It’s Time To Get Social
When people started to spend more and more of their time on social media, businesses everywhere became interested in what was possibly another medium for them to expand their customer base and gain more profits. Before, companies eyed social media warily – it was too informal, too chaotic and too unpredictable. Could this platform really take their business to the next level?
Fast forward a few years later and social media has become a mainstream market engagement platform. In fact, it is now considered a faux pas if your business does not have a social media presence. After all, nearly 80 percent of people in the US use social media, and on average spend at least 1-2 hours a day on their various social media accounts. In today’s post, we lay down the most important facts about social media marketing. We explore the different benefits to having a social media presence. We also show you how to create your company’s social media plan and tools and resources you can use to manage your social media marketing.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
So what does your company get when it invests in social media marketing?
- More visibility and exposure – the biggest concern businesses have when they take their business online is traffic. They want their website visited, they want people to know about them, and they want to keep people interested enough to want to buy something. Nowadays, most page views are from people who clicked a website link that they saw on their social media newsfeed. Think about this: all you need is a few people who are interested in you. If you write good content, they will share it on their newsfeed. A friend will see it and check you out, and if they like you, they will follow your company’s social media account. Rinse and repeat, and in no time, you’ll get more followers from referrals and shares.
- More customer interactivity – For some reason, people prefer to write their woes about a company on a company’s social media page rather than send an email or go to customer support. It is more convenient, and since it is public, their post is more likely to gain support from others. If you make sure to interact with customers actively on social media, it will be a huge boost to your company. People can leave their suggestions and comments about a product or serving as soon as it is launched or released, so you get all the feedback you need.
- Higher customer loyalty – So if you interact with your social media followers well, and if you listen to their feedback, they will take note of this. If you answer queries and complaints on social media, the world will be watching. If you do a great job, customers will remember this. They will see your company as a professional company that listens to customers and cares about them. This means any customers who follow you will be more loyal to you. Since people spend more time on social media, they are also more likely to hear any new updates on your website and you can just post a link on your social media to posts on your website to gain more views on it.
Of course, this all depends on how you handle your social media engagement. If you only post occasionally, and you don’t reply to comments, you might as well not go into it at all.
Big Players in the Social Media Scene
So you decide to invest in social media management, but how do you know which one to invest in if there are so many social media platforms available? Of course you’d want to join social media networks with the most number of active users, which is what this list is all about.
- Facebook – FB is still the king of social media, with around 1,710,000,000 monthly visitors. A Facebook page is the first thing businesses do when they want to engage in social media marketing and some businesses will tell you, that’s all you need. Facebook’s interface makes it easy for businesses to create custom pages where their visitors can order online, see a gallery of products, enter promos and contests and many more. Anything you post can be replied to or shared with ease.
- YouTube – Some businesses benefit more from videos than articles or photos. If your line of business can benefit from videos in the form of DIY tutorials or new product showcases, a YouTube following would help your business a lot. YouTube videos can be shared on other social media sites and you can even monetize your channel once it grows. YouTube has 1,000,000,000 unique visitors per month.
- Twitter – At first, Twitter’s character limit might turn you off, but Twitter is a great platform for sharing links and just checking in with your customer base. It is also an easy way to inform your customers about promos, news, problems and website updates. Twitter has 313,000,000 monthly visitors. You can pay a fee to have your tweet appear as a featured tweet on your target market’s twitter feed for more exposure.
- Instagram – If YouTube has videos, then Instagram has pictures. Yes, you can also post short videos on Instagram, but the platform is most known for being your online photo album. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and instead of posting announcement, you can just take pictures of new product, promos and other things. Some companies use Instagram to show the human side of their company, by posting pictures of employees goofing about and showing their fun side.
- Reddit – With 234,000,000 monthly users, Reddit is considered the biggest online forum and community where users talk about anything under the sun. there’s sure to be a subreddit that applies to your business, and that’s where you should focus your efforts on. For example, if you own a flower shop, it pays to engage people in gardening and flower subreddits. Not only will your company’s name gain more visibility, but if you answer questions and help other people out, you’ll be seen as an expert in your field.
- LinkedIn – Though not as popular as other social media platforms with 106,000,000 monthly users, Linkedin is considered a must if you run a business. LinkedIn is the social media for businesses. Instead of personal information like birthdays, likes and dislikes, your LinkedIn page is filled with important information about your business. This is your social media resume, and this is a good place to find connections, investors, partners and service providers that can help your business.
Creating A Social Media Management Plan
As a private individual, you can just sign up for a social media account without giving it any thought. However, as a business, you should have a social media management plan even before you create your social media accounts. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a social media management plan to follow until you reach your goals.
Step #1: Have Short Term Goals
Yes, your company is sure to have long term goals when it comes to social media marketing, but it’s important to have short-term goals that are easy to measure and have a definite deadline. For example, you can go for 100 subscribers by the end of the month or 1,000 likes for a particular post. Of course, you shouldn’t focus on the likes alone but on the metrics that translate to profits. This means metrics like conversion rate, lead generation and referrals.
Step #2: Conduct an Audit
Taking a social media management audit means taking a step back and understanding who your target market and what their social media behaviors are. For example, teens use Facebook a lot and are more likely to like and share images that are humorous, like memes and funny comics. On the other hand, people in their 20s and 30s are more likely to engage in lengthy discussions on posts that require their opinion on issues.
As part of the audit, you can also check competitor sites and see how they’re doing with their social media. Check how often they post and how they interact with their target audience. You don’t have to do the same thing, just use it as a guideline.
Step #3: Account Creation
Now it’s time to decide which social media platforms to create accounts in. Just because a social media platform is there doesn’t mean you have to subscribe to them all. Pick the platforms that will benefit your business the most.
When creating accounts, make sure your profile and information are complete. Never leave your page feeling incomplete because it makes your page less legitimate. Now, social media accounts are free, but most social media platforms have premium services available for businesses. Look into these and see if the costs are worth it.
Step #4: Creating An Editorial Calendar
Now it’s time to decide what kind of content you’ll be putting up on your social media account, as well as the frequency of your post. Common suitable content for social media includes:
- Content from your own website. This should comprise half of social media content.
- Content from other sources. Make sure the content is from an authoritative source, like a news site, and not a competitor site.
- Customer engagement posts. Simple posts greeting customers, posts announcing contests, new products polls and posts that require people to share their opinions are included in this category.
Never post on a whim; instead, everything should be jotted down on an editorial calendar. The calendar should map out how many times a day you will post on which social media account. The calendar should give details like the content of the post itself, to ensure no duplication in the future.
Step #5: Tracking and Adjusting
Nobody is expected to be a social media darling overnight. This is why you need to track the progress of your social media accounts. Track metrics like new subscribers or followers, unique visitors, likes, re-tweets and other similar metrics. This way, you know which posts are popular with people. More importantly, check your conversion rates. How many sales in the past months were from customers who found you through social media?
After this step, it’s all a matter of maintaining your editorial calendar month after month, adjusting your approach to social media management depending on the information you gather from tracking your progress.