Social media plays a big part in our every day lives. But how should we be using it for business? What methods can we use to reach more people and increase engagement? Follow these 5 steps to improve your social media strategy.
Understanding your audience is the first thing to do before setting up your social platforms. Find out where they are the most active and what it is that interests them the most. Effective social marketing focuses on the community. Your audience needs to dictate your decisions; there is no point in investing your time in a social platform if you are posting in the wrong place and the audience isn’t there to hear what you are saying.
Once you know where they are, how they communicate and what they respond to, you can start asking yourself why they should listen to you and love your brand. This ultimately leads to testing and experimenting with posts, tone of voice and image to find out what kind of creative they respond to the most.
There are great tools within the platforms, Facebook have a pixel that you can install on your website to deliver insights. Following the user’s behaviour, registering the products they looks at and if they complete goals or not can transform your social marketing. Installing a Facebook pixel at an early stage will mean you are able to capture your audience from the very start, this is a great way to build custom audiences within Facebook and tie their activities on your website to any paid social efforts eg. remarketing and dynamic product adverts - tempting them with products you know they already love.
There are many social media platforms out there, the big ones; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin are just a few.
Others, like Snapchat and Musical.ly that appeal to a younger audience. Starting a business probably means you are juggling a million tasks while getting your head around the ins and outs of business management - the last thing you need to be doing is building a social profile on every single platform so selection is key.
Do some research and find out where your audience is most likely to exist on social.
It is also a good idea to consider how your brand will appear on these platforms. For example, a more visual brand would be better suited to Instagram and a more factual, discussion based brand may be more at home on a micro-blogging platform such as Twitter. Though Linkedin has become more relaxed and chatty recently, it is still the more professional platform, rather than Facebook which is mostly for friends and family. It is important to consider the purpose of these platforms and try not to high jack them - well not obviously anyway. Though Facebook supports businesses and has recently started improving the business pages and upgrading product features, the algorithm continues to favour family and friend posts meaning that any commercial exposure is either the result of fantastic content or paid promotion.
The look and feel of your social media account can help or hinder the pace of your business success on social media. A beautiful cover photo, simple profile image and relevant description will all make your brand easier to understand at a glance - an accurate amount of time for anyone on social media.
If you are working with more than one platform make sure that they are all styled in the same way and easy to link together, perfect way to strengthen your brand identity online.
Authenticating pages and getting that famous little blue tick is becoming easier and doing this will boost your company in search results and increase trust with new audiences. On Facebook it is relatively simple, you need a phone number published on your website and linked to your Facebook page. Facebook will simply call with an authentication code for you to enter on your page, it’s as simple as that. Twitter is a little more complicated, you can apply for authentication by filling in a short form, you need to have an obvious reason to be “official” eg. many followers or lots of activity. You may be denied but you can apply again - it is worth having.
With the right targeting, creative and message, paid social can be a very cheap way to run a paid media campaign.
Paid social is a great way to increase the reach of your marketing offers and campaigns while you are building your audience on social.
Wondering where to start on paid social? Promoting posts on Instagram is a simple three click process and worth experimenting with early on. You can also boost posts on Facebook in the same way, straight from the post on your business page. If you have a bigger budget to spend on social advertising, Facebook have a Business Manager tool, ideal for some more advanced advert targeting.
Audience targeting, ad testing and optimisation on paid social can be a bit of a social art, you may need some help from an experienced social marketing professional so don’t be afraid to ask.
What would you like to pay for? Engagement.
Either getting your post in front of people or getting them to complete a task eg. an offer, clicking through to a website or filling in a form. Gone are the days of building a social following by paying for followers on Facebook, why? Because chances are, if they have found your post engaging then they will follow you anyway. Having a high number of followers on social is not any use if they aren’t engaging with your posts.
Setting targets and analysing the results of either organic or paid social media activity is essential.
Challenge yourself, tweak your visuals, try new posting techniques and observe the response. If questions perform well, particular filters are popular or posting at a certain time of the day gets a bigger response then take note and try it again.
Basic Instagram and Facebook advertising offers simple reach, engagement and audience insights in the reporting. Facebook Business Manager delivers a wider range of metrics for even more in depth analytics - allowing you better visibility on the performance of your campaigns and audience insights.
Don’t get too attached, social media changes fast, from new layouts to new platforms.
Some you love, like Vine, may disappear. Some platforms may be inspired by each others formats eg. instagram stories from Snapchat, other platforms my pop up from nowhere with a strong audience and the opportunity for you to be an early adopter.
The social media environment is a disruptive one, there are changes and updates around every corner. Keep your ear to the ground and have an open mind, there is always going to be something in the pipeline that will be perfect for your brand or challenge your content - you may need to add a little creativity to find out how.
Staying fresh and current on social media is essential, connect with your audience and figure out what they like and respond to.
The platforms and the content on them move quickly, don’t be scared to experiment and try new ideas and features.
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