Long gone are the days when social media was just about posting your vacation photos or letting friends know what you were having for lunch. Today, social media has become a vital business tool that entrepreneurs can no longer ignore.
Social media is everywhere. We use it to make buying decisions, to stay in touch with friends and family, and to develop new relationships— both personal and professional. Yet only 35% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses have a social media presence, which is scary.
When properly harnessed, social media can help you propel your business to a new level of success.
Here are 29 tips of Social Media Marketing that are extremely effective in engaging the existing audience, getting new followers, and converting those followers to customers:
1. Analyze your competition
Follow your closest competitors on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms, who are very active and have a large base of followers with a lot of interaction. Watch closely the content they are publishing and with what frequency and at what time? What kind of language are they using (jargons, abbreviations), and do they focus more on graphics, charts, images, or text?
2. Build a Social Media strategy
A social media strategy is extremely important and looks easy. So many businesses rush to create a Facebook page or Twitter feed without proper planning. The result can be wasted resources and poor results.
Here is a checklist of the key elements in your social media strategy. It includes:
- What are the main goals of your social media marketing?
- Determine your target audience and on which social media platform do they hang out?
- What kind of content will appeal to your target market?
3. Build relationship with your audience
It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but the best way to grow your audience is by offering helpful, value-added information. Remember that social media is about building relationships. You can’t buy loyal social media fans, any more than you can buy friends in real life. So always give, give, and give, to become likeable and popular.
4. Create unique content
If you want to grab the attention of your audience and keep it, create content that is creative, authentic and truthful. Do something unique to stand out, as they are already bombarded with thousands of content on all kinds of social media platform. The key is to offer interesting, relevant content that your followers will find compelling and want to share with their networks, eventually boosting your post and reaching a bigger audience.
5. Follow a posting schedule
Build a posting schedule and stick to it. It is crucial to post regularly according to the publishing schedule you set out, because social media pages quickly lose attention of followers if they’re not updated regularly with new content.
6. Be respectful and courteous
Be polite, respectful and courteous. Use the same tone as you would if you were talking with a client in person.
7. Don’t try to hard sell
Hard-sell marketing is a big no-no in social media and will turn off visitors. Instead, allow people to come to you. The idea is that an engaged follower is more likely to become a customer. For example, an auto dealer can share videos about car care tips, or winter tire care tips. A construction company can share renovation advice with home owners. A beautician can share articles on how to maintain and enhance good looks. A dentist can share tips on good dental hygiene. The list can go on and on.
8. Build around your expertise and drive them to your website
Carefully think about what your core expertise is and then write or design content around it and publish it on your social media pages, so that people always visit your pages as the ultimate resource, which will drive more sales. In order to get more customers, you should focus on driving traffic from your social media pages to your website with call-to-action (CTA) that converts visitors into paying customers.
9. Encourage audience participation
Ask fans to post their comments, stories, photos and videos on your page. Ask customers for written or video testimonials, and post them. Invite product feedback.
Be authentic and truthful; build trust, and listen to what your audience says and take action, based on their feedback.
10. Respond promptly to your audience
Make sure that you respond to those who interact with you, within 24 hours. Offer your sincere thanks to those who contribute, and respond to any customer issues. All this interaction will also help boost your following by making your feed livelier. As well, fans’ interactions with your pages may automatically pop up on their friends’ feeds, encouraging them to follow you, thus boosting your following.
11. Hold contests
Build engagement by organizing contests where you offer discounts or prizes. These competitions will help you attract more followers but should be designed to find and retain those who are genuinely interested in your business, not just looking for a freebie. Be sure to tie your contest in some way to your products, brands or business goals. Also be sure to check applicable federal and provincial regulations regarding contests, as well as the social media platform’s contest guidelines, so that your page doesn’t get blocked.
12. Organize surveys
Surveys are a good way to solicit customer feedback, which is extremely valuable in improving your customer service and quality of products or services you offer. Boost the number of respondents with a draw for a prize at the end (while, again, being sure to respect the social media platform’s contest rules). Surveys will also help you build a following.
13. Integrate website with social media
Make your website or blog easily shareable with plug-ins from social media sites. Plug-ins are tools or programs that allow your audience to share, make comments, or recommend your content to their own network.
There are other plug-ins that allow you to create a feed of your social media messages on your website. So anything posted on your social media pages is automatically displayed on your website, which means less work for you.
14. Invite your contacts
Invite people in your personal and business email lists to subscribe, as well as contacts from your personal social media pages. Display links to your business social media pages prominently on the home page and other web pages of your company website. Put those links in your email signature line, marketing campaigns and printed business materials, such as letterhead, business cards and store signs. Submit your social media pages to social bookmarking sites, so more people find out about it and subscribe or follow.
15. Buy ads
Have you ever thought of buying ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads? Social sites have lots of personal information about users and have capitalized it to offer businesses highly targeted advertising based on precise demographics and geographic location. You can use the ads to home right in on your target audience without wasting precious ad dollars on anyone else. You can then continuously optimize your advertising based on what works because you can get detailed data on who your visitors are and which campaign or other source brought them to your site.
16. Be responsive after a social media post
Nearly three-quarters of interactions on Facebook occur in the first hour after a post is made. Keep your interactions up by posting more often and by being online and available right after you post.
17. Join discussion groups
On LinkedIn and Facebook, use the search tool at the top of your page to look for groups relevant to your business. Both platforms have thousands of discussion groups and pages on a wide range of topics. Join groups of interest, monitor discussions, and participate to help potential clients and establish yourself as a thought leader.
18. Promote your events on Social Media
If you organized an event, post lots of photos on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages, then encourage your fans to tag themselves, like them, or share them. When they do so, their activity is noted in their friends’ news feeds, giving your page a promotional boost.
19. Follow the 4-1-1 rule
I would suggest a “4-1-1” rule for content: Publish four fun or educational posts for every one “soft promotion” (e.g., an event announcement) and one “hard promotion” (e.g., take advantage of a special offer).
20. Videos are popular on social media
Request your customers to contribute video testimonials to post on your social media pages, or arrange to shoot them yourself.
Also, you can make how-to videos demonstrating your products or services, and answering common questions.
21. Don’t plagiarize
Plagiarism is a big no-no on social media. If you have to use someone’s content, make sure you properly acknowledge other people’s material. Don’t post someone’s article or other material without acknowledging the source.
22. Visuals are stronger than text
It is very effective to use lots of strong visual content, such as charts, photos, infographics and videos. With today’s information overload, people don’t care too much about text and focus more on visuals.
23. Keep listening and learning
Don’t stop learning and listening to what’s being said about you, your company, your industry and social media. Social media is changing fast, so it’s important to keep an eye on developments and adapt accordingly.
24. Social Media Marketing takes time
Be patient. Like any relationship, social media success takes time to build. Creating social media posts are relatively easy and can be free to create, but creating a presence is the tip of the iceberg. Building a following is not free because it takes a lot of your valuable time that you could have spent on other business-related activities. The only way social media is going to work is to stay focused on completing the routine tasks on a daily basis. That requires discipline.
25. Customize your social media pages
Customize and personalize your social media pages. Remember to include visuals, such as your logo and brand colors. Also, consider using images of people at work in your business and customers (while being sure to respect privacy and get consent, if needed).
26. Keep personal and business profiles separate
27. Get a custom URL
When you create your page, the URL (Internet address) will include a long random number. Give your page a custom URL—for example, facebook.com/coffeeshop—in order to make it look more professional, easier to promote and easier to find in web searches. Get a custom URL for free at facebook.com/username.
28. Help is just around the corner
Visit the social media site, and click on the “Help” or “Learn More” button, which is usually at the top of the home page. Some sites also have a business support page specifically for companies.
Create a personal account at the site and start exploring. The best education often comes from hands-on experience.
29. Measure and analyze your efforts
You might be actively tweeting, posting how-to videos and updating Facebook. Now, you want to keep track of how well you’re doing. Without this information, it’s hard to know which efforts are paying off and how to optimize your resources.
The simplest way to measure your efforts is by watching the number of fans you get on your social media pages. But that’s not always a good indicator. What’s more important is the volume and quality of interactions on your sites—comments, likes, retweets, etc. This is a good sign that your site has attracted the right kind of fans—people whom you can sway to meet the goals and targets you set in your social media strategy. Think carefully about your business objectives from social media marketing and set metrics accordingly. If your goal is sales lead generation, your metric is how many leads you got and their cost.
I have tried to cover as many tips as possible, but if you feel that there are more, please share it in the comments below, so other readers can benefit from it.
If you already have a social media marketing strategy, or looking to plan and need some guidance, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org | (416)278-0734 and we will connect you with one of our social media experts for free consultation. Happy Posting 🙂