Whether you’re a fledgling business or firmly established, social media marketing can be intimidating. Your days are busy, you’re wearing multiple hats and the last thing you want to do when you’re exhausted is tackle a fickle platform like Instagram. So, you post sporadically, if at all, knowing in the back of your head that you need to up your social game. Soon. Not today. But definitely soon.
The reassuring news is that this is a common predicament. But, with some careful planning, you can conquer social without spending hours trying to figure it out and losing your marbles in the process.
Your first move is to decide which social media platforms are best suited to your business brand because your content needs to reach the right audience.
So let’s take five and go through the main players. Then you can make an informed decision and move forward with building your business.
First things first: Strategise
Before you dip your toe into promoting your business on social media, you’ll save time and money by first developing a strategy. Begin by defining your goals – do you want to direct visitors to your website? Generate leads?
The next step is to check out your competitor on social media – where do they post and which of their channels garner the most engagement?
Then think about who actually buys your products. A fun and useful exercise is to create an ideal customer profile. By doing this you’ll hone in on your target audience and make crafting copy much easier. Picturing your customer each time you plan a posting schedule will pay dividends. Imagine you’re having a conversation with them – how would you sell them your business? Consider the following factors when developing your profile:
– Pain points
Once you’ve pinned down your ideal customer, find out what social media platforms they frequent. For example, Facebook attracts people of all ages (nearly 3 billion use it daily) but it’s particularly popular with men aged 25-34. Similarly, Instagram appeals most to the 18-34 age group. And Facebook and Youtube are more popular with the users aged fifty and over. To save time, access this information before you draft your first social marketing campaign. Then you’ll be engaging with the right people.
Finally, plan your content. A mix of text, audio and video that sells, entertains and educates will do the trick. Never go ‘hard sell’ for long stretches. It’s guaranteed to turn off potential customers.
According to Hootsuite, two-thirds of Facebook users visit a local Facebook business page once a week, so it’s not a stretch to claim that Facebook should be your first stop.
But with thousands of businesses jostling for attention, you need to strategise before you jump in. With a strategy in place, you can schedule posts to go out to your target audience at optimum times (find these online). Posting a mix of text, video and links will retain the attention of your browsers and if you can afford to pay for a photographer to take professional images, you’ll have a stock of great images to use in any number of ways.
Video clips and Facebook Live see higher rates of engagement so lose the embarrassment and put your business out there.
Facebook ads – not to sound repetitive, but you really need to have a strategy in place before investing in ads. No one wants to waste money, right? Once you have a plan in place, seek out Facebook Business Manager, a tool that will allow you to manage your organic and paid posts. An excellent Facebook ad will put your business in front of the right people, so do your research and give it a try.
Instagram offers a lot of reach so if your business lends itself to high-quality visuals then create an account and start developing some compelling content. First of all, you need to optimise your profile in 150 characters, which is no mean feat. Secondly, you can add one website link, which can be changed as often as needed. And finally, your profile picture acts as your business logo so it needs to pop and be a suitable size for Instagram.
When it comes to posting content your primary concern should be eye-catching images followed by engaging text. As a visual medium, Instagram is all about image and you need to tell a story.
Ideal for both Business-2-Consumer and Business-2-Business, your Twitter content should be snappy, to the point and crafted to attract new followers and convert engagement to sales.
To begin with, create an outstanding profile by thinking carefully about the banner and profile pictures you choose.
They need to fit with your branding and as such, you should have appropriate logo files at hand. Then, make sure your Twitter handle is relevant to your business. When posting, make the post of every one of your 280 characters. It’s a skill! Accompany your tweet with an image and it’ll have a much higher chance of being retweeted.
A professional Business-2-Business platform, LinkedIn is great for sharing work-related content and news. We would advise against the hard sell and instead raise your business profile by engaging in conversations with other businesses and offering insight into your unique business culture.
A hugely popular video-sharing platform, YouTube is ripe for business promotion. Bear in mind that your target audience will dictate the nature and length of your videos. For example, younger viewers are more likely to skip a video if it’s longer than a few minutes. And you don’t need a ton of professional kit to make clips; a smartphone and a compelling topic will suffice.
Snapchat may not be every business owner’s first port of call but it’s an excellent way to reach younger people. It’s ideal for very current content such as surprise promotions, company news and fun stuff. New-ish kid on the block, TikTok is knocking out all of the competition with its very accessible format. Both platforms are serious contenders for businesses aimed at the younger demographic, so ignore them at your peril.
There’s nothing stopping you from accessing all of these platforms but keep in mind the work that would involve. Each channel lends itself to a specific kind of content so we advise doing your research before committing to any of them. By keeping your branding consistent across social media platforms you’ll encourage brand recognition and successfully build support for your business.