We’re sure social media was already at the top of your list of marketing essentials for your start up; everyone who’s spent a day in business already knows just how important it is for connecting with clients and customers-to-be.
That said, being a business whizz doesn’t necessarily mean you know all the ins and outs of using social media to achieve your goals, and you may well have missed a few tricks along the way. Here are 9 suggestions from Quality Formations for making your presence on Facebook, Twitter or just about any other network even better than it already is.
1. Define a Strategy – And Evolve It
Are things starting to feel a little bit hit or miss? Even if you heeded the warnings of social media gurus when you first started and made sure you had a strategy in place, three months down the road you’ve probably found that you’ve settled into a routine – posting what seemed to work the week before, rinse and repeat.
If that’s the case, it’s time to go back into your strategy and evolve it. Use all the stats and data you have, work out what gave you the best results – and think about how you can use this information to do even better in the months to come.
2. Connect with Influencers
Influencers are the industry professionals who already have a strong following and authoritative voice – people who often guide consumer decisions. Getting them on side is challenging but absolutely worth it if you pull it off. The key is not to just ask them for things – tweets, shares, etc – but to connect with them on a person-to-person level; make conversation and see where it goes.
3. Start Listening
Not getting the engagement you think you deserve? Even if you’re putting out really strong, relatable posts, it’s not going to get you very far if you haven’t spent some time listening to other posters. Social listening means heading out into the wider social world (beyond your news feed, that is) and seeing what topics interest people about your industry – and perhaps even what gripes they have.
4. Get to Grips with the Data
There’s no real excuse not to have already started doing this: Facebook, Twitter and other big sites provide a generous array of statistics and measures to help you decide whether what you’re doing is really working. Of course, anybody can look at a ‘likes’ graph and decide whether it has gone up or down, but spending some time researching and experimenting with the more complex data will really give you the edge and help you learn how to make future posts a success and avoid ones that don’t resonate with your audience.
5. Ditch Superfluous Networks
When you first start a business, you want every social network under the sun as part of your brand. Finance company on Pinterest? Why not! Well, the trouble is that you’ll end up firing money and time into adverts and updates that aren’t even going to reach, let alone connect with, your audience. Make sure you don’t overstretch your resources in regards to actually managing your various platforms and that you only have platforms for which you have a strategy in place. For example, if Snapchat does not seem like it makes sense for your business then don’t waste your time using it. Focus on another platform instead where you know your business can have a logical presence and connect with the right type of audience.
6. Know Your Platform
Following on from that, you should also spend some time getting to know the individual quirks of the networks you have chosen. Aside from the fact that people are active on different social platforms at different times of the day, each network will see different types of content, different formats and even different amounts of content performing better – so know your stuff to make sure you’re posting the right type of content for the appropriate audiences.
7. Inject Some Humanity (and Humour…)
You’re not an automated tweet-bot so you have absolutely no excuse to sound like one (and you absolutely shouldn’t be using one!). Posts that are all the same, all generic and all sales-y are never going to work particularly well. They will turn off customers and followers very quickly because they are not engaging. Instead, let your human personality shine through… and, if they’re appropriate for your brand, a joke or two will never go amiss. Now more than ever customers like to be able to see the people behind the brand they’re supporting. If it makes sense for your business then let your customers see you and your personality through your online presence. It’ll help make your brand more interesting and engaging.
8. Do Something Different
Been brushing up on all the best social brands hoping you can learn a trick or two? This is definitely a good part of any strategy but it shouldn’t stop you from doing something new and original when the idea strikes. If you want to experiment and try something no-one else is doing, give it a go: social moves so fast that even if it doesn’t work out the losses will be far outweighed by any potential gains.
9. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
It is becoming increasingly more important to budget for paid advertising spend within your social media strategy. Social media platforms, especially Facebook, are implementing new algorithms all the time to optimise the content that users are seeing, meaning that branded content will be seen long after posts by friends and family. The best way to combat this is by implementing paid ad spend on your channels to allow new audiences to access your content and learn about your brand. Most social networks will offer you paid advertising options that allow you to target specific demographics and promote your page – but choosing the right one is important, since they all give slightly different things.
Twitter’s paid ads are excellent for brand awareness, since they focus on reach, however they won’t always bring in as much engagement. Alternately Facebook offers a laser-sharp focus, allowing you to tailor your audience – even to the point of how many credit cards they have. This can help drive traffic back to crucial pages of your site, and makes it a must for better engagement.
Each platform has a relatively easy to use ad management platform, with clear instructions on how to create ads along the way. The most important parts come from your knowledge and data; who are your audience and who needs to see the ads? Using an engaging, eye-catching image or video combined with short, impactful content and a relevant call to action should ensure that your advert appeals to all those who see it.
Not only is paid advertising important to grow audiences and brand awareness, it is also useful for increasing web traffic and generating leads, and the best bit about it is that everything is measurable! This means that every penny spent can be accounted for and monitored to estimate the best return on investment and social impact on your business.
A strong social presence could be exactly what your start up needs to really hit the ground running – from developing a strong brand personality to increasing brand awareness – so we hope these tips give you all the tools you need. Just remember to keep things natural and engage and connect with the right crowd and the followers will come.