Many more businesses are using social media as part of their marketing efforts. In fact a recent industry report by Social Media Examiner revealed that of those surveyed, 97% indicate that they use social media as part of their overall marketing. However, despite these figures many businesses are still not using social media marketing effectively. When used well, social media marketing can bring great returns, but they won’t be overnight. Social media marketing is a marathon not a sprint!
Here are our tips for achieving social media marketing success
1. Have a strategy
This is the most important thing to start with. Unless you understand where social media marketing fits in to your business goals you can waste many hours, and many pounds of your marketing budget. Your social media targets and goals need to fit with your overall marketing and business objectives. Knowing what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it will give you direction. Being able to measure the results will allow you to work out your return on investment and also guide your future activities.
2. Know where your customers are
Not every social media is right for every business. Find out which sites your customers and potential customers use and you can direct your content and efforts effectively. That said, you may want to claim your company name on the most popular platforms to prevent others (including competitors) using them. That way you have control of your brand on all major platforms, and you just focus your activities on the ones you know will be effective.
3. Understand your customers needs
In addition to posting and broadcasting content, you need to listen to your social channels. Find out what people are saying; work out their challenges and offer them help in the content you post. Give them hints, tips and advice, and don’t be afraid to ask their opinions. This is especially useful if you’re thinking of introducing a new service or product.
4. Have a consistent voice
Don’t forget you are using social media for business. Decide how you are going to come across in your posts; friendly, professional etc. The way you tweet to your friends at the rugby club, will in all likelihood, not be the way you will want to tweet to your customers and future prospects. If you have more than one person running your social media marketing, make sure everyone is clear on the tone of your posts.
5. Use Pictures
The internet is very visual and posts with pictures or video will be viewed and engaged with more than long boxes of text. On Twitter, the engagement level can be as much as 200% higher for tweets with pictures in them.
6. Make use of hashtags
Hashtags a great way to get yourself into a conversation that’s already trending in your industry. It’s not just Twitter that’s using hashtags, they are now also used on Google+ and are creeping in to LinkedIn posts. Used strategically, hashtags can help you find your target audience and grow your brand and following.
7. Plan your content
Your posts need to be relevant to your audience. Make a content plan that shows what will be posted, where and when. If you have more than one person responsible for your social media activities, make sure you include who is responsible for writing blog posts etc.
8. Measure your efforts
Make sure you have some measurement tools in place to see what’s working and what’s not. Working out what posts work well with which audience will help guide your content plan. You need to be able to work out where your traffic is coming from to help focus your efforts. There are many tools out there to help you measure, some free and simple to use; others paid for and more complex. You will need to work out which is best for your business requirements.
9. Have a staff social media policy
This is essential if you have staff posting on company accounts. Make sure your staff know what they can and can’t post. If staff have individual company profiles make sure they know who owns the account and what will happen if they leave your employment.
10. Have a crisis management process in place
No-one can please everyone all the time and the reality is, mistakes happen. In the event that you get a negative comment or complaint make sure your staff know how to deal with it. Who should it be referred to? What should that first holding response be? We’ve all read those horror stories about complaints going viral, and in some cases being the downfall of a business. Make sure any comments are dealt with professionally and efficiently.
If you want help with your social media marketing strategy, get in touch.
Are you using social media marketing successfully in your business? Why not share your nuggets of wisdom with our readers?