Getting Started with Social Media
Social media are the networking hubs of the 21st century. Whether your business is new to the social media scene or whether you gave it a try and got overwhelmed, there is a valid place for social media in your online marketing portfolio.
Benefits of being social
Aubre Andrus put it best:
“Social media is a time-consuming but important reality for any new venture. It will help increase your Google search rankings, give your brand a human voice and allow your customers to start a conversation with ease. Now you just have to get started.”
Remember earlier when I mentioned how good content is good business? Social media is good content! Social media campaigns help you connect to your potential customers in ways that traditional marketing campaigns may miss.
Step 1: Determine Your Market
Remember in our content strategy tips that the first step in good content strategy is to identify your audience. This is a critical first step toward building a relevant social media outreach campaign.
Contently.com offers a quick breakdown of which demographic tends to use which social network:
- Teenagers gravitate towards Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.
- Soon-to-be-wives and soon-to-be-moms are all about Pinterest.
- Young parents and grandparents alike can be found on Facebook.
- Business types and leaders rule LinkedIn.
- Influencers and bloggers love Twitter and Tumblr.
Step 2: Establish Your SOPs
Kristina Cisnero described how businesses first used social media:
“Before major social media networks made the foray into e-commerce, the selling relationship for businesses looked like this: listen, help solve problems, and make the sale … Trust is an important element in obtaining customer loyalty, and one of the best ways to gain this trust is giving people easy online access to information about your company. Neglecting your social media presence is one way of losing the opportunity to gain new customers or nurture current relationships.”
When drafting your social media plan, be sure you know your standard operating procedures first. Here are a few questions or ideas that you’ll want to consider when drafting your Social SOPS:
- Are you going to encourage customers to come directly to your site and buy a product?
- Are you looking to increase brand awareness so customers will be more likely to remember your business when they are shopping for products?
- Are you looking to add a more personable side to your business persona?
- Do you want to encourage conversations around topics related to your business?
Step 3: Commit to One or Two Social Networks
Precision is key here. Overextending can be time consuming and detrimental. Think back to the Step 1 market you’re targeting. How might your business best serve your audience using a social network?
If you have access to beautiful product photography or a range of products geared toward visual shoppers, Instagram and Pinterest would be a great way to reach new customers. If your business produces a lot of content, such as in a blog or with regularly published articles, consider Facebook and Twitter.
Step 4: Strategize Your Sharing
There are many ways to “do” social well, and also many ways to fail. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
- Keep it timely: When will your audience be most likely to see your posts? Aim to post then.
- Mix it up: Posts should contain a good mix of self-promotion, client testimonials and randomness, according to Contently.com. Self-promotion includes news about your company and direct links to your website. Randomness creates a more personal feel, and can include (appropriately) funny photos, quotes or content shared from other resources.
- Consume social media: “The good news is that in social media land, it’s OK to steal—it’s called sharing, and you should do it often,” Andrus explains. This means you’ll want to set aside 10-15 minutes to browse the Internet for things that are relevant to your business and industry. Post links to that information.
- Don’t treat it as your personal social network: Nothing will turn off a potential customer quite like irrelevant posts and unprofessional behavior.
- Try to repurpose content you already have: Have you been featured in your local newspaper? Do you keep a portfolio of prior work? Share that with customers to build your business brand.
- Get visual: Use images and graphics to increase interest in posts.
- Make it special: Share something on social networks that won’t be available elsewhere, such as a special promotion or giveaway.
- Keep it professional: Yes, humor and randomness has its place in social media, but be sure to always handle your haters (aka trolls and baiters) professionally. As Drew Hendricks of Forbes.com says, “Know when to publicly respond, when to let it go and when to delete their comments. Each action has a time and place.”
Step 5: Measure and Calibrate
Most social networks offer analytics for businesses. This allows you to see how your posts are seen, clicked and shared with others. Use this as valuable feedback to help you adjust how you approach audiences.
It is OK to start small. With consistency and good content, you’ll build a social network that will drive customers to your business. Need more? Contact us to learn about how Cube Creative Design can help you meet your social networking needs.