These days it’s certainly impossible to ignore social media, everybody seems to be using it!
But it’s become much more than just ‘social.’ When used correctly as part of a carefully planned digital marketing strategy, it can be one of the most effective ways for building your brand presence online. Here we offer several key social media marketing tips for small- and medium-sized enterprises, enabling you to harness the true power of your social networks in order to engage your target audience and build for your business an effective and truly awesome online presence.
Social Media Marketing Explained
Marketing your brand on social media is all about creating relevant content that will engage your followers, prompting them to interact with it through things like comments, likes, and shares. Through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, you can promote your brand and what it offers, as well as build awareness and a unique online identity for your business.
Sounds easy? There’s actually a lot more to it than you might think, which is why it’s essential to access the right social media marketing tools if you want to make it work effectively for you.
1. Understand the different platforms
Each social network attracts different demographics, and users won’t be attracted to a brand or content that doesn’t seem relevant to them. Before you even get started on social media, one of the most important online profile tips is to understand your target audience so you can identify which social networks they’ll use, and tailor your content accordingly.
While Facebook is by far the most popular social network, attracting users of all ages and social groups, other channels are less diverse. Instagram, for example, appeals to the under 35 audience who like to post or view photos while LinkedIn is mainly used by business professionals.
By choosing the right social networks, you’ll be able to create digital marketing campaigns that target the right audiences; the people you want to market to the most and even potential partners that can take your business to the next level.
2. Offer something for nothing
Social media marketing differs from other forms of digital marketing in that it’s not necessarily directly promotional or sales-driven. Instead, it’s about offering them ‘something for nothing’ in the form of the content that you share. Sharing well-crafted, high-quality, useful content will establish you as an expert in your field, and build trust with your followers, which will encourage long-lasting relationships with current and even potential clients.
The more quality and value you offer in your content, the more your followers will want to share it, which means that all their contacts will become aware of your brand as well and will potentially want to follow your business themselves. This is important because social media has a significant influence on the purchasing decisions of its users. For example, in 2015, 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook in both online and offline purchases they made.
3. Listen and interact
The whole point of social networks is that they’re about socialising. It’s not enough just to post content regularly. You need to engage with your followers in order to gauge their reactions and show them you’re interested in them as people. Read the comments they’ve written and join the discussion yourself by replying. This will make your brand seem approachable, relatable, and friendly. Remember, if your business seems intimidating or has an ‘unfriendly’ virtual persona, less people will want to interact with your brand online, which leads to lesser promotional value and potential.
Many users will ask you direct questions on social media. It’s important to respond promptly. Twitter users, for example, tend to expect a response from a brand within one hour! You should be checking your social profiles several times a day and allocating time to respond to questions and comments.
This has several other benefits for your brand. The more people interact with your content, the more other users will see it, and want to follow you themselves. In addition, the more your content is liked, commented on, or shared, the higher it will rank in search engine results. This is why one of the most basic content marketing tips is to always link your social media marketing tools back to your website to create as many potential leads as possible. Using hashtags is another popular way of starting a discussion around your brand, and these can very quickly attract large amounts of participants.
Interacting with your audience through social networks also gives you a better idea of what you’re doing right or wrong in terms of your brand and its products or services (through online feedback), giving you a heads-up on what to improve on for your business.
4. Track your results
If you’re going to use social media marketing effectively, it’s vital to track your results. Notice which of your posts are receiving the most attention, and tailor the rest of your content accordingly. It’s also worth using an analytics package to identify how users are interacting with your content, and which platforms are creating the most click throughs to your website. This way you can learn more about your target audience and adjust your social media strategy to target them more accurately.
There are several social media analytics tools available online. If you’re dead serious about using social media marketing for your business, using them is a wise choice.
An Australian Social Media Success
One example of a brand that has successfully harnessed social media is Frank Body, an Australian natural beauty brand founded by Jess Hatzis. Having launched the business with less than $10,000 and initially offering just one product, Hatzis built her brand entirely using Facebook and Instagram. By creating honest and often cheeky content, Frank Body has grown to be worth over $20 million, with customers in 149 countries.
To build a successful brand on social media, it’s not enough simply to have a presence on a few social networks. You have to be using them correctly, creating the right content, and aiming it at the right people. Getting it wrong could harm your brand, and in this day and age of digital connectivity and dependence, you really can’t afford to be left behind in the online race.