Written by Tom Ewer on 04 November 2013
As we discussed recently, the Internet -- and in particular social media -- has completely changed the way in which people live their lives and connect with other people, organisations, businesses and brands online. As business people, we can no longer afford to dismiss the power of social media and its ability to reach people instantly and on a global scale. In this post I'll be highlighting some of the ways you can give your business a boost by optimising the way in which you use social media.
Which social media networks you use will depend mainly on your target audience, the nature of your business and the intended outcome of your marketing strategy. Everyone knows that when it comes to social media, Facebook and Twitter are the major players, but Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube are also great places to build your company profile and brand. Additionally (and as you may already be aware), Pinterest is especially good for designers and artists due to its image-centred nature.
Making sure you do your research and engaging on the right platforms for your target audience is crucial. Research organisations regularly publish valuable studies that can help you determine which platforms to use to effectively reach your audience. For example, for B2B businesses, LinkedIn has been provento increase traffic to websites, whilst for B2C businesses, Facebook is superior. Facebook’s largest audience is the 25-34 year old category, whilst Pinterest’s typical user is likely to be female and in the 35 and over category. Take time to consider the platforms you are currently utilising and consider experimenting with others, especially if your competitors seem to favour them.
Choosing Your Content
Making sure that you regularly post interesting and relevant information across your social media accounts is important. When you consider that 70% of Facebook news consumers follow links posted by friends and family, it’s vital that you’re posting the right information. You might have an established profile already, but if you are not posting the kind of content they want to comment on and share within their own networks, you’ll find it difficult to attract new followers. When deciding on the types of content to post, I’d recommend focusing on your desired outcomes first.
Your social media objectives may include increasing brand awareness, lead generation, offering service and support, or building a strong base of loyal advocates of your company’s services. Be aware of your aims when updating your status, postings links to other sites and sharing blog posts and articles. Each piece of information you share should reinforce the underlying core message you are relaying.
Engagement is Key
When you're trying to build your brand through social media, trust, authenticity and credibility are of utmost importance. Every customer and client should feel valued, understood and listened to and social media is an extremely effective way of giving your business a human touch. You should regularly engage with your followers and participate in real time conversations so they understand you’re not just some automated bot churning out random updates. Posts with images receive higher levels of engagement, so why not try adding a relevant image to your next post?
The popularity of video posting is also increasing. Incorporating video into your social media marketing strategy can allow you to simplify the delivery of your content as well as showing off your brand’s personality. Creating your social media personality can be challenging. It is essential that your "voice" is kept consistent in terms of tone, information, etc. across all of your social media accounts so that you are seen to be professional and credible by all sections of your target audience. Finally, if you really want to give your profile a boost it may be worth outsourcing your social media needs to an experienced social media content marketer. It could free you up to create new content as well as ensuring that your online presence is consistently and professionally managed.
Time it Right
Huge amounts of research have been carried out in order to determine the optimum times at which you should post your updates and information online. One study revealed that the highest levels of traffic across social media sites was mid-week between 1-3pm, whilst another discovered that engagement levels were 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays. So when should you post? The obvious answer is when your target audience is most likely to be online. Using social media analytical tools such as Facebook Insights will help you determine this information to a fair degree of accuracy.
Social media in all its forms is inescapable and is now an integral part of most people’s lives. For any business, making sure you know your target audience inside out so you can engage with them on the right platform and tailor your content to suit them is vitally important. Social media isn't just a fad or a passing phase -- it is here to stay. As a business you should embrace it, do your best to optimise the way in which you use it and celebrate the fact that your potential customers and clients are now more easily accessible than they have ever been.