So you’ve decided you want to use social media for your business, but not sure where to start? Before you start creating social pages and doing paid campaigns, first know that you must earn your audience, you can’t buy them. Second, keep in mind that it takes time to develop trust if you are new to the market. People need to get to know you.
When developing your strategic social plan, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is your goal for your Social Media Marketing? (add lift to the brand, get customer feedback through engagement, generate leads, broaden fan base, allow customers to buy directly from social, execute promotions, etc.)
- Who will be managing the content? (internal team, external source, both)
- Who are you targeting? (gender, age groups, interests, job titles, etc.)
- How does your target audience use social media? (mobile, desktop, etc.)
- What main message are you trying to get across? (why we’re different, what we believe in, how to buy our products)
- What information can you provide that is interesting and engaging?
- How will you measure success?
Choosing Social Channels
When choosing social media channels, think about the buyer…which channels do they use? E-commerce businesses from highly visual ad space on Instagram or Pinterest; those channels can be used for brand awareness. Facebook allows you to buy right from your page. When prospects decide to buy, they may remember the brand from social, but might not buy from a social channel and instead go directly to your website (or brick and mortar store). In an article posted by HubSpot.com, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on Social Media than other types of content. A B2B or business to business company may find more value on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, as these networks are easier to direct ads to other businesses.
With the answers to these questions, you can get started on creating a content calendar. (This is exactly what it sounds like—a calendar. Excel is a great tool for this. List your channels on the far-left column and add dates across the top.) Drop in notes on what content you want to post about in each box. Use best practices when creating posts. For example, Facebook image ad post specifications are listed here.
Let’s talk about the voice of your brand. It’s important to have the person/people doing your posting to have your brand guidelines so they are posting in the correct voice.
1. Use a conversational/casual tone.
Treat social media as if it were a conversation. Formal language won’t engage your followers like a friendly casual tone would. Stay on top of comments and reply to them, engaging further with your audience and keeping the conversation going. (Think of how you would approach a potential customer if they were to walk into a brick and mortar location.)
2. Keep your posts brief.
Your audience won’t want to see blocks of text and information that will be hard on the eyes. Make your point directly and quickly to make a lasting impact and engage more people. With this said, not all your posts have to be a sentence or two; However, you aren’t writing a blog (You can share blogs with a link and some info on what it’s about.). Avoid being long-winded; it facilitates more interaction.
3. Utilize visuals.
When it comes to social media, visuals are your best friend. According to research done by eMarketer, photos are the most engaging type of post with an 87% interaction rate on Facebook. It’s always said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this holds true on social media. There is a lot of social media “noise” with so many people and businesses posting. Images do a great job of capturing attention.
4. Ask your audience questions.
Asking your audience a question lets them join the conversation with not only you, but also your other followers. This not only increases engagement, but it also gets people talking about your brand.
5. Form a clear call-to-action.
This ensures that there is no confusion in what you are requesting of your followers. Your followers need a reason to click into your link, so give them something that they will want to know more about. For example, don’t just write “Our May newsletter is here. Read it now.” Your audience will not feel engaged. Write something more along the lines of “Wondering what the newest fashion trend of 2017 is? Find out here.”
Congratulations, you have passed Social Media Marketing 101. You know the basics of what your business needs to start growing your online presence. It takes constant updating and interaction to maintain and grow your fanbase. Find what works for you—test things out. Once you find your voice, run with it. Get creative, have fun, and enjoy sharing your business with the world!