Are you a small business owner? Do you use social media as a major part of your marketing strategy? How well do you recognize its importance? What social media marketing procedures are you implementing?
According to a study conducted by Staples, the world’s largest office products company and second largest internet retailer, small business owners comprehend the importance of social media in engaging with customers and improving conversion, but often lack the expertise of incorporating digital marketing resources into their businesses.
In this article, you will read some successful tips on how you can master social media for your business.
Every market has an audience and no matter what your business caters to, there is most likely a community of people hungry for your content or the value your service offers. This is why part of your marketing plan should be to identify who is your main target audience, and integrate yourself into those communities so that you learn their patterns and their needs. Linkedin groups and meetups are a good way to start.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, put together a solid marketing plan for ways to get their attention and drive them to interact with your product or service. As an example, setup 3 micro-goals, such as getting 100 followers on Twitter, 100 likes on Facebook and 100 email subscribers for your newsletter. There are tons of resources online that teach you how to get to those micro-goals. If you feel you are stuck getting there, stop, re-evaluate and change some of your tactics until they work.
Make sure you open up a two-way communication between you and your audience. Talking about how awesome you are all the time will not get you anywhere. Instead engage your fans with things like: motivational quotes, pop quizzes, jokes, trivia questions or funny cats videos. Once your audience interacts with you, organically their friends and followers start to notice you which ultimately should translate into more likes and followers.
If you are running a local business, your online reputation is very important in acquiring new customers. People are relying on recommendation search more than ever and a lot of purchasing behaviors are based on what others are saying about you. Make sure you monitor your online reviews consistently by using review tracking tools. And when the dreadful feedback of doom shows up on your monitor, do not panic! Most review sites let you reply to the original post, so you can address the user and redeem yourself.
One commodity most business owners don’t have is time, and because marketing is time consuming, using social automation tools to simplify the process and guarantee post consistency can help. You can schedule all your social media postings and email campaigns in advance so you do not have to visit them daily, which is the main reason many businesses fail doing their own marketing. However, set up a routine check on your performance so you can reply to comments and questions when posted. You can also use social media pro-actively to entice potential clients to Buy, Order, Sign-up, or Download. Whatever your goal, without conversion, nothing else matters. Compel people to take an action. Convert prospects to clients or customers.
Industry standards vary, but a good rule of thumb is - it is acceptable to use 3 hashtags for Twitter, 7 for Instagram, 2 or 3 for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+. Don’t use them extensively per post as this could confuse your visitors about the brand you are trying to promote. In addition, don’t adopt a hashtag that is too general, but instead try to use a specific hashtag that is relevant to your business. Often people will jump on using a hashtag that is popular the moment (IE: #Oscar2015, #SB49, #mothersday). Too many hashtags in one post makes it difficult to understand what the message is.
A negative comment from a customer or guest could destroy your reputation if this customer tells his/her network about a bad experience with you which could then lead less business. Show your customers that you care and reply to all negative comments in a respectful manner in order to keep them engaged. And offer to make amends if possible.
If you are not checking up on your analytics results then you are blind. How would you keep on with your social media campaign without knowing whether that campaign is giving you the expected results? Your clients or customers are a major resource that help your business sustain, and analytics keep you on track of how folks are reacting with your company or brand. Always monitor your performance on social channels in order to discover where your traffic comes from, where your strengths are and where your weakness are, and adjust accordingly.
While posting daily is important for regularity and to stay in touch with your fans and followers, over-posting could easily position you as a social spammer. You have to know that at the end of the day, people do not live and breath your company or brand the way you do. Unless you are a major player and have an enormous amount of content to release daily, the last thing folks need to see when they open their social profile are 10 newsfeed items from you. Posting once or twice a day per channel is sufficient, and engaging with others more often is recommended.
The amount of followers you have isn’t nearly as important as the quality of your followers. It may seem beneficial to pay for extra followers to help boost your social stock, however, none of the followers you pay for will have any brand loyalty or relationship with your brand or company. Converting pay-for followers is next to impossible. Buying followers is normally done through automated bots, which only use fake accounts, and sometimes is done through a part of an exchange system that takes more time than they are worth, It is much more beneficial to spend the money to gain real followers instead. Invest your money and resources in reaching the right target audience organically and it will pay off in the end. Be authentic.
Always have a marketing plan and use social media automation as part of your execution. Focus on social channels that drive you the most traffic. Use analytics to track the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaign, and treat your online reputation carefully. It is important to not overwhelm your audience with too many posts that makes you seem like a spammer as well. Also, always engage in two-way communication with your audience and don’t buy fake fans, they bring zero ROI. Overall, listen to your audience and be authentic.
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