There’s barely a brand active today that doesn’t recognise that social media has huge potential as a marketing tool. So many see the promise of socials…yet so few know the steps to take, the must-haves and the connections that must be made in order to get social media performing.
Social media platforms open the door to millions of habitual users, and tapping into these can be very cost-effective. The interaction between users on these platforms is constant, instant and organic. That’s the stuff relationships are built on – and who can say no to that? Relationships, loyalty, brand recognition, plus a decent conversion rate and the opportunity to grow traffic on your social media platforms, then funnel it to your website. What’s not to like? Nail your posting tactics, and you could significantly improve the chances of customers finding your brand. Customers who very likely would have missed you altogether if you stuck 100 percent with traditional media.
Let’s take a look at a handful of brief, simple social media tips that can make an enormous difference for your marketing and branding.
Just about every business has a presence on some sort of social media platform. Relatively few enjoy real impact, growth and memorability. If you’re going to be on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you need to work it and make it count. You need to make a considered effort and really commit.
Are you posting regularly? Are you inviting engagement, response and conversation? Are you sharing, interacting, commenting and responding? Adding a photo from time to time simply isn’t enough. Promote, host competitions, invite collaborations – this is ‘social’ media, remember? Post quality content often. Be sure that it’s angled to drive interaction. You’re aiming for posts that prompt enquiry and spark an ongoing conversation that reflects what your brand is all about – not just its products and services, but its attitude as well.
Long before social media was invented, a customer behaviour pattern was recognised that still holds true today – when a customer is unhappy, you’re likely to hear about it. When they’re happy, you’re unlikely to hear anything at all. This can lead to a ‘perceived imbalance of customer satisfaction’. If you have thousands of silent happy customers and just a handful of noisy dissatisfied customers, the gripes will dominate your social media feed, reflecting badly on your business.
If your business is doing its job right, you’ll have plenty of happy customers to pursue. So send them emails asking for feedback. Be sure that the emails have plenty of click links to your social accounts. Don’t be shy, straight up ask that they spend a moment to leave a positive comment. Do this regularly, and you’ll pour positive conversation into your feeds and build your online communities, too. Remember to use incentives like competitions where clients are encouraged to write, upload or simply join the conversation. Positive talk doesn’t happen passively – you must work constantly to encourage it and keep it coming.
By their very nature, social media platforms don’t operate in isolation. There are always plenty of opportunities to repost from one platform to the next, upload screenshots or just use links to spread good news, comments and stories. Pictures, conversations, comments can all be easily shared across your social media accounts and doing so makes your life easier, too. There will be days when it makes far more sense to share a single story across platforms than to create several individual posts.
An added benefit of this cross-pollination across platforms is that each social media type is slightly different from the other, so by integrating you take advantage of opportunities to get in front of new audiences.
Creating hashtags is simple. You can get started by using the name of your business, and you can expend your hashtag library using products, services or brand lines associated with what you do. Include these in your biography or encourage your audience to use them when posting on social media, and you’ll open your potential customers up to a world of relevant content helpfully created by users. You’ll also instantly be connected with consumer-generated content, helping you interact with them and build lasting relationships.
Calm down, it’s not all spreadsheets and dry data. Statistics via your social media platforms can really work for you, without the need to get bogged down in endless number crunching.
Would it help you to know the nationality of the people who follow you, their age demographic, and even the periods during which they’re most likely to be active? Of course, it would – all this information helps you identify who you’re talking to and exploit opportunities to interact with them. Got a business account on Instagram? Then all of this information is yours for the taking. Simple and useful.
As we’ve discussed above, establishing an ongoing conversation with your existing and potential customers is the beginning of brand loyalty. Just like the friends we make face-to-face, the ones we really trust are those we’ve spent the most time with, talking through all manner of topics and finding common ground.
Authentic brands can be built on social media as stories and feedback are shared and issues resolved. Take the time to interact with your customers. When you understand that sharing stories in these communities can help your brand grow a loyal following, you have all the incentive you need to commit to a simple strategy and grow a vibrant presence on social media.
If you’d like to know more about leveraging social media to benefit your business, simply connect with us today.