Although social media is a relatively new phenomenon, it is already a must-have when it comes to any business’s marketing efforts.
Jumping on to the social media bandwagon can be a daunting task for small business owners who may have very little knowledge of the subject or very little time on their hands – but fear not! We have created this quick social media guide to get you started on your very own social media journey.
1. Plan your social media strategy
As with any marketing campaign, it is essential to create a plan and stick to it in order to be successful. That is where a social media strategy will come into play.
Your strategy should outline how your business is going to integrate social media into its marketing strategy, who is going to be responsible for the day-to-day management of the profiles, what are the brand guidelines, and how you are going to review the process.
Top tip: Be sure to set yourself realistic and actionable goals, and locate all of the tools that you will need in order to make your strategy successful beforehand!
2. Choose the correct social media platform for you
Each platform comes with its own set of users, and each set of users like to receive their information in a different way. So it is important that you choose the social platforms that will be most relevant to you.
Top tip: Ensure that the social platforms that you choose work for your business and that they are the best way to reach your target audience.
3. Find your customers
An integral part of any sales process is taking the time to get to know your potential clients and establishing relationships with them to begin the sales process. Luckily social media allows you to do just that.
Platforms like Twitter – which currently has around 302 million active monthly users – are made up of countless communities that can be found through the use of hashtags and keywords. If you spend a little time searching for them, the communities into which your business would fall into should be easy to find.
Top tip: Conduct research to find out where your customers congregate online. It takes less time to join a community that is already in place than to try and create one yourself.
4. Post content at optimal times
Studies have shown that social media activity usually peaks between 10am and 4pm; so sending out content during those hours will get you the greatest visibility in the social world. Ultimately, when you post content should come down to when it will receive the most engagement, so ensure that you do your research and post content at optimal times.
Top tip: Use the tools that are available to you to help you with this. Hootsuite AutoSchedule allows you to easily schedule tweets, and will even choose the best time to send them out!
5. Figure out # of posts per day
Unfortunately, there is no magic number of posts or a foolproof content strategy to adhere to when undertaking a social media project. There is an abundance of research out there that claims to know what works best, but that may not necessarily work for you. When it comes to how often you post on social media, its essential that you undertake your own research and use the findings to your advantage.
Top tip: Conduct a test over the course of a week to see when your content is getting the most interaction from users, and use your findings to inform your social posting – HootSuite analytics is a really handy tool when doing this. Always remember that it is not about the quantity of posts, but the quality of them!
6. Increase your Twitter followers
When it comes to the number of followers you have on Twitter, quality is key but quantity should not be forgotten. There are numerous things that you can do to ensure that you are building a relevant audience, but there are three key things that you should really be focused on:
- Find and follow. Search out experts and thought leaders within your industry and follow them, while also following potential customers and individuals that have an interest in your industry.
- Create a content strategy. Ensure that every piece of content you send out is interesting and relevant to your target audience.
- Engage with your audience. Have a keen eye on all of your social feeds, and reply to any customers who interact with you in a prompt and thoughtful manner – injecting a little personality into the mix will make all of the difference!
7. Be authentic and human
People are more likely to create relationships with a ‘person’ more so than with a ‘business. So when interacting with customers within your social network, it is important to have a brand voice. What you say, how you say it and how often you respond will all have a tremendous impact on customer relationships.
Top tip: Be yourself, be authentic, interact and respond!
8. Share engaging content
The content that you present via your social media channels will affect the engagement of your audience, but could also positively affect your SEO performance eventually leading to the promotion of your brand. It is therefore extremely important that you invest some time and effort to create quality content that is related to your readers.
Top tip: Ensure that your content is current, encompasses the ideals of your brand and is targeted to your audience.
9. Provide Value
You may find that your own participation may not be enough to hold a continued interest when it comes to your social network. There has to be value in the interaction you are offering for people to stay and participate. You should regularly be conversing with customers, but also provide the solution to a need.
Top tip: Actively engage with your customers, start discussions and generate interest around your posts. After all, you are the expert!
10. Post appropriate content
Your social media profiles will be the first point of contact that a customer has with your business, and as the old saying goes, first impressions count! Post content that is engaging, authentic and fits within your brand, and engage with customers to build relationships.
Top tip: Ensure every piece of content that you put out there is brand compliant, as there have been far too many social media blunders in recent years – don’t become one of them!