Social media isn’t just about chatting with your friends and seeing what people ate for lunch. It is an indispensable tool that allows you to connect with your current, past and future clients. It provides the ideal opportunity for your business to build relationships, engage with customers and increase sales like never before.
It is surprising how many companies we speak to who don’t use it at all. Then there are the other companies who can see the potential but don’t understand who to use social media properly.
The fact is social media is the perfect arena for your business. It is a platform where you can be seen by millions of people who will be able to see what you really do and how you take an interest in the people who you serve through your business.
Yes, social media is a very powerful tool which allows you to connect with people interested in your products or service and allows you to market your business on a whole new level that has never been available to business owners before.
The success in social media marketing comes from building strong and long-lasting relationships with customers over many months and years and providing them with the type of content and expertise that they will want to share with family and friends.
This approach will help to attract and keep loyal customers. It is a world away from most traditional marketing methods.
Getting started may take a little organisation, time and effort but you will be rewarded with a huge return on investment (sales!) at a level that is not seen with traditional media efforts.
You are about to learn some extremely useful steps to effectively market your business across the social media platforms and attract a loyal following of fans and customers.
Know your target audience
It might sound surprising but there are many small business owners who do not really know who they serve. When asked who their target audience is they proudly say “everybody”.
While it may seem to be the case, it is not strictly true and if you take this approach on to the social media platform you will end up with a diluted message aimed at ‘everyone’ but won’t actually be of interest to anyone.
Before taking a step into social media marketing, look at the demographic of people that you serve or think of the kind of person you want to serve.
Create a short list of the kind of your existing customers or target customers.
If your business is consumer related determine who your typical customers are such as:
- Their Salary
- Age Range
- Marital Status
- How They Found You
- Why They Bought from You
- What Problem You Helped Solve, etc.
For commercial or business clients, include:
- Number of Employees
- Type of Business
- Geographic Scope of Business
- Revenue Levels
Look at the results and then write a profile of your typical customer.
For example, “John is 45, married with a wife and kids, makes 70K/year and works in an office all day. He bought from us because…” Describe a real person so you can see him or her in your mind. You could even find a photo from the Internet who matches your ideal customer profile.
The point is to create a profile of your target customer and create all of your messages on social media to them and them only. This will help you to reach your perfect customers who are very interested in what you have to say and offer.
Know for sure what you want to achieve from social media marketing
It is very important that you approach social media marketing with a clear outline of what you want to achieve from it.
For example are you looking to build your brand, increase sales, bring back old customers or reach new ones?
When you have a clear picture of your objectives you will get a lot more from social media marketing and it will deliver the results that you want.
Decide what your message is
If you want people to listen to you then you must have an informative, interesting message that engages your target audience.
For tips on how to do this look at how other businesses handle their social media marketing, particularly the big brands. You will see that they provide a mix of special offers, information and news. It is all done in an entertaining way that thoroughly engages with their target audience and encourages them to interact and respond.
When you keep your message aimed at your ideal customers persona you will be able to identify the kind of information that they like and respond. In turn they will show their appreciation by telling people about you and remaining as a loyal customer to you.
Check out your competition
It always makes sense to know what your competition is doing but even more so when it involves social media as you are both targeting the same audience.
Find out what they are doing, do more of it and do it better.
Know when to post
The key to managing your social media effectively is consistency. Some businesses make an attempt at marketing on social media but give up too quickly because they are not being consistent or have a clear message.
Engaging and interacting with your followers is very important. With a bit of experience you will quickly begin to see that that posting at certain times of the day can be more effective than others. Don’t give up too soon and be consistent with your posts.
Manage your social media network
You may choose to look after your own social media platforms or you might decide to outsource it. Some small businesses even allow a member of staff to look after their social media campaigns.
Whoever you choose, you must be certain that they communicate well for your company and they consistently put out useful information. It is a big responsibility. They will be speaking on behalf of you and your company to a global audience and what they say will either engage followers or have them unsubscribing in droves.
Another way to lose and annoy a lot of followers is to post nothing but sales pitches.
Social media users don’t like sales people. They are constantly inundated with sales pitches and selling gimmicks on a regular basis so they really don’t want to be sold to when they are relaxing with their online friends on Facebook or Twitter. They want to be entertained and informed.
It is true that as business owners we are using social media tools to help promote and market our businesses, and we are out there looking for potential clients, but you don’t want to be that in-your-face salesperson, as this will just turn people away.
Know which social media sites you want to start off with
There are so many social media sites and it is easy to spread your efforts too thinly at first. It is a good idea to start off with one and get a good momentum going before getting involved with another.
Once you have a good rapport with your clients on one social networking site you can invite them to join you on other sites too. For example you can invite your Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter too or visit your Pinterest board. If they like you and what you have to say, they will continue to be loyal to you on other platforms too.
There are a lot of tools that will help you to tie in your website, social media and networking efforts to one dashboard so you can monitor them all at the same time.
Tip: Even though we suggest you concentrating on one social platform at a time it is a good idea to make your claim on all of them at once so that you have consistency with your branding. It will be very frustrating if, after a few months of creating brand awareness on one platform that you can’t register the same name on others at a later date.
Know how to measure a successful campaign
Another reason why so many businesses think that social media doesn’t work is because they don’t really understand how to measure the successes of their various campaigns (if they even have a marketing strategy at all).
So, if for example, your main aim is to get more followers and ‘likes’ then you need to measure how many likes you get on each post.
Or if you wanted to send people to a particular sales page on your website those clicks and visits need to be tracked.
Tracking will help you to decide on the success or failure of your campaigns. If you have a good tracking system in place this will mean that NO campaign is a complete failure as you will have gathered valuable statistics and information that will help to shape future campaigns.
Putting all of the pieces together
Social media marketing campaigns can increase brand awareness, create buzz and boost lead generation or sales and these tips show you how to optimize your campaigns for maximum impact.
If you find the whole process daunting or you don’t have the time to run and monitor a social media campaign we can show you how to plan your time and, crucially, how to monitor and measure the results of your campaign or do it for you.
We can advise, guide and run your campaigns on all of the social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore social media so if any of this information has inspired you to use social media to its full potential and get your share of extra sales please contact us and we will be happy to share our experience with you.