if you’re constantly selling your products on Facebook, you shouldn’t expect to get much response and engagement from your followers.
There are many goals I can list that you could use social media for:
- Increasing brand awareness (likes of pages)
- Increasing community engagement (comments, likes of posts)
- Increasing content distribution (shares)
- Sales & lead generation (sales online, or driving footfall into stall)
- Providing better customer service (to bring back and retain clients/customers)
Determine The Platform(s)
Another problem is determining which platform you should be on. It may sound obvious, but my clients usually are either: 1) not on enough social platforms or 2) they’re on too many.
There’s plenty of separate platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Google+… where should you be? That’s a great question.
Ideally, everyone should have Facebook. Most need Twitter. EVERY BUSINESS should be on Google+. Instagram is a most likely. LinkedIn is best for Business to Business sales and prospecting, whilst Reddit is very industry specific and can help with some niche markets (it’s a very switched on, techy crowd). Pinterest is US-based, primarily, and consists of women – should you really be there? I don’t know. Snapchat can help with customer service and building relationships with clients, and there’s plenty more social networks I could go on about..
Determining your platform is probably the most important strategy, as it lays with the customer definition and defining your target audience. The amount of clients I am working for that don’t have a clue who they are specifically target is heart-breaking (literally, it tears me in half, as I have no clue how to properly market them). I try to ask the questions, they don’t know. I’m developing some steps to determine target audience, and I am currently in the process of creating a post that looks to determine which social platforms are best for each industry I work within, aswell as the statistics of each platform in terms of demographics and audience type. This will be posted within the next few weeks, and will certainly looking to ascertain which platforms are best (statistically) and help me with my clients conundrums.
Consider The Strategy
What is your strategy to market your service? What will you do to grow each of the brand? Are you going to pay for likes? Will you join groups across the platforms, and share your knowledge? How about just inviting your friends to like your Facebook page?
A social media strategy consists of determining your target audience, doing the relevant research to determine what it is your target audience engage with the most, and putting together a well thought-out strategy to engage and grow your audience across the right platforms. It is not posting the same post over and over again (a competition) every week to try to get shares and likes. It’s not posting a link to your website on Facebook every day to remind people you’re still alive and kicking. It’s about mixing your content strategy with your social media marketing to ensure that you are promoting yourself as an industry leader – that’s what it’s about.
Consider this; what is your strategy to market your company online social media? What will you do this year? It usually goes like this:
- Determine goals
- Determine platforms
- Competitor research
- What content will you produce?
- Best times to post
- How will you analyze the results (key metrics: likes, shares, comments, website visits, conversions)
Create and Engage
Creating relevant content will help you keep your audience engaged, and following you. In fact, over 50% of people said they will unfollow a brand if they are overly promotional, and you have similar results from studies done that ask if they would unfollow a brand for posting irrelevant content.
Your content is going to be the most important thing on this list. What will it be?
- Case studies
- Blog Posts
What will your content showcase? Your team, your products, your knowledge of your industry? You should possibly do all three, and all of the above posts types over time. Not every post will be a blog, nor will every post be an image. Switch it up, see what works best.
Analyse and Tweak
Determining the metrics in which you will analyse your results is possibly the most important step with your social media marketing campaign. Why? Because it allows you to adapt, and reiterate. It also allows you to determine what is working, what your engagement levels are for different pieces of content, when the best time to post is (are some posts getting more engagement at certain times?)
There are plenty of metrics you can use to determine how well you are doing when you are analyzing your social media performance:
- Reach (how many people do you reach?)
- Clicks (how many clicks did your post get?)
- Likes (how many likes did your post get?)
- Shares (what about shares?)
- Engagement (how did people react to your post – did you get any comments?
- Hashtag performance (did you use any hashtags? how did they perform?)
- Sentiment (were people offended, surprised, shocked, inspired by your content?
- Page likes (did you get more page likes after certain posts, at certain times?)
Looking at your information can give you valuable insights into:
- What to post (what topics get most engagement?)
- When to post (the time in which your posts do the best)
- Where to post (where do you get the most reaction, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram?)
- How to post (which format – blog, video, etc)
Consistent analysis and tweaking your material to further increase your engagement is possibly the most effective and efficient process when you are using your social media. Think about it, you have all that data, all that information. USE IT.