The statistics of how many people are on social media rises exponentially every year. According to Statista, in 2018 it is estimated that there will be around 2.55 billion social network users around the globe, up from 1.87 billion in 2014.
Social media has become a key element to marketing campaigns. If your business is not on social media yet, it’s time to consider the consequences... as well as the potential benefits.
No matter what products or services you offer, your customers are on social media. People are increasingly using social media sites to find products, services, and brands they love. Customers use these sites to connect with local businesses they frequent.
We are connected to our phones, computers, tablets and other electronic devices than ever before. Thus, being this connected ought to mean that marketing on social media should be a ‘no-brainer’ for us all because it offers another touch point with our markets.
Granted, you may already appreciate the importance of social media marketing, but do you know what social media platforms work best for your needs? Below are four tips to help you figure it out:
1. Test Everything – Multiple Times
Understanding which social media platforms work best involves a lot of testing… and some trial and error. It is the nature of the beast. For instance, you may anecdotally think that Twitter brings in the most engagement for your business; however, after analyzing the data, it may turn out that your Pinterest account offers the most engaged audience.
Armed with this information, you can now optimize your Pinterest account for even more success; similarly, you can use it to tweak your Twitter account so that it can also become an engagement hub.
Paying attention to these analytics will tell you what your audience is reading, sharing and enjoying; ensuring that you are providing exactly what your audience needs when they need it. Read this post from Buffer on the 10 Unique Ideas to Test on Every Social Media Channel (And How to Tell What Works), then spend the next 30 days focusing your efforts on optimizing two to three social media platforms.
2. Ask Your Customers
Who is your target customer? This is a fundamental question that every business owner or marketing manager should be able to answer; you won’t be able to develop an effective social media strategy otherwise.
Find out what platforms your target customers are using. Are they using StumbleUpon? Maybe they prefer YouTube. Research the most likely options, and then develop a strategy that uniquely positions your business on each one.
Hot tip >>> Make sure that the platforms you choose also fit your needs, too. For instance, let’s say that you learned during your discovery phase that your audience enjoys live streams. Great. Now you have options. Do you attempt to reach them via Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat or Blab? At this point it depends on your preference and understanding of which one best aligns philosophically with your objectives?
Don’t choose a social media channel that doesn’t appeal to you personally… or because it’s the newest shiny object on the web. Instead, choose the ones your customers are using but which also make you to feel comfortable allowing your personal side to come through. Your audience will feel closer to you when they can relate to you as an authentic human being.
3. Narrow Your Focus to Grow Your Audience
Social media is about conversation. This may seem like a rather elementary thought, but think about it this way: Having profiles on 15 platforms may sound like a good idea, but maintaining them all is overwhelming and counterproductive when trying to build relationships.
Begin by focusing your efforts on two to three key social media platforms and nurture them consistently. Develop an editorial calendar and stick to it. Engaging your users on those platforms either daily or multiple times per week is what will create positive brand recognition. Below are examples of content to include on your editorial calendar:
- Timely content you create (your blog, videos, podcasts, etc.)
- Archived content that still has value to your visitors (and you)
- Other people’s content
- Inspirational messages and quotes
- Events and offers (sales, coupons, contest and promotions)
- Behind-the-scene stories
One way that content is organized on social media is with hashtags. Whether you’re posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other platforms, including hashtags will help those within your target audience find your content. Think of them as the index of social media.
Aside from using the most common hashtags for your niche, you might also consider creating your own unique hashtag for your business in general or to support a specific campaign you’d like to amplify.
4. Don’t Get Overwhelmed… Ask for Help
For social media to work, it needs to be fully integrated with all of your business’ marketing activities. For example, a promotion on Twitter can offer coupons for your offline location. Blog posts and promotions can be announced on Facebook. Buttons and widgets help to connect websites with social media profiles.
In light of this, if you find yourself frustrated with developing a strategy, and feel that you are spinning your proverbial wheels, maybe it is time to ask for help. Is there someone else in your company who is more familiar with your key customers’ preferred social media platforms than you? Do you need to hire a social media manager who understands algorithms of various platforms, has time to work on your graphics and schedule your posts? These are both legitimate questions to ask yourself. Social media burnout is real and it is detrimental to you and your business.
What are you doing to narrow your social media focus? What platforms are key to your business?
About the Author
Allison is a virtual assistant, blogger and social media marketer. She is also a work at home mom and wife. A graduate of Gardner-Webb University, with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Allison is an experienced meeting and event planner who possess a strong marketing background. Allison's blog is: www.lovinglivinglancaster.com.