Social Media Marketing For Beginners
Did you know that the average internet user now spends around 2 hours and 22 minutes on social networking sites every day? With a figure like that out there, it’s hardly surprising that so many small businesses are keen to take advantage of the various social platforms to get their brands noticed online. It also means that there’s a lot of competition out there, and if you’ve never had experience with social media marketing, it can be pretty daunting. We’ve put together some top tips to get you started, whether you want to promote your own company or actually pursue a career in the field.
Why Is Social Media Marketing So Important?
Obviously, most companies want their social profiles to send people to their websites, and hopefully eventually become paying customers. But it’s also a way to show a more human side to your company, engaging an audience and helping to build your brand’s reputation. Social networks are also excellent customer service platforms, allowing you to answer questions and deal with complaints in a transparent manner and create trust. Combined with quality SEO services, a great social media marketing strategy is a great recipe for online success.
It’s All About Engaging, Shareable Content
Whatever social networks you choose to focus on, treating them as a dumping ground for your existing marketing material or links to your latest blog post isn’t going to cut it. If you want people to follow you, you have to give them a good reason to. Remember that is really is all about the social aspect, after all – provide content that your followers want to share with their friends, family and their own followers.
A few examples might be a behind-the-scenes video looking at how your product is made (suitable for Facebook or YouTube, for example), an inspiring interview with an influencer or thought leader in your field (LinkedIn or excerpts on Twitter appropriately hashtag-ed), a competition giveaway or contest, posts that ask for your follower’s opinions or anecdotes, or articles on hot-button topics relating to your field.
Choosing The Right Networks To Focus On
We were surprised to learn that a whopping 93% of Pinterest users responded that they used the site to plan a future purchase. That’s a huge level of engagement for a social media platform – but it doesn’t mean Pinterest is right for everyone. If you’re in the DIY or perhaps the restaurant business and like to post the odd project or recipe, then it could be. If you have the luxury of access to great quality photographs, Instagram might be the best fit – but probably not if you’re trying to sell printer cartridges. If you’re in the B2B arena, LinkedIn is a natural fit, especially if you’re looking to grow your professional network. Bear in mind that most users do expect brands to have a presence on giants like Facebook and Twitter and may get frustrated if they can’t get hold of you there.
Understand Your Goals
Most companies want social media to increase their sales. In this case, remember that quantity is rarely better than quality when it comes to followers. Sadly, there’s little point attracting thousands of new followers because you posted a hilarious cat video if those followers are scattered around the globe and you run a small local clothing store. In this case, interacting with your actual potential customers via community forums and classifieds style pages may be the best way to go. If your target audience is larger, say countrywide, hone in on exactly who they are and create content that will resonate with them.
Never Let Queries Go Unanswered
If you’re a very small business, you probably can’t be available 24/7, but social media users expect at least a reasonably fast response. If they can get hold of a competitor who can answer their question before you, the sale is probably going to go to them. Use every opportunity available to engage with your audience and build a relationship with them.
Spend Time Optimizing Your Profiles
Far too many companies have social profiles that just don’t explain who they are, what they do, and what kind of content they like to post. Take the time to flesh this section out as much as you can, as it gives visitors a useful snapshot. And make sure to include a link to your website!
Make Sure Your Social Media Pages, Website And Blog Are Connected
For SEO and user experience purposes, your website and social media pages should talk well to each other. This makes it easier for search engines to identify that a social page belongs to you, and for your website visitors to easily access your social pages so they can follow you on whichever platform they enjoy the most.