For new businesses looking to expand their marketing efforts, social media appears on the surface to be the perfect way to boost your business for little to no cost.
There are, however, a few things businesses looking to use social media need to be aware of if they are to maximise its effectiveness.
Market where your customers hang out online. Depending on the type of business you are and who your target audience is, you need to find out where they hang out online. For example, if your customer base is:
- other business owners, you might find LinkedIn could be a good place to market.
- stay-at-home parents, LinkedIn might not be the best place for spending your time and efforts.
Commit to your chosen social media channels. The worse thing you can do is start a channel, then give up in the first 30 days and leave the channel dormant.
This makes it look like you are out of business. Or – worse – not interested in your customers. So, focus on may be one or two channels. You don’t have to do them all.
The other thing we suggest here is checking that the channel is something you will actually use for posting content etc. Trying to force yourself to use a platform you don’t use yourself makes social marketing even harder, as you will see it as a chore from the outset.
Be consistent in your messaging and frequency. Plan ahead of time so you or your staff know how many posts you/they will be creating each month and set aside time each day to check and respond to comments and enquiries.
Don’t forget, each platform will have its own messaging system so do check those inboxes for enquiries.
This could be where you get enquires that turn into sales.
Communicate with your audience and engage with them. This is about building a relationship with your customer base, not simply using social media as a selling tool.
The clue is in the title, its social.
Don’t just set up lots of ‘selling’ messages; make your channel useful for your customer base. In fact, the golden rule is at least 5 or 6 informative messages for each ‘selling’ message.
Share useful information with your audience about your product or service and the industry you are in, but don’t merely try and ram sales messages down their throats. This will not work.
Once you know which social media channel you are going to use and know what you are going to say, this will help you decide how best to say it. Certain channels offer the facility to run live video (Facebook Live for example) or, if your product is very image-based, you can use Instagram.
Once you know the type of content you need to share, you can create or curate it to save time and effort. Some tools will allow you to pre-post content and have it drop fed into your platform.
That said, however, do make sure you actually visit the platform and share content on an ad-hoc basis too. This shows you are in the channel and active. Batching content is merely a time saver, not a replacement for actually showing up on your platform (i.e. you still need to be active on your platform and engage with visitors).
We hope this gives you some ideas and helps you create a social media strategy that’s appropriate for your business. Don’t try and do everything or copy a successful case study. You need to find what’s right for you.