Social Media Marketing: Getting Started
Gathering a large fan following and subscribers is wonderful, but are you remembering to actually connect with your audience? When it comes to marketing, word of mouth has always been the most effective way to increase brand awareness. Customers trust the word of their friends and family above all other forms of marketing. Thus, it is extremely important to make sure that you engage your followers, empower them with ways to share, and equip your audience with reasons to talk about your brand.
Implement a social-media marketing plan
The first step in establishing well-crafted content that is shareable and interesting is researching your target audience. Use the information you have gathered to create audience profiles or personas – a defined portion of people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. Knowing your audiences’ demographics, interests, and consumer habits will allow you to connect and engage your potential customers on a deeper more personal level.
Set objectives and goals
Decide what you want to achieve in your life, in your business. Separate what is important from what is irrelevant, a distraction from your dreams. Use the tools available to you to organize and prioritize your goals. Analytics, research, content audits, and inventories are all ways to track progress towards your goals. Sites like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Social Sprout are all excellent ways to keep track of your social media posts and track engagement. Know your audience, and know your mission. Create conversations, find out what your consumers want and expect from you. Do not just set goals. Achieve them!
Develop a content plan and editorial calendar
Sharing quality content across your social media channels is one of the most important things you can do to engage your audience and attract new followers. Using a social media calendar allows you to plan and manage your social updates. There are a number of online companies, such as Buffer, that provide users with the ability to schedule, arrange, and queue future posts. HubSpot also offers a free and easy-to-use Excel template for scheduling social media content. Get organized, get sharing, and stay engaged!
Get inspired by industry leaders, competitors
Networking allows you to connect with your online audience for the purposes of encouraging communication and meaningful relationships while building your reputation as a leader in your particular market or niche. Researching your market and connecting with industry leaders is also a great way to gain valuable insight into your target audience and the type of content that is already widely accepted and shared. Make sure your business is prominent on social media sites, take an active role in your industry’s community, and understand the needs of your audience. Having a LinkedIn Profile is a great way to make these connections and show cases your brand’s achievements in your industry and community.
Learn the do’s and don’ts of using hashtags
It is important that you take the time to research the hashtags that are relevant to your particular industry. You can use tools such as Tagboard and Hashtracking to keep track of popular hashtags, who is using them, and the conversations surrounding them. Your hashtags should be brief and simple, with the goal of sparking and tracking conversations about your brand. Be sure to follow hashtag etiquette by never hijacking or using a hashtag that does not belong to you – an extremely frowned upon tactic that has the potential to do more harm than good. Lastly, resist the urge to go overboard – a few strong hashtags are better than 30 that are jumbled ineffective. #RLContentMatters #RLContentTips
Avoid common mistakes and taboo practices
Like baiting involves the use of controversial titles or images to generate likes and shares on posts or pages. Buying likes is also extremely discouraged and frowned upon. Do NOT do these two things. They may generate likes and shares, but they will also alienate potential customers. Likewise, posting too often can be a major turn off for potential customers who are not interested in seeing their feeds flooded with irrelevant updates from your brand. Posting less frequently, but posting valuable and insightful content is much more beneficial to your brand and is more likely to encourage likes, follows, and shares. Lastly, do not forget to engage your followers. Ignoring feedback can harm your business/customer relationships and signal that you do not appreciate your followers.
Take advantage of social media analytics dashboards
Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook have built in dashboards that allow you to track engagement with your posts and gain valuable insight into your fans and their preferences. On Twitter, you can measure your success by analyzing the number of impressions and engagements and the engagement rate for each tweet. Facebook provides metrics on reach, engagement (broken down into post clicks, likes, comments and shares) for each post. Even better, Facebook provides detailed information about your audience demographics, which you can use to determine who is most interested in your brand. Pinterest also reveals your top pin impressions and the number of repins and clicks. Use these tools to build and refine your social media marketing strategy.
Create a Google+ profile
Google+ may not have as extensive of a reputation as a social media network as Facebook or Twitter, and users who do not use it regularly tend to underestimate its worth. Its impact on search engine rankings alone is enough to warrant creating a Google+ profile. An extremely valuable component of this platform is that everything that happens on Google+ ends up in Google searches. You cannot find that anywhere else. Google+ also has circles, communities, and hangouts that encourage user engagement, and you would be surprised to know just how active these communities really are. Additionally, Google+ has an analytics platform for tracking trends and engagement. It offers a complete package perfect for social media marketing that you do not want to miss.
Use images to grab attention
Wired to respond to visual stimuli, it makes sense that postings with images are more popular and widely shared than text alone. When used properly, images can be an invaluable tool for communicating your message and your brand. Just remember that a poorly chosen image or design can have just as much, if not more, of an impact as an image or logo designed with careful consideration of your company values and brand. When choosing images consider the aesthetic, the between the lines message, and the emotions it conveys. Also, be sure to abide by any copyright, licensing, or attribution requirements listed by your image source.
Get into the habit of storytelling
You can take your client or potential customers on a journey that engages them and involves them in the telling of your brand’s story. Your brand identity is the representation of your company’s values, services, ideas, and personality. A strong identity instills trust and loyalty in your clients, along with pride and dedication from your employees. Decide who you want to be. Then, tell your story using strong visualizations and quality content. When your audience feels connected to your story and personally invested in your success, they are more likely to become loyal followers and customers.
Proactively engage followers
Advertisements should only be a small part of your social-media marketing plan. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest make it easier than ever to create a two-way dialogue with your customers, making your business more personable. Use social media to embrace transparency, share your story, and cultivate relationships. Allow your customers to see behind the brand. Potential customers are more likely to engage with and purchase services or products from a company they can relate to on a personal level.
Get started today!
A strong two-way dialogue between you and your fans will generate comments and feedback that provide further insight about your audience and can create long lasting relationships. What ways do you engage your followers on social media? Did you do anything else to ensure a successful social media marketing strategy? Share below!