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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world know that social media is here to stay. However, this doesn’t mean that they have yet had the opportunity to put in the time or effort necessary to cultivate a presence on the appropriate networks. But upon starting to optimize your social media presence, they would realize that the benefits will be well worth the effort.
There are many advantages to cultivating your brand on social media, it’s, in fact, one of the most effective strategies a digital marketing agency in Kansas City called JSMM-VBM recommends. It can help a business improve their customer service, allow them to communicate with customers and prospects on a new level, help to engage with the audience and reach new audiences, build authority, and drive relevant traffic. In short, a robust social media strategy can drive growth for your business by fostering lasting and loyal connections with customers and prospects.
Choose the Right Networks
Social media has exploded since Facebook went public back in 2012, and there are thousands of networks out there dedicated to anything from connecting old classmates to social activism and everything else under the sun. So with all these options out there, how does a business hone in on the right ones? The advice from most experts is to join four of the most popular, and choosing the right ones comes down to your audience (and where they are) and your goals.
Here’s some information to help guide you:
Facebook. It has 2 billion-plus active monthly users, and the site is ideal for businesses that want to generate leads and build relationships
LinkedIn. This is a platform for business networking that can be used by both B2B and B2C businesses to create trust, build authority, and engage audiences
Twitter. This is a platform of immediacy, is perfect for companies whose primary audience is under 50 and who need to stay apprised of time-sensitive information like breaking news, announcements, and trending topics.
Set a Goal
Being active on social media has many benefits for business, and there are many things you can accomplish with your social presence, such as performing customer service, engaging customers, generating leads, expanding your audience, driving sales, increasing web traffic, gaining valuable insights and feedback, and much more. But to achieve these with any measure of success, you must have a goal in mind that you can work toward because you’ll need to create a strategy to get there. Your techniques for driving sales, for instance, will be different than your approach if you wanted to improve your customer service offering, so it’s important to know what you want to accomplish.
Actively Engage Your Audience
Although the content is vital on social media, it’s not enough to post your content and walk away. Social media is also about connection and engagement, and that’s the only way you can foster the relationships you want to build and gain the trust of your audience. There are many ways you can engage with your audiences, and they include:
- Commenting on posts
- Starting and participating in conversations
- Sharing relevant information
- Sharing user-generated content
- Posing and answering questions
- Addressing complaints and criticisms
- Showing appreciation for customers
Though the practice of social selling is becoming increasingly popular among salespeople and marketers, the actual process of using social networks to drive growth is much different from what most people are used to. Instead of using social media as an active promotional platform, it’s best to use it as a tool for engagement and communication. Social media experts recommend businesses to keep their promotional content to 20%, while the majority of the material should meet the needs of the audience.
Maintain a Constant Presence
Social media isn’t a one and done deal, and it takes time and patience to cultivate a reliable presence. With the right automation tools, you can minimize the time you’ll have to dedicate to social media, but even still it will require at least 15 minutes a day to monitor your channels and respond to questions and conversations. Regarding posting frequency, the right number depends on the platform you’re using. For LinkedIn and Facebook, don’t post more than once a day, and limit posts to five times a week. Twitter, on the other hand, changes so quickly that the more you post, the better. With Pinterest, 11 pins a day seems to be the magic number.
Social media is ideal for brand building and recognition, so it’s crucial that every post you make is in line with your brand and image. It can become problematic if you have multiple people assigned to the task of social because everybody will bring their personality to their posts. For this reason, it’s best to limit the number of people responsible for posting, and make sure everybody is on the same page regarding the voice and image you want to present.
Social media use is growing all the time, and every month there are more active users than the one before, especially on the top sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. It’s not necessary to have a presence on every social network out there, and it’s a much better strategy to define your goals, locate your audience, and pick the sites that are right for you based on those factors. Social media relationship building has some benefits to confer on your business, but it’s essential to put in the time cultivating your presence if you want to take advantage of them all.
Your social media goals will determine the metrics that matter to you, and it’s important to measure social media progress to ensure you’re on the right track with your strategy. For instance, if you wanted to increase traffic to your site, then you’d want to pay attention to the amount of referral traffic coming from your social networks. There are many resources you can rely on for metrics, including Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, and page insights, Sprout Social, LinkedIn company pages report, Keyhole, Twitter analytics, and keyword reports, Buffer, and BuzzSumo.