Social media is one of the most versatile tools in your business marketing toolbox, but only if you do it the right way. Used correctly, your social media presence builds trust in your business and increases your sales. On the other hand, if used incorrectly, social media can backfire and turn off potential customers. By thoughtfully creating and implementing a powerful social media strategy, you’ll position your business as a trustworthy member of the community which in turn leads to greater sales. Here are some components to incorporate as you develop your plan. Keep in mind that an effective social media strategy is:
One Piece of the Puzzle
Social media is just one, albeit an important, component in the larger plan for promoting your business. There are many marketing strategies for small businesses that can and should play a part in connecting your products with the consumers who could benefit from them. When crafting your overall marketing strategy, make sure you’ve identified your company’s unique brand. How you want your business to be perceived by the public is the underlying driver of all your marketing decisions.
Aligned With Your Objectives
The rapid pace at which information is shared across social media can induce a sort of panic. You may feel pressure to be active on all platforms all the time or risk becoming obsolete. The truth is, you are in charge. Make social media work for you by starting with your own objectives. Once you’re clear about what you’re hoping to accomplish, you can evaluate the various outlets for how well they meet your needs. Having clarity about your purpose makes it easier to discern where you should focus your marketing efforts.
Focused on Where Your Customers Are
There are lots of social platforms out there, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You’ll want your business to have a presence on all the major outlets but you should consider specializing in one. Try to figure out where your ideal customer spends the most time online and focus your efforts there. A good practice is to listen more than you speak, especially at the beginning. Post supportive comments and share others’ content much more often than you promote yourself. Your brand will develop a reputation of being friendly rather than greedy, which is a great way to build trust and gain customers.
In the online world where messages are constantly buzzing, you must find a way to emerge from the noise. You don’t need to be loud or outrageous to stand out. The key is matching your social media presence to your brand. Staying true to who you are and making sure your essence is reflected on social media is critical. Integrity is both compelling and memorable, which helps distinguish your business from its competitors.
The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is good to keep in mind when designing your social media plan. Attention spans are short and people are naturally drawn to images, so use this wisdom to your advantage. Eye-catching photos and brief, engaging videos will grab attention and compel viewers to explore your business. Consider the various types of engaging visual content for social media and select those that work best for you. Just make sure what you’re sharing is related to your business. No one likes to be manipulated, so treat your audience with respect by offering content that says what it is and is what it says.
By strategically crafting your social media profiles, you can build a reputation as an expert in your industry. This requires attention to every detail of your online presence but can pay off with a vast network of potential customers and collaborators. Leverage your expertise by offering helpful and insightful information that offers value to your audience. No matter what the platform, be sure the content you share is well-researched, engagingly written, and meticulously proofread. Generously sharing your expertise can cement your standing as the go-to resource for anything related to your field.
Because of the lightning-fast nature of social media, you need to be different to stand out. Can you offer an incentive to Facebook users for checking in from or tagging your business? That’s free advertising from real people that will spread through their personal networks, reaching an audience who had previously never heard of your business. What about kicking off a fun contest related to your business? For example, if you own a dog-walking service, put out a call for photos of your community’s cutest canines. Set yourself apart by dreaming up fun ways to engage potential customers.
Conversational in Nature
Keep in mind that social media is a conversation, not a monologue. No one is interested in a running commentary of how great you and your business are; what people are attracted to are interesting and mutually beneficial interactions. On Facebook, boost your posts by asking intriguing questions designed to spur conversation. Bonus points if you can get respondents to post pictures, which are always more attention-grabbing than words alone. Don’t forget to recognize others by following them and sharing their posts. Even though it’s taking place electronically, communication through social media is still between human beings. Appealing to your potential customers’ humanity through messages that radiate warmth and authenticity can help your brand stand out from the crowd.
Scheduled and Analyzed
Manage your social media activities by utilizing a calendar to schedule and track your posts. Think through the types and timing of your messages, aiming to maximize their reach and effectiveness, then plug them into the calendar. Regularly reviewing this document will help you spot gaps and trends. You can also analyze whether your social media activities are aligned with your marketing objectives and adjust them as needed.
To ensure your business stands out in the fast-moving world of social media, you need to slow down and focus on creating a strategy. By delineating clear objectives and selecting the best ways to carry them out, you can create an online presence that highlights your brand, builds goodwill, and attracts potential customers.