Whether your business is new to social media or you looking for some guidance in your online presence, there are several key strategic elements you must consider in order to ensure your social media presence is ultimately going to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy.
Have Goals and Objectives
Like most marketing and business efforts, you need to have a goal or objective that you want your social media presence to achieve. Whether you want to use it to improve brand awareness or as a new outlet to interact with customers, having clear objectives for your platforms helps to optimise their reach and impact. In addition , having well-defined objectives also makes it clearer for you in what to measure for your return on investment. It is also worth noting that return on investment with social media marketing cannot always be measured in money. Whilst it can drive sales, the real power of social media marketing is in building relationships with customers. Whatever your objectives, make them achievable and relevant for your business and remember as you progress these objectives may change.
Portray Yourself Consistently
It is important that before you engage in social media that you are clear on what kind of image you want to portray of yourself and make sure to keep it consistent across all platforms. This consistency equally applies not just to the ‘voice’ you portray, but also to the creative aspects, that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. If your brand or company uses certain colours then be sure to apply these consistently across the presentation of all your social media platforms. This also extends to a company logo or picture, make sure they are up to date and reflective of the image you want to portray. Having a social media platform is a great wat to show a ‘human’ side to your business that customers appreciate and prefer. From this, it is important to have an idea of what voice you want for your page that can be consistently applied across all your posts, especially if your company page is going to be managed by several different contributors. In general, avoid generic corporate speak and replace it with your own unique voice and customers will be drawn to and engage with you. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into you page it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand across all social media platforms.
Be Online Where Your Customers Are
It is important to have a presence where your customers are looking to interact with you. To find out where you should be there are two easy ways; research the demographics of your intended social media platform and also ask your customers yourself. When you start researching what platforms you think are best for your business, be sure that their audience are the one you want to target. The other option is to ask your existing customers where they are active online; this will then help guide your platform choices.
Promote Your Platforms
Anywhere your customers interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to engage with you online. Once you begin, remember to promote all your social media platforms and that includes mentioning them on your e-newsletter, your email signature, business card, product packaging and anywhere else your customer will see it. Your customers and fans need to be told where they can connect with you through social media, so make it clear where you are.
Add Value to Conversations You Take Part In
Social media is centred on having conversations and interacting with people. That being said, unless the aim of your platforms is to be akin to a personal journal, the content you post should not be simply a an update of what you are doing or thinking with no real substance or value in what you are writing. To avoid making this mistake, every post and tweet should have a clearly defined topic as well as delivering something valuable to the reader, whether that be entertainment or information. You must also write your content with your target audience in mind so rather than trying to appeal to a generic wider audience, write content that contains specialised information that those interested in your industry would read. By openly giving out advice and guidance, you will become an online repository of specialist knowledge and this will attract the attention of your target audience. Central to being effective is also realising that conversation is a two-way process so you also need to listen to what people are saying to you and respond to them accordingly.
Be Active and Consistent
In order to get the most out of using social media as a marketing tool, you need to post content often. It is therefore vital that in the very beginning you figure out a comfortable writing routine that works with your editorial calendar, be it posting daily or several times a week, and stick to it in order to maintain consistently and maximise your impact. Although it takes some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you, there are two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule… your business goals and what your customers want.
The fact that customer service through social media is quickly becoming an expectation of consumers means you’re publicly open to both criticism and praise online. From this, it is vital that you watch for any negative things that are being said about you and respond accordingly. Rather than simply deleting any negative comments you receive, as even the most universally loved businesses get negative comments, view them as an opportunity to win over a customer by offering help, guidance or even acknowledging where something went wrong. By dealing with negativity in an open and authentic way you can help build rapport and trust with customers. Also remember that you will also receive praise online in the form of a great review or comment, do not forget to say thank you!
Last But Not Least… Do What is Right For You
As you become a regular participant on social media platforms, you will find unique ways in which they can be used to the best advantage for your business. Nobody knows your customers and what they expect better than you yourself so delivering the content they want and engaging with them is the most important thing and will dictate the decisions surrounding your social media marketing efforts. As with any other marketing effort, you will learn in time what works and what doesn’t for you, the important thing is to learn by doing!
What are your best tips for social media marketing success? I’d love to hear them…