As social media continues to grow at a staggering rate, it’s getting impossible to deny its indispensability, especially for small businesses. There’s an unimaginable number of potential customers out there that businesses can contact through sites like YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
But if you do plan to run a social media marketing campaign for your business, you need to run it as though its success depended on you. While you can hire a social media manager to organize and oversee your social media campaign, you should still retain some control over it.
If you’re just starting out, here are some great social media marketing tips to help you get up to speed with this mode.
Begin with the end in mind: What do you hope to achieve?
In other words, you need to start with a clear goal in mind. When a business owner is just starting to use social media, it’s normal to jump on the band wagon right away, only to find oneself clueless about what to do next.
Before you set up your first social media page, ask yourself what you hope to achieve.
Decide where you should be
The number of social media platforms and networking sites is pretty overwhelming. The number of members on each of those sites is even more enticing. Facebook has surpassed the one billion mark. Twitter has hundreds of thousands of active users, as do LinkedIn and Pinterest.
But does that mean you should be active on all of these sites? Ideally, yes. But you really don’t have to be. You should choose the platform where you feel you will get the most out of your efforts. Some businesses operate only Facebook and Twitter pages and do quite well.
Make your purpose known to your audience
Social media is a platform where your audience can learn more about you and interact with you in a direct way. So it’s important for you to be transparent with everybody as to what your business is and why it has a social media presence.
On the About section of your page, provide a clear statement about the mission of your business. Invite your audience to interact with you on your About section; encourage them to visit your page regularly.
Deliver on your promises
Many businesses offer something of value to users to lure them into liking their social media page. That’s all right, as long as you deliver on your promise.
Did you offer them free information? As soon as they’ve liked your page, show them clearly where they can get the information.
Did you promise them a coupon? Give it to them immediately, as soon as they’ve liked your page.
Be friendly and casual, wherever possible
You probably mean business on social media, but try to adopt a casual tone with your audience. Don’t be in-your-face about your entrepreneurial intentions.
On Twitter and on Facebook, people want to connect to people. Make sure your pages include the personal touch so that people feel comfortable about communicating with you. And when you post information, try to use casual language that reminds your followers there’s a human being behind the page.
Promote other people’s content
You may have tons of tricks and tips up your sleeves, and you may be tempted to push only your content on your social media pages, but try to resist that temptation.
People will be a lot more comfortable and stay loyal to you if you also supply content from other sources. Post information from various places that relates to your business. Even better, encourage your followers to post their own content.
Include lots of photos (and videos)
We are visual beings. Images pique our interest; we’re drawn to visual cues that feature things we are passionate about. People especially like to see images of the people they are dealing with.
That’s why it’s important to update your page with images of your business events, and perhaps some casual snapshots of your staff. A few glimpses of your working environment probably wouldn’t hurt.
It’s best if you can include videos, especially your own. If you can’t manage that, videos that relate to your industry are the next best thing.
An occasional “write a caption for this” contest can make your site traffic pick up.
Also, you may want to consider learning a few photo and video editing skills to ensure that the images and videos you post on your pages are of high quality. You don’t want to post images that would give your operation an unprofessional or cheap image.
Manage your efforts with aggregator apps
You can be easily overwhelmed once you get several social media pages up and running. That’s why it can be highly useful to use aggregator apps to put all your social media pages into one place and manage them more easily.
Aggregator apps are either browser-based or they can be downloaded. Hootsuite is one of the more popular browser-based social media management tools. You should be aware that TweetDeck is the reigning king of desktop-based aggregator apps, though.
Include descriptions and comments with your graphics
Images speak a thousand words, certainly. But sharing images alone, without adding descriptions or comments, can put a negative spin on your social media marketing campaign. Basically, it says you’re not putting your passion or personality behind it.
Let your audience know why you’re posting those images or videos. This encourages them to participate in the interaction. Also, when images get posted and shared without descriptions or captions, it tends to look and feel spammy.
And don’t forget: Any time your followers leave comments on your images, reply back or acknowledge them publicly. This makes them feel valued and encourages them to comment further, the next time you share something.
All indicators point to social media’s unstoppable growth. We don’t know how it will change in the future. But one thing seems to be certain: Social media is a powerful tool that every business should take advantage of.
How do you use social media? What kind of success have you had with it so far? Leave your comments below.