Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing Deciding to get your business on social media is a great first step as an owner or manager, but deciding where to go from there can be confusing. Social media is one of the fastest growing and rapidly changing fields in business right now. That makes it very exciting, but also hard to understand if you don’t have a lot of hands-on experience. Social media accounts are kind of like trees. A tree starts out as a tiny seed, but over time and with the right conditions, can grow into a huge plant that can be seen from miles away. That tree might even grow to bear fruit and seeds which go on to produce more trees. In a similar sense, all social media accounts start out small, with no followers or friends, no likes or shares. But with a well thought out social media strategy, and diligent tending, you can grow your social media accounts into a vast online presence which establishes a brand identity, builds relationships with customers and draws them to your company. As you start doing research and setting up your social media accounts, here are seven tips to keep in mind to make your business a social media success story:
- Know your product: certain products and services work better on certain platforms. If you make beautiful food or create other gorgeous products you want to show off to the world, get an Instagram or a Pinterest. Service companies do well on longer form, business-oriented platforms like Facebook and Google+, which give you more space to write and talk about your company and the services you provide.
- Know your audience: the most important thing is to be where your customers are. If your customers are all over 50, you probably don’t need a snapchat, but you do want a Facebook. If your target demographic is in their 20s, focus more on Instagram and Snapchat, and any other new platforms that pop up. Also, see where your competition is. If all of them are on Twitter, you definitely want to be on Twitter, too. But if none of them are on Twitter, don’t write it off—it could be a great opening to reach out to new customers your competitors haven’t been able to connect with yet.
- Know your brand’s personality: every business is unique and has its own personality reflective of its values, services and employees. A huge part of marketing is displaying that personality and using it to connect with your customers—but some social networks work better for certain personalities than others. If your business is fun, hip and outside the box, play that up! Stick with social media outlets like Snapchat and Pinterest that encourage interaction and draw in younger audiences. If you want to send a more buttoned-up, professional vibe, Google+ LinkedIn are great choices. They have large networks of professionals from various industries. You can join groups of like-minded professionals to discuss industry topics, as well as reaching out to potential customers.
- Make a strategy: before you sign up for an account or send a single post, outline a social media strategy. Discuss it with and make it accessible to everyone on your team who will be posting to or managing the social media accounts and make sure everyone understands the strategy and how to implement it. In it, define your audience, the message you want to send to new and returning customers and what networks this will work best on.
- Pick a few networks: unless you have a huge staff and an unlimited budget, you can’t be on every social media network. So you’re going to have to narrow it down. How many you pick depends on how big your social media team and budget are and how much time you have to dedicate to social media on a daily and weekly basis. You don’t want to try to take on too many accounts then get overwhelmed and stop posting. Then you’re back where you started—with no social media presence! If you’re working with a small team, start with two accounts. If you find you can easily manage them and still have time in the workday, add in more!
- Get a publishing platform: especially if you have more than two accounts. If you’re going all-in on Twitter, Tweetdeck is great tool which allows you to organize you twitter feed into different lists so you can see what your competitors, competition and other community businesses are talking about without switching feeds. You can also schedule Tweets to post in advance on Tweetdeck. If you’re setting up more than one social media account, consider social media marketing software like Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprinklr or Send Social Media. You can draft and schedule posts to multiple social media networks at once, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and more. You can schedule the posts as far in advance as you want—so you never have to worry about forgetting to post over the weekend or holiday. Each comes at a different price point and has different additional features, including: how many accounts you can attach; how many different users you can have for each account; whether or not the software compiles social media analytics for you; and additional email marketing options. This handy chart from Capterra helps you weigh the pros and cons based on what you’re looking for from your social media marketing software.
- Remember what this is about: which is marketing. It’s good to have fun with social media and posting the occasional cat video never hurt anybody—sometimes it even helps—but remember this is a business strategy. Your goal is to direct people to your website and your products or services. Posting silly videos and funny GIFs is okay in moderation, but it shouldn’t be the meat and potatoes of your social media strategy. If you have a blog (and you should have a blog), push your blog posts out on your social accounts. This not only gives potential customers interesting and useful information, but shows them you’re the expert when it comes to your field. Not every single one of your posts needs to be an advertisement, but if the majority of them serve to highlight a product or service your business provides, then you’re on the right track.
We hope this is helpful as you start to navigate the world of social media marketing. In the meantime, you can always call the experts at Skynet Solutions for all of your social media marketing needs. With our diverse range of skills and experience, we are sure to have the tools you need to make 2016 your business’s best year yet. To get in touch with us, you can fill out the online contact form on our website. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.