Social Media Marketing 101 for Your Business
If you’ve been paying attention to marketing and advertising news for the past few years, then you know that social media marketing for business is absolutely king of the marketing world. In the past, businesses counted on TV commercials, billboards, and magazine ads to spread the word about their brands and products. The cost of entry into the business world was huge, and you didn’t see a lot of grass-roots companies because the resources necessary to start a business were almost always astronomical.
Today, though, thanks to the Internet and social media marketing, business owners are starting with little to no capital and creating big names for themselves. Instead of paying thousands (or millions) of dollars on a 30-second commercial, with social media marketing for business, entrepreneurs and business owners are able to leverage their time to create very low-cost campaigns with as much (or more) reach than the old model could have ever given them.
Of course, simply signing up with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn won’t automatically get you the kind of exposure you want. You have to know how to effectively use social media marketing for your business to build your network, gain brand recognition, and convert your followers and fans into loyal customers.
First, Do Your Homework
To begin with, you should already know the value and necessity of really knowing your target market. In addition to knowing things like how old they are, what kinds of recreational activities they like, which movies, they watch, etc., you should also know about their online habits.
A younger audience is going to be on SnapChat more than LinkedIn…unless it’s an audience of young entrepreneurs building their resumes. Fashionistas spend more time on Instagram and Pinterest checking out the latest looks from their favorite brands. And, of course, no matter which demographic you’re looking at, you’ll need to have a Facebook presence because everyone and their mother is on Facebook these days.
Take a look at companies like yours, where they focus their marketing, and how successful they are. Search through Facebook groups and Google+ communities. Find successful YouTube channels. Take a look at trending Instagram and Twitter hashtags. The more you know about your audience and how (and where) they interact on social media, the more you’ll be ready to engage them.
Now, while the social networks you use may be independent, you shouldn’t treat your accounts as individual entities. Think of them as an organization of individuals all working together toward a single goal – building and growing your brand.
With this in mind, you should start scheduling your daily and weekly posts on each platform. Follow the best practices for each network – meaning, don’t post every hour on the hour to Facebook or Instagram, but do post more frequently to Twitter. Create a working schedule, write your posts, and then use Hootsuite or another tool to automate them for you.
While you’re setting up and automating your accounts, though, be sure that you don’t post duplicate content to multiple platforms. If you do this, you don’t give your audience a reason to follow you on more than one social network. The more valuable content you can spread across multiple networks, the more reach you’ll have with your social media marketing for your business.
Don’t Automate Your Engagement
Next, be aware of the temptation to automate too much. Setting your accounts to automatically update at the best times for the most exposure is great, but do not automate your interactions with your followers. When people comment on your posts, you should respond to them professionally and in a consistent brand voice, but your responses should always come from humans.
Today’s shoppers want to build relationships with the brands and companies they use. They want to know that they can trust you, and you can build that trust with authentic engagement on social media. The more you engage your audience, the more they will build an empathetic bond with your brand and the more they will choose your business over the competition.
Of all of the things we could teach you about social media marketing for business, this is absolutely the most important. You will always build better relationships with your audience and convert more followers to customers if you focus on authentic interactions and engagement.